Heather another Golden Ukulele nominee

Tuesday March 19, 2019 Written by Published in Culture
Talented artist and businessman Nia Heather is also a Golden Ukulele Award nominee. Heather takes a quick break from his busy schedule strumming his ukulele. 19031408 Talented artist and businessman Nia Heather is also a Golden Ukulele Award nominee. Heather takes a quick break from his busy schedule strumming his ukulele. 19031408

Nia Heather is one of the Golden Ukulele Award nominees and began his introduction to music as a young pupil attending St Joseph’s primary school.

 

Teachers noticed and were impressed with his musical talent. In 1963 as a Grade 7 student he was asked to perform at the school’s annual parent’s day event to showcase his skills.

Heather took to the stage singing the popular song Sad Movies (Make me Cry) by Sue Thompson, that was well known by adults and kids all over the island.

“Back in those days most of the students at school were musical minded, we all learned from each other, teaching each other what we knew,” says Heather.

In 1971 Heather started playing at the Are Tipani at the Banana Court premises, the first bar that hosted island-themed nights; the club became the top night spot from the 1970s through to the 1980s.

Around 1974 he joined the infamous Pearly Stars live band that entertained at hotels, social events, bars, and private functions such as weddings and parties.

The Pearly Stars, is the longest-surviving professional band in the Cook Islands, entertaining for over 30 years.

In 1996 the Strings of Matareni band was formed, Heather playing the lead vocal, keyboard, ukulele, and harmony (he favoured the kamaka ukulele); George Browne on the lead guitar, harmony; and the late Takeu Samuel on bass, vocal, and harmony.

At the Tangi Reka Music awards held in Auckland December 2014, Heather was recognised for his achievements and won the male entertainer award as well as acknowledgement for the Pearly Stars, Strings of Matareni bands and his contribution to music as well as a music producer.

Also a businessman, in the early 90s he opened Raro Records. Today the store is located in the Vonnia’s Warehouse building in Parekura; the music shop has in stock various ranges of the kamaka ukuleles, chord sheets, guitars and accessories, Cook Islands CDs, microphones, speakers and more.

What is his favourite song? Too many to name he says.

Heather continues his love of music and nowadays prefers small family/private occasions and playing casually at the Mongoose functions.   

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