Tuesday, August 16, 2005

A note on music in Fiji

I've been meaning to do this post for a while now, but hadn't got around to it until now, a rainy day with nothing to do but spend money on internet.
The local music has a natural island (caribbean) bent, with the indigenous Fijian language music sounding somewhat reggae/calypso with a tejano bass line, but not with a tuba, a bass or keybard. The indo-fijian music is mostly the typical indian stuff, which seems to have more of a hip-hop/r&b flavor these days. Aiysha, who happens to be from fiji, is a crossover artist. Think Shakira in Bollywood. Her signs are plastered all over in anticipation of her upcoming stops in Fiji on her tour. She's Coca-cola's Indian face the world over.

But mostly people listen to America music, or derivatives thereof. Probably the most popular song in Fiji these days is a remix of Shania Twain's "Forever and for Always" with an almost reggae beat. There are several remixes or reinterpretations around. I've heard native (from somewhere, not necessarily Fiji) covers of John Denver, the Beatles, and various samples.
People appreciate a good simple melody or unique sound, which they will love to sample.
UB40 is the most sampled band by far. There are many songs or just mixes that will take a sample or the whole beat or even a line or the chorus and then rap to it. Also, the UB40 originals quite popular. Not only the classics from Labour of Love I & II but some new stuff as well.
Chris deBurg's "Lady in Red" is another favorite over here. As well as some other oldies.

There are several island style covers of old country songs. I've heard Alabama once or twice as well.

Another popular song is a cheerful R&B/rap song where the refrain includes the line "from Senegal West Africa to New Zealand" by which I'm guessing an african immigrant from the aforementioned locales is the artist.

Hip hop is of course also big. Snoop Dogg's "Drop it like it's hot" being little Vika's favorite.

I hopefully dispelled some of the local boys' notions about "gangtas" while chatting last night while playing rugby in the vacant lot at Tamvua village.

The gorillas' new song has got a lot of airplay, and I like it too. Though people here consider it hip-hop, which no one back home would, even if the dude from Blur thinks he is now.
Oh yeah, and Kelly Clarkson gets plenty of air play.


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