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Taukafa Family’s Music Journey

Taukafa Family’s Music Journey
The bands gig at Leleuvia Island Resort.
September 03
15:47 2017

Meet the Taukafa family a singing sensation family band that now go by the name “Soundwave of the Pacific.

Established in November 2011, Garam Masala talked with the band’s father, lead guitarist and vocalist, Leonaitasi Taukafa about his family’s music journey.

Taukafa explains the band was known as the Tongan Young Five consisting of 5 of his children. He’s an accountant by profession and has been working at the University of the South Pacific for the past 10 years before taking up his current job with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in Suva.

The group toured Tonga in June 2012 and decided to give the honour of re-naming the group, to the president of the Free Church of Tonga, Reverend Semisi Fonua, and he then re-named the group as the “Soundwave Of The Pacific” Or “Peauongo ‘Oe Pasifiki”  in Tongan.

“The idea behind the name was that because we were of Tongan origin and are living in Fiji, and we sing and play music from all over the Pacific countries, we were encouraged to continue to play Pacific music and hence the name,

He said “Soundwave of the Pacific” simply encompass the idea of music, Pacific sounds and melody travelling through the waves of the vast ocean of the Pacific.

His daughter Lydia, 13, recently won a singing contest. The band mainly perform cover tunes for both Gospel and non-Gospel songs as well

“Non- gospel music includes rock, island music, reggae, R&B, hip hop, slow rocks and basically anything and we learn and practice songs by only listening to the original music.”

Taukafa said they’ve an excellent repertoire that pleases any age group and are the talk of Suva’s tight-knit music fraternity.

“Music lovers will find it an uncommon sight to see a five-piece ensemble of children who are as at ease with their instruments at a full live band, as other children their age would be with toys.”

They produce their own original songs, but mainly Gospel songs and a non-Gospel song titled “Tonga My Love my Home”.

 

HOW THE BAND STARTED

Taukafa is a musician himself and it all started off when he bought a keyboard for his eldest son Captain in early 2011 when he was 14 years old.

“Our second son, Steven then asked for a bass guitar on his birthday in May and Samuela (drummer) asked for a drum kit later in the same year and the group was then formed.

He said his kids’ talents began to show whenever they got together and play and started singing at very young age during family evening prayers and during church services.

What sets them apart is the age of the kids– they are so young compared to the quality level of performance, both instrumental and vocal wise.

“The ability to perform other island music, especially the latest Fijian songs and almost other island music.”

They cover a variety of Pacific island music in addition to other famous English songs from the 70s to now. We also cover Hindi songs as well

“The ability to do both Gospel and non-Gospel music and being uniquely a family group– a father and his own children.”

The bands has performed in school functions, music and gospel festivals and toured Australia in 2015 and performed together with “The Kamis.”

They’ve featured with well-known local artists like Knox, SeruSerevi, LaisaVulakoro, Ken Jensen, Black Rose and Tom Mawi.

Some of the challenges would be trying to balance out work, school, family, church commitments and band engagements.

He said the lack of professional expertise in the field of vocal and musical instrument training and the lack of support and respects from business community towards promoting live band performance.

“Increase usage of music programming for live performance and recording, this will eventually discouraged grown up musicians, in developing their skills in playing musical instruments and also their vocal ability due to programs that are now enhancing recorded vocals.

 

LONG-TERM PLAN

We have now identified that the main asset of the group is our lead vocalist, Lydia, who just recently won a singing competition with her rendition of the Gospel version of Purple Rain by Isabel Davis called “Jesus Reigns” .

“Our plan now is to further develop her singing skills, by migrating to New Zealand or Australia for proper coaching and training.”

Taukafa said at the same time, further develop the individual members with their own instrumental skills.

“We would also like to follow the footsteps of two famous Tongan family bands named The Jets in the USA and The Kamis in Australia.”

The band would also like to tour Hawaii and the USA and to also take part in major concerts in NZ, Australia and Hawaii.

For them social media has worked a lot in our favour. The best example was when the video of our performance of Julia Zahra’s version of “Just an Illusion” at the FBC stage during Hibiscus of 2016, went viral on social media, and amazingly Julia Zahra happen to watch it and actually commented on the video “This is just incredible.

“Another video of our daughter singing Whitney Houston’s “One moment in time” also went viral and surprisingly, the Tongan member– Dinah Jane, of the well-known USA group called “Fifth Harmony” also commented on the video saying that “Lydia has an amazing voice and that she really loves her voice”.

“We also understand that social media can also work to our disadvantage but so far, it has always been to our advantage.”

 

THE INSPIRATION

He grew up in a musical loving family where he was pushed to learn proper music starting at form 1 at high school in Tonga.

He said the music subject was taught properly in the education curriculum in Tonga and you get to learn how to read and write proper music at a very young age through the education system.

“I then continue to further my music education in NZ where I achieved an A Bursary in Music but decided to change career path and do accounting at university.”

His parents have been his greatest supporters and so he wants to provide the same support to his kids and hence decided to form the family band.

“I have always tried to take them a level higher by taking them on overseas tours for the kids to experience different level of stage performing environment and crowd expectations.”

The inspiration comes from their belief that if God gives us the talents, than it is our responsibility to make good use of it to honour and glorify his name.

“We work really hard believing that God will always take us through any difficulties that we face and we believe that nothing is impossible, through God’s almighty name.”

Their advice to other upcoming bands is to follow your dreams and aim for the highest, don’t be discouraged with the challenges but treat them as opportunities.

“Practice, practice and practice as it makes all things perfect. Lastly, enjoy performing and practicing your god gifted talents.”

The band would like to thank their fans, families and friends in Fiji and Tonga and everywhere in the world for the support.

“To our uncles, Kelepi, Kilifi, Lisiate, Niulolo, Nehumi, Kenitoni, Paula and Takapu for the instruments and gears that you have all contributed to us,” said MrTaukafa.

 

The Soundwave of the Pacific Members are:

Leonaitasi Taukafa, who is the group leader, plays lead guitar and vocalist

Captain Taukafa, 20, plays the keyboard and vocalist

Steven Taukafa, 19 plays the bass guitar

SamuelaTaukafa who is 16 years-old is the drummer

Lydia Taukafa, 13, is the group’s lead vocalist

Benjamin Taukafa, 10, plays the tambourine.

Peauongo Taukafa, 4, also part of our entertainers

My lovely wife, Mrs Heta Taukafa, who is the group manager

Sound engineer– Stanley Cakau

Roadies– Richie Fotu, Marc MacDonalds and Paini Lie.

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