Drose’s love for music

Tegu ni Nayarabale composer Ropate Drose. Picture: SUPPLIED

WHEN Tegu Ni Nayarabale left Namalata Village, Kadavu, in 2005 for Suva to launch their debut album, they were living on a prayer.

They boarded the boat with empty pockets, the only funds they managed to collect had been used to pay their passage to the Capital City.

“As a young group at that time, there was a lot of excitement but also uncertainty as we left Namalata on December 23 to launch our first album at Ratu Sukuna Park,” said group leader Ropate
Drose said.

“We boarded the vessel, without any money. “We only had a container of pancakes, which we ate on our way to Suva. “We had no idea what was awaiting us. “On the day we launched our first album,
we were shocked to see that we had so many fans and they were requesting autographs.

“It was an experience I will never forget.” Apart from releasing their new music tracks, Drose also met relatives he was not even aware of.

“Through my music, I got a chance to meet relatives in Suva, who I did not even know I had.”

Growing up in the village of Namalata in Kadavu, Drose always had a passion for music — whether it was singing or performing.

While attending Vunisea Secondary School in 2004, he and three other students formed the vocal group, Tegu Ni Nayarabale.

The band’s name linked them to the Boutalevu from Namalata Village. Drose’s love for music was inspired by his father, Apisai Tamanivalu.

In Kadavu, he was a household name because he was one of the founders of a well known sigidrigi group from the 1980s, Caucau ni Nayarabale.

Continuing his father’s legacy, Drose and his group penned and released songs such as Dodomo Sa Mai Vakacalai Au which was a huge hit in 2005 and made waves on iTaukei radio stations.

In total, Tegu Ni Nayarabale managed to release three albums. But in an unfortunate turn of events, despite their fame and little fortune, the group decided to go their separate ways for various reasons after a few years.

But that did not deter Drose from continuing his singing career. He pooled his resources and composed and released his single Meme Cakau and the tune became a favourite among many young people.

Drose said he was disappointed that Tegu Ni Nayarabale was unable to stay together because they had big plans. He said the aim of forming the group was to help their parents by earning money to buy stationery for school.

“We didn’t do it for fame, but simply to help our parents out because times were hard. “After the launch of our fi rst album, we received $100 each. “We bought our stuff for school and left for the village, at that time $100 was enough to buy all our stationery.”

Forming the group was also a means to pay homage to his mother, who also came from a musical lineage. “Apart from helping out my parents, I also have a passion for music because my mother is from Tawake Village in Cakaudrove and my uncles are singers, so they were my mentors too.”

Drose decided to use his musical talent for community use and joined the Fiji Police Force band last year. The move inspired him to revive Tegu Ni Nayarabale with the help of three other

The group released Kaji Vakadua and the song caught the attention many people locally and in the region.

Tegu Ni Nayarabale is preparing to release their fourth album, which comprises 13 songs, next month. Drose said the album would also include a song which he composed called Parile Vakayamena — which spoke about his experience of having breakfast at a restaurant at the Suva Market, where he was served by a woman from Ra who was his tauvu.

The Kadavu lad said music, like life, was a journey and getting through the ups and downs was all part and parcel of its process.

“Everything we do in life has its own share of challenges but it depends on how we address them. “We hope to increase our fan base with the release of our new album next month. “The new group members are just like me, we all have a passion for music.

“My advice for youths is this — if you have a passion for music, then it’s best you pursue it because you just don’t know where it can take you, sometimes it could lead to something really great.”

Drose hoped his musical journey would inspire youths in his village. Tegu Ni Nayarabale’s new album will be available next month at Exotic Music Fiji outlets across the country.

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