Kerry Damudamu set for new CD launch

The Garden Island does seem to have the knack for churning out Fiji hit-makers.

Look no further than KKU of Tagimoucia fame and Kerry Damudamu, the Nadi-based Taveuni native who has the ability to tap into the music tastes of youngsters.

It goes without saying that the majority of Damudamu’s fans fall within the teenage bracket and those even younger than that.

If you’re a consistent commuter either by mini-van or bus, between stops like Suva and Nausori then you probably would have heard Damudamnu’s take on the dance number Evalina, Au Diva.

While many accuse them of banking on the tunes of other musicians artists like Damudamu are helping fill a distinct demand for songs with a recognisable beat and dance melody that is easy to groove to.

Place a few iTaukei lyrics there and you have a feet tapping hit song.

It all seems simple but not so.

Damudamu, who is set to release his ninth album next week, says it takes a lot of fine tuning, particularly when working with DJ Krishan, who has been at the heart of many songs set to the tune of English songs, but with hip-hop and disco influences.

“At times, it would take up to three days just to complete one song. I thought it would be simple but it’s not because DJ Krishan was fussy with the arrangements,” he revealed.

The album was compiled at Procera Music Studio in Suva with half of the work done by DJ Krishan.

This is Damudamu’s ninth album, coming after decades trying to find a sure footing in the local industry.

He started creating music way back in 1996 and despite not making an immediate impression, stuck at it, recording initially with South Pacific Recordings.

“I was trying to come up and become noticed all these years but it was hard. I almost just gave it up,” said the 38-year-old native of Naqiqi in Savusavu.

Groove-minded youths of today can be thankful he didn’t give up his dream of making it.

Things finally changed two years ago after he released a single Rosi ni Nadroga, which went to number 1 on Fijian language radio stations.

After releasing the song he returned to Somosomo to concentrate on farming, which he went back to whenever he wasn’t tied up in the studio. Back on Taveuni, Damudamu was unaware that his song was building momentum in Suva.

“I was still in the plantation when people started telling me that my song was being played everywhere in Suva,” he recalled.

The musician didn’t wait. He returned to Suva to complete nine other songs that would form the album which raised his profile further than he ever anticipated.

Currently studying to become a primary school teacher at Fulton College in Sabeto Nadi, Damudamu has been taking advantage of the momentum to release a new album Ni Sai Kemuni, which is to be launched in Suva next week.

The album comprises 12 songs that are a mixture of slow reggae, hip-hop and even samba.

He even had a tune titled, Natabua Song, dedicated to Natabua High School’s athletics team to this year’s Coca Cola Games. There is also another, Hear Me Crying, a cover version of a song made famous by pioneer reggae band’s Rootstrata.

The song Ni Sai Kemuni is another of Damudamu’s broken love songs and sure to make an impression if the success of his earlier work is anything to go by.

Like most of Damudamu’s work, the album is full of love songs, mostly tunes of broken relationships.

The Vanua Levu man said he prefers to record broken love songs as a lesson for youths as “it can help couples prepare for broken situations they may face in the future”.

And he often uses the word Rosi in his songs because it denotes a measure of respect for the beautiful people and environment that places like Nadroga, Qamea and Kadavu have to offer.

Meanwhile bands lined up for Damudamu’s album release event at the Suva Civic Centre on April 31 include Rescue Brothers, Leba Boi Yawa Kei Nasau, Salusalu Vono Kei Vuna and Senileba Ni Muai Gau.

Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children.

More Stories