Occur Goes Global - The Music of Fiji

Though the Pacific archipelago has a population of less than 1 million, the cultural combinations of Indian, Anglo and indigenous influences give Fiji a unique music scene. Reggae is tops here, with speckles of sub-continental percussion and Western electronica. Here are four acts making waves on the islands. (Lead image by Miguel Sanchez / Creative Commons)


Cassius Khan

A transcendent, Sufi-like performer originally from Fiji and now residing in Canda, Khan is considered a master of the tabla drums. His mellifluous voice conjures inflections of the past, present and future, owing to ancient traditions as well as the Beatles, Ravi Shankar and jazz greats. He organizes the annual Mushtari Begum Festival in Canada, focusing on Indian and Fijian sounds, bringing his native arts to the Great White North. The motto? “When your ears begin to see, the eyes listen”— fittingly spiritual.


Kula Kei Uluivuya

The reggae-pop band named for a Fijian bird and landmark is a family affair— singer Viliame Cokanauto formed the group at age 19 with his uncle Ifereimi Draunimasi and dear friend Tu Jo, according to Wikipedia. The smooth, romantic timbre of songs such as “Noqu Senikau” has earned KKU multiple FPRA Music Awards. Check them out if you fancy Sean Kingston or related artists.


DJ Julz

Retooling tracks to add a chill flare is Julian Luis’ forte. Popular tunes including the Chainsmokers’ “Closer” get an irie makeover that make you forget the original even existed. Julz christened 2017 with a gig at a singles party, proving that his reimagined works bring people together. He’s making Fiji a little more peaceful and loving through his head-bopping mixes.


Innocent Bavon

This songwriter, pianist and producer pens songs to improve the planet. His works catapulted a campaign to end human trafficking and curb climate change, featuring local talents like vocalist Alfreda Rosi and Menace (above). His Twitter account proclaims he is “at my happiest when I can help others look and sound good in front of the rest,” and he’s doing so with his charitable lyrics and rhythms.

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