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Savu ni Delai Lomai, from humble beginnings

Luke Rawalai
Thursday, February 08, 2018

DESCENDED from a family of musicians who have made their mark in the iTaukei music industry, members of the Savu ni Delai Lomai band continue to rule the airwaves with their soulful numbers.

Originally from Koro Island in the Lomaiviti Group, the four singers that make up the Savu ni Delai Lomai are related to musicians such as Marika Kaitani, Etonia Lote Sr, Kitione Vunisasari, Isimeli Cokanasiga and Amenatave Kaitani to name a few.

Since establishing themselves in 2006 after their breakaway from their earlier band Caucau ni Delainakulakula, the group has been releasing memorable hits that are still being heard on replay mode in homes around the country.

The group, led by Semi Drotini Kaitani, is expected to release its 10th album next month.

Kaitani said the group was named after an old sigidrigi group back in Nasau, Koro, Lomaiviti, which used to entertain villagers around the kava bowl in the past.

"The original Savu ni Delai Lomai band was started by my father Marika Kaitani who released a few albums in its heydays," said Kaitani.

He said the band, Savu ni Delai Lomai was closely related to band members within the Voqa ni Delaidokidoki, Malumu ni Tobu kei Naivaukura, Veivueti ni Voqa kei Nasau and Senibua ni Lomai Nasau.

"As a band, we have been doing well and I am thankful for the spirit of support that we have received so far from our fans and especially the bond between the band members which is the glue that has been keeping us together and will eventually see the release of our 10th album next month," he said.

He said the band members were related.

The band comprises Lote Cakanasiga, Mitieli Naivalu, Lepani Cokanasiga and Kaitani.

"Since we disbanded from Caucau ni Delainakulakula, only one band member from then has moved on to form his own band and it is overwhelming to see people find inspiration in what we do and progress forward."

Kaitani said two members of the band, Lote and Lepani Cokanasiga were now working in Laucala, Qamea.

"Maintaining a band like this takes a united spirit and approach considering the challenges that currently face the music industry," he said.

"Most of our ballads are what I call practical songs that are based on experiences that people undergo, especially heartbreaks and death.

"We are content that our songs have brought broken families together and reunited lovers.

"In a way, our songs have become the solution to people's dilemma."

Kaitani said people would call the group up and ask them to create songs for them and their loved ones, opting to pay for this.

"In our last album, a hit number Waqa Voca is about a man from Bureiwai, Matainananu, Ra, whose love advances to a woman was rejected," he said.

"Mositi au Lini a hit from our first album is a song about a cousin of mine who was separated from his lover. Another current hit Veivosaki Mosimosi is about a man who lost his love from Taveuni and the man actually paid for the album to be named after their song.

"I sometimes laugh and say to myself, love is a crazy business because it makes people do crazy things."


With a smile, Kaitani says that nothing in the world comes easy, adding that the music industry was riddled with challenges.

"Since beginning in 2006, our biggest challenge was finding sponsorship for our little band and we were lucky that we received financial support from Procera Music Fiji's managing director Mohammed Akif," he said.

"However, this year I had approached Mr Akif and requested if I could financially manage the band myself.

"Another big problem that we are currently facing is piracy which is killing our work as local musicians.

"Piracy has denied musicians the real value of their efforts and work as pirates rip-off their hard work."

Kaitani said musicians stood no chance of reaping from their hard work once songs fell into the hands of "pirates".

"As musicians, we are voicing our concerns on the issue, but nothing serious has been done to address the challenge because pirates are still operating," he said.

"Despite the existence of the Copyrights Act, it is sad to see pirates still operating illegally, making money from the sweat and hard work of others."

However, Kaitani, who began his career early in life, says he has not regretted entering the music industry, especially after being forced to sing to cater for his young family.

"I married my high school lover Merewai Kaitani who hails from Nukunuku, Lakeba, Lau, and with whom we have three children," he said.

"After having my family, I began relying on music to earn a living and this drove me to write songs, something I picked up along the way.

"I learned from my cousins in the other bands and now I am as good as them.

"A personal mantra I have is that if you put your heart into it, you will be rewarded heavily and this is the fruit of efforts since I am writing and producing our songs."

Kaitani said the band was here to stay, adding that their fans were their biggest supporters.

"We thank them for supporting us and the music we produce," he said.

"I always see their words of encouragement and support on Facebook and it gives me and the other three band members the edge to push forward and produce songs that they like because Savu ni Delai Lomai is really nothing without them."

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