In a different league

The bhajaniya....Leba Virikoro in her traditional Indian attire. Picture: SUPPLIED

WHEN a person inherits her love for a certain thing from a very young age, it will be hard to let it go.

Certain people take this love with them for a very long time and it goes a very long way in life.

Such can be said for Leba Virikoro, 22 of Varoko, Ba who for the past 15 years has been known in many places in Ba as the bhajan singer.

Many may find it hard to fathom the fact that Virikoro is not an amateur, rather has been a professional bhajan singer for many years now.

It is a love inherited from a very young age as she grew up surrounded by Fijians of Indian descent neighbours, many she has called family.

“My interest started from when I was a student of Sarava Primary School in Ba where they used to have kirtan every Wednesday,” Virikoro said.

“I then joined DAV College Ba where I actually started singing bhajan but I had not started playing instrument and I was glad that I had started fulfilling a dream that started in primary school.

“Singing Hindi music was part of my everyday life. It was something I could not live without and the support from my parents helped me go a long way.”

During the school holiday, Virikoro would travel to Suva for the Shivir camp where she would learn more about bhajan, instruments and other Hindi songs in different classes.

After completing form seven in 2014, she started working before she decided to join the institution of the Vedic training centre in 2017 in Samabula, Suva to widen her love for bhajan.

This was the place that fully transformed her love for religious folk songs and learning to play harmonium by her lecturer Pundit Guru Dutt.

Virikoro has a special love for Fijians of Indian descents, something she believed, should always be the case for all Fijians, as we have been living together for many years and have always considered each other as brothers and sisters.

She is the eldest of two children and her father and other members of her family are one way or the another involved with religious folk songs.

Her advice though to her fellow Fijians particularly the younger generation is to learn other cultures and tradition.

“I count myself as unique because I am talented and I sing something that is totally different from my culture. “Don’t let others’ negativity get into you,” Virikoro added.

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