Unity the Band | Thirteen Thursdays Summer Concert
August 3 @ 7:00 pm - 10:00 pmFREE
Thirteen Thursdays: Summer Concert Series
Kai Pita Katobalavu, the lead singer of Unity the Band, was born in Suva City, the capital of the Fiji Islands. In Fiji, there was no formal music curriculum in the schools. By listening to and singing native songs, Kai taught himself to play a wide range of instruments including a wooden drum, called the lali. He also learned the meke, which is a complex combination of voices and dance and is often used in times of war. Native dance was an integral part of his life. At a very young age, Kai followed his uncles band, The Blue Ribbon, based out of Tailevu. This band had a modern sound and opened his eyes to the vastness and power of music.
At the age of 10, Kai heard the album, Soul Rebel, by Bob Marley and the Wailers, and discovered reggae had a similar beat to the native music of his islands. It was the message of a colorless existence, and the indefatigable struggle against oppression, that motivated him to pursue his own music. Kai wanted to send a similar message of inspiration, to the Pacific Islands and became a reggae musician.
In addition to seeing The Blue Ribbon, Kai traveled around the islands and listened to other local bands. At the age of fifteen, he heard the first reggae band out of New Zealand, called Herbs, at a Greenpeace assembly, in Suva City. Herbs represented the Pacific Islands, a minority in the world, and gave them a voice; Kai wanted to be part of this.
In 1988, after the first coups in Fiji, Kai moved to the Hawaiian Islands to be close to his parents and pursue a dream of becoming a working musician. He formed a band called the Polynesian Connection that combined reggae, ska, and rock. He also played in several Luau bands but was never fully satisfied.
Then, in 2002, Kai, or Pita, as so many people in the Midwest know him, moved to Wisconsin. There, he found fertile ground where he could continue his music and share his original reggae with a new audience. Wisconsin has provided a generous opportunity for Kai to refine his own sound and also assemble a broad and wonderfully diverse fan base, in the Midwest. Kai hopes he and Unity can become a bridge to his remote part of the world.
Bar Opens: 6 PM
Location: Plaza and Sheboygan Street