To'abaita Authority for Research & Development (TARD)

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Tribute to a unique traditional musician from To'abaita: Dores K.F. Kelesia

The To'abaita region has lost a unique traditional musician in Dores Kenisubua Fokomalefo Kelesia who passed away a few week ago.

The late Dores played the bamboo flute, or SUKWADI really well. She was believed to be among the last few people from To'abaita who knows how to blow the 'Sukwadi'. She even went a step further to promote the traditional tunes of To'abaita culture with the 'Sukwadi' when she recorded some of her music at the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation (SIBC) a few years ago. She hailed from a village in the bush near Taba'a and was married to Mr Kelesia in the Walo area. Even though she was gone her unique music will live on, thanks to SIBC. Sukwadi tunes are unique because they are capable of soothing the soul if you care to reminisce about To'abaita heritage.

A To'abaita Reporter with SIBC (Joseph Inomae) who did an interview with her some years back admitted that the interview and her unique music is something that he would treasure. Inomae also stated that another To'abaitan (Michael Maelibaea) also recorded some of her music including the bamboo flute, chants, and songs last year. The only word that To'abaita people who heard her songs can say about her music is that "IT'S FANTASTIC". To date, Michael and one of Dores' sons are still trying to get an overseas buyer for that unique music.

To'abaita region is rich in real traditional music particularly the Sukwadi (bamboo flute), the Kwadili(Jews Harp), the pan-pipe, bamboo band and the unique string band music of Suava Bay. We still have some our traditional unique music to be recorded. Reports from SIBC also confirmed that a group from Anikweikei, in the mountains of Taba'a led by Daniel Maetoa did some recording at SIBC last year but were not able to produce an album due to lack of funds. However, the master recording is still with SIBC.

With regards to religous tunes, we have witnessed some real prolific composers of religious music in recent years from To'abaita. Adam Ulufa'alu of Lathalu, near Malu'u is a classic example. His songs seemed to be coming from a production line in the hundreds. Ulufa'alu and other religous artists' songs now grace every service, fellowship and gathering in most SSEC churches of Makwanu, Malu'u and Fo'ondo Districts. Their music is so spiritual, up-lifting and moving that tears can be hard to hold when you meditate upon the words.
Kalabau boys singing to the tunes of these unique To'abaita Ukuleles

We the future leaders of To'abaita would appreciate if there is anyone out there who can help preserve these unique recordings of North Malaita.

Reports from: Joseph Inomae (SIBC)


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