Fiji is an island nation in the South Pacific Ocean east of Vanuatu & west of Tonga. The country occupies an archipelago of about 322 islands, of which 106 are permanently inhabited, & 522 islets. The two major islands, Viti Levu & Vanua Levu, account for 87% of the population, which consists mainly of three ethnic groups, the majority of whom are Melanesian (54.3%), Indo-Fijians (38.1%) and Polynesians who make up the rest ... with the addition of some Chinese and European, American and Aussie ex-pats.
When you arrive at, or depart from Nadi (pron. Nandi) Airport you are greeted or farewelled by a smiling bunch of Fijian musicians playing guitars and ukuleles and singing Fijian songs in their distinctive high harmonies, thus setting the tone for what will likely become a common experience during your travels from place to place and from island to island. It is no surprise that Fiji is often referred to as the "Music Capital of the Pacific'. What IS surprising though is that on a vist to the Fiji National Museum in Suva, in the Souvenir shop you will find countless artifacts, carvings, paintings, books of poems, photos and stories, woven goods, postcards ... take-home beads, trinkets and souvenirs of every description ... but not one CD or DVD of Fijian Music! For such a musical nation this is both a shock and a statement of something amiss in the overall scheme of things.
This fact, coupled with the knowledge that traditional songs are being lost to the younger generation due to the invasion of Corporate-marketed music genres like Rap, Hip Hop, Reggae etc. is one of the main driving forces behind Mookx's dedication to recording and publishing as much Fijian music as is possible for one man to do on his limited time and financial budget. The number of times one has to request restaurant proprietors to play some local music instead of teenage-queen Americal drivel is astounding. A slightly different emphasis on the all-too-real goldmine of Fijian music could encourage a huge turnaround in the dissipated tourist market which has suffered immensely at the hands of bad global publicity re political coups etc. and a general misunderstanding of the day to day situation that actually exists in these paradise islands.
Just click on any one of the CD thumbnails to take you to a page where you can see the CD covers and listen to sample songs from all of them.
Click on a thumbnail to have a sample listen to songs from these wonderful CDs.
The Arts Village Serenaders from Pacific Harbour on the main Island of Viti Levu
The Matei Bula Boys from Matei Pointe on the
"Garden Isle" of Taveuni
Taveuni Magic's first CD "Sunrise in Paradise".
Taveuni Magic's second recording titled
Yet another Taveuni group (truly worth a listen) the Matei Mystics first CD called "Isa Na Luvequ"
Click on the above thumbnails to go to sample songs.
Mookx & Veda Turner with members of "Taveuni Magic" group during recording session at "Lomalagi" at Matei in Taveuni Fiji, April 2009
Fiji is a photographer's dream-come-true. Enjoy the slideshow below. More pictures to be added soon!
Mookx is seeking sponsorship and financial backing to enable him to travel between islands and to finance meals and accommodation while recording local groups on the way. Please email here if you think youi can help or know someone who can. Airlines, ferry companies, resorts, whoever would like their logo on the CD covers are encouraged to support this ongoing project.