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‘Music is everywhere’ in Cook Islands – now singers can win $1000

Tuesday 18 August 2020 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Entertainment


‘Music is everywhere’ in Cook Islands – now singers can win $1000
Karaoke host Julie Tangimetua Karika at the Fishing club in Tupapa. 20081015

Competition is heating up for the big karaoke contest.

Christina Ezekiela was just 10 years old when she began to sing, in Melbourne, Australia.

Back then she would attend choir practises with her Tongan mates. “I learnt a lot about singing, going with them to rehearsals.”

Why does she love singing?

“When I sing, I sing for myself, I don’t sing for anybody else, that’s why I sing,” she says.

Ezekiela loves soul, rhythm and blues music and is a big fan of Beyoncé and Alicia Keys.

“You sing your heart out, you can lay it on the table and no one’s going to judge you …”

But now, that’s not quite right. After a lot of persuasion, Ezekiela has registered for next month’s karaoke contest at the Game Fishing Club. “People encouraged me to sign up, so I decided why not give it a crack.”

And what that means is she will be judged! And the best singers over three weeks will go through to a grand final – from which the winner will walk away with a $1000 prize.

It’s a step up from singing in the shower, but why not? That’s certainly the approach Ezekiela and others are taking.

Registrations have opened for Rarotonga’s first amateur karaoke singer competition this year.

The karaoke host, Julie Tangimetua Karika, used to organise the original karaoke nights in 2018, run by Thomas Ngauru.

“He led the way forward for us with his time, passion and voice,” said Karika. “I learnt from him.”

Karika has been involved with music since she was a toddler .

Not many people know, she was selected to sing at the Rarotonga Girls’ Brigade Singing contest back in the 80s. “That was torture, and being brought up within the church community here, music is everywhere.”

Karika credits a cousin, Destiny Tara, for her encouragement to step forward when Ngauru had other commitments and a substitute karaoke DJ was needed. “She would say, why don't you do it yourself?”

Her adventures as a karaoke host began.

Her favourite song is “Blue Bayou” by Linda Ronstadt, followed by many country gospel songs.

The club hosts karaoke nights every Wednesday, driven by Tara Tairea and Paraia Vainerere.

After months of Covid-19 restrictions, they wanted to do something to bring people together, sing songs and win some money, said Sharon William, the club’s manager.

The event is strictly open to amateur entertainers/singers or artists – si if you have recorded a song or have been a backup artist or singer for a recorded song, in any country, you are not eligible to enter!

Contestants must be at least 18 years of age at the time of registration, and it is for solo performers only.

Two songs are required from each singer, one slow and one fast, and they must be sung in English or Cook Islands Maori. No foul language is permitted.

The event will run for three weeks from Wednesday September 2, and two winners will be selected each week.

Contact the Fishing club on phone 21419 for more information.