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SUVA, Fiji (Oceania Flash, Dec. 11)) - Fiji's rising music band Black Rose on Tuesday launched its second French-produced album, "Kila?" with regional and international audiences as their expected target.

Band member Freddy Kado said this is the group’s first album featuring all original titles.

The music ranges from Fiji's traditional meke vocals mixed with modern dance music, to styles influenced by the "raga" and even the bossa nova.

Nouméa-based French producer, Alain Lecante, director of Mangrove Studios, said, "10 or 20 years back, if someone was singing traditional songs, our roots, in night-clubs, everyone would run away. The young ones would laugh at you, mock you. But now I'm proud to say we've brought this to life in night-clubs, people dance to it, it expresses our lives, the story of our people."

Kado said "Kila?" (an interjection used in Fijian language to ensure the listener has got the message) also used several traditional Fijian languages, mixed with contemporary music. The band also said the new album has a sort of appeal for peace and unity to Fiji, the South Pacific and the world at large.

"I believe this country needs reconciliation, so a lot of the songs are actually about reconciliation ... It's like a cultural gospel to bring back this harmony that Fiji was once famous for," Kado said.

"The first CD I produced for Black Rose, ‘Voices of Nature’, was a huge hit. It was also an experience in that it mixed traditional singing and modern music", he said.

Lecante said Black Rose is becoming increasingly popular, not only in the region, but in Europe.

"It is beginning to take off in Europe and this new album was also designed for a European audience. Some numbers are particularly designed to be played in European night-clubs, because these are usually a gateway to the European market".

Black Rose's 2003 calendar is already very tight: in February, they will be on a promotion tour in Germany, then a national tour in Fiji in March, then Tahiti in April.

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