SYDNEY-BASED FIJI-RASTAFARIAN, KEPONE FIU HAS JUST RELEASED A SINGLE TITLED ‘JUST BECAUSE’ – in what may possibly be a first for any Fijian artist: the single was just released on i-Tunes
“We’re living in the fast food generation, everybody wants something and they want it now. I-Tunes is the musical outlet for song junkies – it gives listeners the choice of buying a single or the album – whatever they prefer – kind of like the good old days when we used to buy one roll from Gupswami’s store in Bagasau because we couldn’t afford the whole packet,” he laughed.
Fiu, a former Dudley High School student, last visited the country in 2007 when he brought his group Cool Runnings for a series of shows around the country. Cool Runnings was formed in Sydney in 2003 and grew to become one of Australia’s most sought after reggae acts.
Aiding and abetting the reggae man is fellow Fijian, lyrical toaster – George Thomas, who goes by the tag Ltl GZeus. The former Suva Grammar School student is making his mark on the Sydney music scene and has one solo album titled ‘Under Ground Legends‘ under his belt.
“Ltl GZeus was supposed to join Cool Runnings when I brought the band to Fiji in August 2007 but it didn’t eventuate because he was in the process of recording his album at the time. I had to wait two years for this collaboration and I’m glad I did because this guy is out there,” said Fiu.
‘Just Because‘ is a remake of the reggae classic ‘Just Because I Come From The Islands‘ which was a radio mainstay in the late 80’s and early 90’s.
The debut single features lyrical toasting by Ltl GZeus, Chilean drummer Carlos Adura, Paul Verma on keyboards and Fiu handling bass duties.
The keyboards, drums and bass were recorded at Verma’s parents place in Castle Cove, Sydney.
“I’ve got so much respect for Paul’s dad, Vinay Verma, because we were making so much noise upstairs from his home-based office. He never once complained, the only words we heard from him were words of encouragement,” said the bass man. Once the live instruments were tracked, Ltl GZeus laid down his vocals and Paul and Fiu recorded the chorus harmonies before the band moved into Chippendale Studios for mixing.
“Ltl GZeus was like a man possessed- he laid down 10 vocal tracks! We then went to Chippendale so that Paul could access Pro-Tools for mixing. Once we were happy with the mix, we took it down to Studio 301 for mastering,” Fiu said.
The reggae bass player who is also known as the businessman who brought in the Zimbabwean Bhundu Boys to Fiji in 1993, said that a lot of money was saved because they did most of the groundwork in-house.
“If we did the whole song in a studio- it would have cost us thousands. We’re really happy with the outcome and have pretty much agreed that the whole album will be recorded this way,” enthused Fiu.
‘Just Because‘ reminisces about life in Fiji.
The lyrics are written from the point of view of someone who is residing in another country but keeps himself grounded by keeping it real and chooses never to forget home. It also speaks of happiness in the simple things in life and memories of songs playing on the radio in days gone by.
Despite the fact that he currently resides in Sydney Australia, Kepone Fiu’s roots are firmly entrenched in Tuakoi village Motusa, Rotuma and Charles Street in Bagasau, Suva where the Rastaman spent his early years.
Fiu is a reggae man at heart. He has played with some of Sydney’s premier reggae outfits like Calabash alongside fellow Fijian Mansus Knight and Two Tribes with former Rootstrata drummer Kitione Mateyawa (Kit-Kat).
The release of Cool Runnings debut single marks a significant point in the career of a band that began in 2003 and Fiu promises that this is ‘just the beginning’.
“I sincerely hope everyone likes what they hear. This is the first but certainly won’t be the last. Music is the food of love and the food of life because it feeds the soul. We hope that ‘Just Because‘ brings happiness, laughter and a smile or two in Fiji and the South Pacific. Jah Bless and One Love,” he said.