Dear Editor,

I would like to respond to Mai Solomone's rather disjointed reply to my letters on the above mentioned topic.

There is no way in my previous articles that I portray Solomon Islands music as not 'hit songs' in Fiji. I fully admit that Solomon Songs are currently hits in Fiji. On my past visits to Fiji, I've heard Solomon Songs being played in the buses, taxis and shops, even in the squatters around Suva.

However, my point is whether this general popularity should be use as a yardstick to measure the popularity of Solomon Islands music. Not once did I hear Solomon Songs aired by the Fiji Radio Stations such as Legend FM, Radio Navtarang, FM96, Bula FM etc, or Solomon clips aired on Fiji One TV/Mai Tv; now compare this to the Solomon Islands you will know that a song is a hit because of its continuous appearances on the radio hits lists and the demand from the public for it to be aired. The same for PNG where Solomon Bands been scooping awards for years, in Vanuatu Solomon Clips were aired everyday, and in New Caledonia mangrove had taken exceptional notice of Solomon Islands music. BUT! This is not the case with Fiji!

For your information I am close friends with members of the Jah Roots Band, and none of them are aware that their music is popular in Fiji, let alone have a sales outlet in Suva. What that tells me is that their music is pirated by Solomon Islanders residing in Fiji and then shared with their Fijian friends; they in turn shared it with everybody else, resulting in Solomon music being distributed in the black market scene. Check with the music outlets in Suva (example SPR) and you will see none of the music on their shelves is from Solomon Islands. Yes, the names of the bands may be accredited to our local artists - but do they get any profitable returns for their music? If so, where are their outlets in Suva? Get real Mai Solomone!

For your information Mai Solomone, I am proud of Solomon Islands music where ever it is played. However, I am mindful of the benefits that our poor musicians get from their hard work. Sharzy, Saba and etc have realized the potential of the PNG, Vanuatu and New Caledonia markets and are tapping on that because that's where the money is. Not from the black markets in Fiji where the buses, taxis, night clubs and shops play Solomon music without giving a hoot of where it is from. One cannot make music just to satisfy the ears of his listeners, one must also need to calculate what he is earning from his efforts.

Long Live Solomon Music - but in the right market!