From village dreams to musical success

Rupeni Tubuna Ligaqaqa, Que Lomavatu and Semi Kaitani sing their new song Veidomoni e yavalata au. Picture: SUPPLIED

Music is the food of love. This rings true for local artist Qali Lomavatu Vakacegu who believes music is a tangible force that has the power to magnify emotions between lovers.

Deep in the mountain ranges of Nakauvadra, Ra in the village of Naseyani was where Qali envisioned forming a music band.

He loved singing as a young boy at Naseyani Primary School.

In the 1980s, he was pursuing a rather different career in the sport of bodybuilding where he was well-known and at the same time, he had set his eyes on becoming a musician.

Growing up in the village, he used to sit with his father, Mosese Ritova, who was well-known in the village for his music skills.

Freddy Fesaitu (left) of local reggae group Rootstrata and Qali’s father, Mosese Ritova in Navadili, Ra. Picture: SUPPLIED

This was where he learnt all the tricks of becoming a good musician.

Qali said he got his passion for music from his father’s family and some of his uncles who went on to work in hotels in the Western Division as entertainers.

At the age of 38, he started writing songs and would sing them during family occasions or while spending time with family at his home in Navadili, Ra.

In 2018, Qali convinced a close friend, Pete Gukirewa, from Kadavu to form a music band which led to the formation of the K3 Band.

Their first concert was launched at the Rashian Night Club in Rakiraki.

The band consisted of Marika Latianara from Ba who played drums, Filimoni Waqa from Yasawa on bass guitar, Eden Rabaka was the lead guitarist, Junior Soqovata of Vanua Levu played the double keyboard and Wise Rogoyawa played the keyboard.

They recorded their first album with Stone Tunes Recordings.

This year, the group released their single Veidomoni E Yavalati Au.

The former Ba Methodist High School student said one of their music videos was shot in their village with the Nakauvadra mountain range as the backdrop with the assistance of colleague Moss Bokini.

Qali Lomavatu Vakacegu (left) and Aminiasi Kawa sing an old southern swingers song. Picture: SUPPLIED

“I was also approached by Ben Baleiwai from the Southern Swingers to sing some of their classic hits like Nai Loloma Au Solia Tu, Na Vosa Kece o Tukuna Vei Au and Meu Cakava Vakacava,” Qali said.

“We are going to bring back some old classics by the Southern Swingers and form another music group, Hidden Roots, meaning the roots between the people of Kadavu and Ra.”

He said the single Veidomoni E Yavalati Au was composed by Semi Kaitani of Savu ni Delai Lomai and Rupeni Tukana Ligaqaqa of Voqa kei Valenisau. He said the song was about a man from Ra who met a woman from Nawaisomo in Naitasiri living in Tonga on social media and fell in love with her.

“The woman, after listening to the song, flew all the way from Tonga to Nadi, went for 14 days of isolation just to meet her lover.”

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