Coun­cil’s singing sen­sa­tions


When Caro­line Fo­tu­alii, Seraphina Mika and Alice Ropata started singing, they never thought they’d end up on the main stage.

The three women make up the Jan­dal Sis­ters, a Porirua City Coun­cil singing group that per­formed at the city’s 50th birth­day cel­e­bra­tions last year.

They started singing as a bit of fun, in­spired by the New Zealand/ Samoan all-fe­male group of the 1970s, the Yan­dal Sis­ters.

Though they’d sung for years, their per­for­mance in front of 650 peo­ple at Te Rau­paraha Arena last Oc­to­ber was a big step up for Fo­tu­alii, Mika and Ropata.

They said there weren’t too many nerves on the night, de­spite it be­ing their first time on such a ma­jor stage.

‘‘If you get Samoans to­gether and give them a song, they’ll sing. It’s the same for us,’’ Fo­tu­alii said.

‘‘We’ve been singing all our lives. In Samoan cul­ture you’re brought up singing, ei­ther in the church or the com­mu­nity.’’

The Jan­dal Sis­ters were formed for a tal­ent show sev­eral years ago, drawn from the coun­cil’s wa­iata group.

They were ini­tially booked for coun­cil or civic events.

‘‘We worked well to­gether and just loved singing,’’ Fo­tu­alii said.

Ropata said ev­ery­thing fell into place be­cause of the nat­u­ral bond they had. ‘‘It’s fun and we all en­joyed it,’’ she said.

Fo­tu­alii and Mika, who are coun­cil com­mit­tee ad­vis­ers, were orig­i­nal mem­bers of the wa­iata group, which started in 2001. Ropata, part of the coun­cil’s cor­po­rate and strate­gic plan­ning team, joined the group about 18 months ago. They spent many lunchtimes prac­tis­ing be­fore the Porirua 50th cel­e­bra­tions.

‘‘For me it was an amaz­ing priv­i­lege – I might not be around for the next mile­stone!’’ Mika said.

‘‘It was just nice to be part of the night,’’ Ropata said.

The trio aren’t sure when they will next per­form. ‘‘We’ve had a few of­fers, but they didn’t fit into our sched­ules. We’re just fo­cus­ing on work at the mo­ment,’’ Fo­tu­alii said.

The Jan­dal Sis­ters are retro singers, go­ing for clas­sics such as Sweet In­spi­ra­tion by the Yan­dal Sis­ters or Chan­son D’Amour by the Man­hat­tan Trans­fer.


The Jan­dal Sis­ters – from left, Caro­line Fo­tu­alii, Seraphina Mika, and Alice Ropata.

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