• Uncle Tavo

About That Ngalukilo Band

Malo e lelei si'i famili 'o Tavo, Manu pea mo Lomu. It's snowing here left, right and centre, so may be count your blessings wherever you may be? Just want to explain a bit about the old sounds you hear being played on our homepage because those of 'us' who are a lot younger may be wondering 'what kind of music is this'?! The music came to this website via Hiko jr and me and the only reason we passed it on to them was to see if they can fix it up - thanks guys. In the 1990s, Radio Tonga tried to convert their music archives from analog (cassette) to the digital format (CD). But for some reason, they messed it all up, so much so that a lot of the converted music were either damaged or rendered almost unplayable like this CD of the Ngalukilo band. If you happen to have this band on those good old cassettes, I'd be happy to convert it for you into CD format - just don't send it to Radio Tonga though. Send it to me - you'll find my address on this website!

But what's the big fuss? Well, Radio Tonga was first set up in 1961 under the name ZCO (became A3Z in 1974?). And the first thing it did was to invite only some of the better bands throughout Tonga to have them recorded for playing on air. One of the very first to have been invited (a special honor then) was this band from Matahau called 'Ngalukilo'. These are the guys you hear on our homepage. Remember, we're talking here about the early sixties (when most of us were not born yet), a time when even the now obsolete tape-recorder was still unknown. These guys were most probably the first from Matahau to ever have their voice recorded. And if you listen carefully, then you know why they were picked. Just imagine if these singing talents had access to the recording technology we now have, where you don't even have to sing well to sound well because the machine itself will do the rest (how else could Madonna's voice be not out of tune?)

But who are they? Well, I rang up someone of their generation who knew them well - Maliana. The soprano (fasi) is usually Manoa Manu although he changes now and then with Matakaiongo Manu who usually sings alto (kanokano). The bass (laulalo) is Falemaka Tavo and Fo'ou Manu. The tenor (tenoa) is Tu'akilaumea Manu and 'Isa'ake Manu. The alto (kanokano) is usually Kaitu'u Filipine although sometimes with Matakaiongo. On the lead guitar (tafasi) is Matakaiongo, rythmic guitar (veemi) is 'Isa'ake & Tu'akilaumea, 'ukulele is Manoa, and the valingi (violin) is mostly Fo'ou though sometimes Matakaiongo. Some of their music were composed by a certain lady from Te'ekiu called Susana but according to Maliana, they had compositions offered them by various people. In the photo below, you find a few of the Ngalukilo band members even if the photo was taken well after their music career. So there you have it, a bit of Matahauan history!

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