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Local Pacific Artists to Hit Tinseltown

PRESS RELEASE - October 20th 2005

Local Pacific Artists to Hit Tinseltown

Fundraising concerts in Auckland and Wellington are being held to fund singers and fine artists involved in the NZ Pacific USA Tour 2005 to the USA.

There will be a concert this Saturday at Naenae College, and on November 5 in Auckland there will have a business breakfast, evening concert and on the 6 have an opera dinner at Scallinis Italian restaurant.

The team will visit up to nine cities in two weeks across America. For Wellingtonian Naomi Saluni of Lavea'I Trust, it is a dream come true. "It's about getting international exposure for our Pacific artists," she says.

Singer songwriter Sara-Jane Auva'a, the winner of this years Pacific artist award at the Pacific Island Music Awards has been working hard to take her music to the USA. Last year she was awarded the C4 Best Pacific Female Artist for her self titled album. "New York is the centre for all genres of music and arts. I want to aim for a US signing," she says. "That's the ultimate next level for me. I just want to perform."

Operatic tenor, Ben Makisi, who has just returned from his stint at the Italian Opera School in Tuscany, is also excited about the tour. Ben's CV contains a who's who of some international singing institutions, placings at international competitions both here and across the Tasman and a vast array of awards. He has performed all over New Zealand, Australia, Europe and the USA. "It's such a great opportunity to showcase our diverse cultures, music and arts to a different audience. It will promote us to a level of professionalism in our chosen careers."

The States is also a huge market for talented fine Pacific artists. Isa Saluni, the owner /operator Isa Lei Tapa of the Newtown, Wellington business that specialises in selling New Zealand and Pacific inspired arts and crafts says he's excited for what the tour offers. "I just want to provide a vehicle through my store to support these artists in providing a space for them," he says.

Samoan Fine artist Robin Va'auli is in his final year of a Certificate in Art and Creativity at Learning Connexions. "I love patterns. I try to find meanings behind things like the patterns on lavalavas,. It never made sense to me until I saw other patterns."

Another artist Noel Faifai, who is Maori and Samoan, describes his tapa art as contemporary poli kilifi or polygilifix, which is a polyfusion of concepts, ideas and symbols.

Tour Director, Naomi Saluni says two fundraising concerts for the tour are planned for Wellington and Auckland. She says part of the mandate for the tour is to donate some of the tour's proceeds to help hurricane victims in the US. "It's the Pacific way to contribute back to the community," she says.

The NZ Pacific USA tour 2005 takes place from 11 November to 4 December and among the cities are New York, Washington DC, Michigan and Hawaii.


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