Family affair

The Fiji Times » BACKTRACKS: A family affair

If you follow Fiji time Facebook page, and you were scrolling through your news feed on New Year’s Day, you would have come across a video of a family band playing in Namadi, Suva.

It was the Kaloucava Family Band, made up of Taone Kaloucava, his daughters Leba and Jan, his brother Alden Kaloucava, his niece Maria and his friend Atu Luvena.

They formed their small group during the first lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic to earn money through virtual. fakawela make life a little easier to bear.

Hailing from Nadoi, Rewa, with maternal ties to Wainika, Tawake, Cakaudrove, the 50-year-old is no stranger to Fiji’s live music scene.

Ironically, during his childhood, he had no interest in music.

His parents, Pateresio Kaloucava and Mereoni Vuiyasawa, were teachers and moved around the country a bit.

“As a kid in elementary school, I was never really interested in music,” he said. It was rugby that got him going.

“I was more interested in rugby, more in sports than in music.”

He caught the music bug while at St John’s College in Cawai, Ovalau after receiving a gift from his father.

“When I was in fifth year at St John’s College, my dad bought me a keyboard and I kept it with me in the dorm.

“After evening studies, the other boys in the dorm and I would pull out the keyboard and try to sing a few songs before we went to bed.

“For me, my love for music started at those little dorm jam sessions.”

In 1988 he was part of a group formed at St John’s College called the Grasshoppers. He was at the keys.

“A few years after leaving school while my parents were teaching at Moturiki, my father received a call from Master Iliesa Baravilala, one of our great Fijian composers.

“He called my dad and asked if I could tour Viti Levu with Jimmy Subhaydas.

“So I went with Master Baravilala and Jimmy Subhaydas and did a few shows around Viti Levu.”

He says that in 1990 he saw an advertisement in Fiji time for the National Youth Music.

“At this point, I was still learning, but I applied anyway, and I was admitted, but I didn’t finish my time there.

“With the National Youth Band, I just spent the first few months.

“I think I was only there for two terms and we were just doing theory, music theory.

“In the short time I was there, I didn’t really play an instrument.

“In 1991, there was a group of young people formed at the Catholic Church in Nadera, called YOLOFA, which stood for Youths of Our Lady of Fatima.

“They asked me to join them, and that’s what I did.”

Although short, he says his time in the National Youth Band and YOLOFA were the platforms that served as his springboard to join the Fiji Police Band in 1994.

“I was trained as a keyboard player, but I was still learning.

“It was a way of building my foundation until I joined the Fiji Police Band.”

He stayed and played with the Fiji Police Band for a few years before moving to join a Nadi-based band known as Hotshotz.

Taone joined Emosi Lomata, Jason Kouka and his brothers – Joseph, Sirilo and Paula Daurewa – serenading guests at the Warwick Resort for around five years. Until COVID-19 hit, he played with a band called Powerplay at the Hilton Resort in Denarau.

He has played for One2Eight as well as Makare and has been a freelancer since the onset of COVID-19.

“Towards the end of 2020 me and some friends started a band called Six Pence and recorded two singles.”

Also, last year he was involved in another group formed by some friends called Voqa Talei kei Nasova.

And today, he has his family group.

“You see, I’ve learned a lot from my musician friends all these years and it’s great to play alongside the legends of Tom Mawi, Ken Jansen, Ratu Jo Tabakaucoro, Bigwilz, Knox Kalounisiga, Nem and Talei, Simi Rova, Etika Logavatu, Master Iliesa Baravilala and Jimmy Subaidas to name a few.

For now, he’s enjoying life – and music – at home with his family. As he says, the icing on the cake is playing with his brother and his friend to complement the angelic voices of his daughters and his niece, who are more than happy to help around the house and do something they love at the same time.

“On New Year’s Day, we were invited to play Namadi. “Since the restrictions were eased, we have been invited to several places to play, but it all started with our live videos.

“I am very proud to do this with my daughters, my niece, my brother and my good friend.

“Atu plays bass guitar and Alden plays guitar, but he’s also a good keyboard player.”

When asked if he would reunite and reconnect to play with some of the friends he made along the way, he replied, “Maybe we just have to see where it goes.”