IN his 40 years on the music scene in Fiji, Iliesa Baravilala has had many experiences - from the amusing to emotional and even slightly awkward moments.
Case in point, the 1995 Vakalutuivoce Music Awards held in Suva.
Baravilala travelled to the event after being informed he would be the recipient for an award. However, the organisers had not informed him what the award was for.
"Georgina Ledua had re-recorded and released my song, Vunivaivai Levu Mai Ba, a song originally written for and released by Jimmy Subhaydas," the 67-year-old shared.
"But she had not sought my permission before recording it and as a result some of the lyrics were not quite correct.
"And right when they announced that she had won the award for Song of the Year and I had won the award for Composer of the Year, she came and apologised to me," the Kadavu man laughed.
"We became good friends after that and I wrote two more songs for her - Marama Ni Lomai and Taveuni - which also became hits.
"I really didn't mind that she re-did my song because the original version by Jimmy was not a hit, Georgina's powerful vude rendition really did the song a lot of justice."
While many in the iTaukei community are familiar with Baravilala's tunes made famous by singers such as Lagani Rabukawaqa, Jimmy Subhaydas, Georgina Ledua, Mili Vosailagi or Suliasi Cuanilawa, not many are aware of where Baravilala caught the music bug.
Baravilala's ability to write classic and timeless songs developed while he was living in Levuka from the '60s right through to the '90s.
Although Baravilala is renowned as the person who brought fame and fortune to '80s teen pop star Lagani Rabukawaqa, his musical journey is intertwined with the man with the golden voice - Jimmy Subhaydas.
"I initially began writing poetry and then this developed into musical compositions over time.
"I was the youngest member of one of the biggest Fijian groups in Levuka at the time called Bebe Ni Bogi.
"At the same time, Jimmy Subhaydas' dad also had a very popular band in Levuka called Tasere Vakawati. This group was made up of a group of Indo-Fijians who sang Fijian songs and people would come from miles around whenever this group performed in Levuka."
Baravilala said from the first moment he heard Jimmy Subhaydas sing, he was smitten.
"It was in 1977. The Lion's Club used to host talent quests in Levuka every year and Jimmy sang Au Luveni Yali, a song made famous by the Crippled Serenaders.
"He sang it so beautifully that I approached him with the offer to compose songs for an album and luckily he agreed."
Baravilala sought the services of a one-legged harmony singer called Apete and lead guitarist Pita Romanu after consulting with Subhaydas.
Eramasi Koroi, a Levuka teacher, gave the group its name and Kalokalo Cavu Mai Koromakawa was born.
"We used to practise at the Evergreen Grog Shop and nobody knew what we were up to. People were drinking grog and playing billiards unaware.
"When our songs were played on the radio and became hits, the grog shop became a jam-packed concert venue every night."
The group's first hit - Sa Iko Dina Ga - propelled Baravilala to immediate fame. He composed four more albums worth of songs for Subhaydas before the singer took up a contract at Bala's Nightclub in Lautoka and left.
Subhaydas joined forces again with Baravilala in 1989 and together the duo put out one of his greatest ever hits, Nodaru Veitalatala.
"The song was popular with the security forces being deployed on overseas missions at the time.
"Policemen were going to Namibia and soldiers to the Middle East.
"I knew the heartfelt lyrics of the pain of parting with loved ones would capture the emotions at the time.
"After writing and composing songs for so long, capturing moments and emotions like these and turning them into songs is second nature to me."
Baravilala cited another example when partially blind songstress Mili Vosailagi asked for a song about Nadroga.
"I wrote Hakwa Nadro after being inspired by the performance of Nadroga when they came to challenge Nadi for the Farebrother Sullivan Trophy.
"Steel man Aminiasi Natuiyaga was in that team and they were amazing - their hunger for victory and the ferocity of their game was captured in that song and it still remains one of Mili's biggest hits."
Baravilala's contribution to music in Fiji is unsurpassed. He has played a significant role in keeping the traditional art of story telling alive with songs that have captured events and emotions.
His uncanny ability to recognise budding talent and nurture the same to stardom will remain his biggest legacy.
He is currently composing songs for a group called Mana Lagoon and plays an active role in a group called Mudremudre Kei Natabua which features his grandson, 11-year-old Joeli Baravilala.
"People come knocking on my door every day asking for songs and I still have many songs that have yet to be recorded here with me. As long as I'm alive, you can be sure I will have a story to tell with my music."