Group sets record with 10th album

Pastor Viliame Raqio shows their latest album titled Vinaka Turaga. Picture: JONA KONATACI

THE New Covenant gospel group is the leading band of its genre in Fiji.

The eight-member band was founded in 2012 by Pastor Viliame Raqio and his wife Teresia Cagi Raqio.

Mr Raqio, the Fiji Islands Security Employees Association president and band manager, claimed they had achieved a milestone by crossing a threshold that no gospel band was able to achieve locally.

“We’ve crossed the border as we are the first group in Fiji to record 10 volumes (albums) and we proved this by scooping up the award for best gospel group last week at the Procera Music Awards Night.”

Mr Raqio said the band, initially called ‘That Covenant’, was started because of the increasing crime rates in Fiji at the time.

“In 1997 I was a Seventh-day Adventist but I decided to start my own ministry as God gave us a vision to form the Prayer Ministry because the crime rate in Fiji was really high.

“Our aim and vision for the group is to realign youths on to the right path in life by giving them opportunity and guidance through prayer and worship because we know how talented some of them are,” he said.

In 2014, the group held its Round The Island Gopel Tour which began in Rakiraki and moved on to Tavua, Ba, Nadi and Sigatoka.

The successful band also managed to receive the award for “Best Gospel Group” at the Procera Music Awards on November 25 at the Holiday Inn Suva.

Procera Music is one of the largest recording companies in Fiji and they only do original CDs/DVDs.

They record both iTaukei and Hindi songs and have promoted local music on an international scale.

Mr Raqio said he and his group were overwhelmed at receiving the prestigious award because it served as an affirmation of their position as the country’s leading gospel band.

The group, despite originating as Pentecostal, consists of young folk from various Christian intra-religious backgrounds.

“Our ministry has been running for 21 years now and our band consists of talented youths from different denominations and organisations,” Mr Raqio said.

Some of the group’s most popular songs include Talei Cecere sung by Pasepa Nakauyaca, Na I Valu, Turaga and Ulu ni Vanua ena Toso.

“Right now the doors are open, we invite talented young individuals interested in making gospel music,” he said. The group unveiled its 10th album — Vinaka Turaga — at Procera Music Shop in Suva yesterday.

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