Fresh breath of choral singing

Members of the Naseakula Choir take a picture with former Lands minister Faiyaz Koya after a performance during a Government event. Picture: LUKE RAWALAI

IF you are looking for the perfect musical ensemble for that Christmas breakup event, then the Naseakula Choir is the answer to your need.

Known for their wide range of singing — from country to gospel and even classical iTaukei music — the choir has been entertaining at public functions and traditional village functions.

What started in 1994 as a choir solely devoted to singing in church on Sundays has branched out to entertaining members of the public with secular iTaukei old-time favourites.

The leader of the choral group, Sevanaia Rokodua, said the change to secular music was something that happened a few years ago.

Mr Rokodua said the reason they had changed to secular music was to cater for their fan base who had suggested that they should try singing such musicals known as “sere ni vanua”.

“We sing classical music that have been sung and re-written by iTaukei musicians and groups, giving it a fresh breath of choral singing,” he said.

“Some have been of the view that secular music does not augur well with Christian music, especially because they are two totally different categories of music.

“I believe that this view is not correct because music is a talent, a gift, that if used in a proper manner can bring peace and contentment within the listener.

“Therefore, whether it is with gospel choral singing or secular singing, it has to be done in the correct manner to incite the correct reaction on the listener.”

Mr Rokodua said this was what the choir was all about, adding they tried to infuse traditional iTaukei classical songs into choral music to create an unforgettable experience in their fans.

“We have already released 10 albums which were all gospel choral numbers and the most recent one included the Macuata anthem which was written and created by me,” he said.

“It is an achievement, but to have a choir with special people who understand how to use their talent is just fascinating, lifting spirits.

“The Macuata anthem which is called ‘Siga damu a Vanua’ literally means a red dawn on the land and is derived from a native phrase that has been passed down through the ages, describing the province of Macuata and its people.

“We are proud to have composed an anthem that the people of Macuata will be proud of in the years to come, drawing in them the spirit of patriotism for their province.”

The choir is made up of 60 to 70 regular members who perform during government, family and traditional iTaukei events in the North.

Mr Rokodua said recently the group, with the aid of village members and good Samaritans who are fans of the choir, had purchased musical instruments that had been used to accompany some of their musical renditions.

“Some of the old numbers that we sing regularly are Rogo Mai Na Kaci ni Matanitu, Ko Bau na Yanuyanu, Isa Lomai (a song that we dedicate to our tauvu from Lomaiviti), Vorovoro Malau kei Vuo, Isa lei Kabani and other great iTaukei classics, to name a few,” he said.

“If you are a fan of choral singing like those of the classic group, Lautoka Teachers Choir, then you will fall in love with what we have to offer.

“This group is here to stay and if you love classical music then you will surely love us.”

Meanwhile, the group charges $500 to $600 for a two-hour performance and they are open to those who want them to entertain them in the looming festive season during family dos and get-togethers.

The Naseakula Choir may just be the secret that you are seeking to set the mood for your next get-together.

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