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Music binds two hearts

Matilda Simmons
Sunday, August 13, 2017

IT WAS their love of music that brought Peniette Seru and Isireli Vulaca together as a couple. The two were recently in Fiji on a vacation when The Sunday Times team caught up with them.

For those who don't know, Peniette was a former contestant for the local talent show Vodafone MIC Show in 2009. She now works in Japan as an English instructor while Isireli, an accomplished guitar player, teaches English in China. He has quite a following on YouTube for his sick guitar skills. So much so that when Peniette first heard him play, she was hesitant to sing because she thought he played way better than she could sing!

The couple are spending their break visiting countries in Asia and the Pacific.

Isireli, 25, hails from Mualevu, Vanuabalavu in Lau with maternal links to Lawai in Nadroga while Peniette is from Lawaki, Kadavu.

"A cousin actually sold us the idea that we should make a video and record ourselves busking in the various countries we visit. We were thinking of doing that in Thailand and Vietnam which we'll be visiting soon!" said Peniette.

The couple were caught on camera recently singing a few songs with a musician who was busking it out on the streets of Suva early this month. They were seen belting out old classics to a big crowd that had gathered around them.

"For me growing up, my mother was the kind who loved to have grog sessions, and she would bring all her musician friends and they'd do sigidrigi … so I grew up in that kind of environment," Peniette said.

"Or we'd go to the Grand Pacific Hotel to listen to the live bands and I would tag along. It was something I really loved!"

If readers want to check out how good they are, then look them up on their Facebook page. Heaps of videos are uploaded showing their talents. Peniette for her great vocal and Isireli with his mad guitar skills.

"When I heard him (Isireli) play I was a bit conscious about my singing," laughs Peniette.

"He is really good and he is humble about it which I really liked. I heard later that he used to play for Sammy J, George Fiji Veikoso, and Brooke Fraser … and his elder sister, Suzie Vulaca actually sang in the American Idol!"

But it's their love for each other and music that have kept the two in constant touch. When asked how they first met, both chorused "Facebook".

"So there was this mutual friend we had, who wanted to record one of her songs and she didn't want to do it alone," describe Isireli.

"She needed a vocalist, and someone who could play a guitar. So she messaged me and Peniette on Facebook and we didn't know each other at the time. So we all agreed to meet, however, some things came up and we never got to record. A few months later, I was searching around on Facebook, and saw that Peniette was a mutual friend of the girl we were supposed to meet. So I thought might as well message her and see if she's in the States."

For Peniette, it was the way he introduced himself that impressed her "because usually when Fijian boys add me on Facebook they go 'psst how's it' or those one liners which put me off. So when I saw a message from Isireli, I thought oh god, hope this is not another of those random messages.

"But when he sent me more than a paragraph where he introduced himself, I thought, oh this is different apart from the hey sister how are you?" laughed the vocalist.

Since then the couple have continued their love of music. Enjoying their work in Asia and making their relationship work among other things.

"For our future aspirations, we definitely want to move back home to Fiji," said Peniette.

For Isireli, he said everyone knew him as a musician but not too many people knew that he graduated in history and politics "so that's kinda my thing down the line, to be involved in the political sphere in the future".

The couple will continue their vacation to Thailand later in the month before they return to work.

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