One less ‘Music’ friend in the world: R.I.P Loma Semeatu

I’ve just returned from a short trip back home to NZ to farewell a very dear friend of mine, Loma.   He had been quite ill for a while and bravely fought to try and stay on this earth a little while longer.  When I learned of his passing, I was truly shocked.  It was a Wednesday  morning 5am (Melbourne time) and I was at the airport seeing my dad off after his 2-week stay with us – but when I learned of the news I quickly rushed my dad off with “ia alu loa oe Dad, fa soifua” – no prolonged hug and tears this time as I knew I would be seeing him within a few days.  I drove home and spent the day thinking of my time with Loma…..

When I met Loma I was a young and naive 23-year old.  To me, he seemed like a badass – he was this obese young man with a bald head and  tattoos on his arms.   We were part of a dynamic drama/music team and enjoyed the next 2 years touring Auckland and Wellington; performing for schools, churches and various events on themes such as peer pressure, relationships, self-esteem etc.  During this time Loma amazed me.  He had immense talent, a  sense of humour but what I really admired about him was his humility.  He wasn’t one to revel in the limelight – he preferred to uplift others in his team (including myself) while he stayed in the background.   He was always full of praise – even if I came off stage disappointed in a lacklustre performance he would say “shot sis” (and I would be like ‘you crazy?’).

So even though we saw each other nearly every day for 2 years, it wasn’t until a few years later – long after we both had left the organisation – that our friendship blossomed.   Before I moved to Australia Loma gave me one of the best pieces of advice that I would ever get: “Rita, fuck them all.  Don’t let anyone take advantage of you.  Go and be the best mother/wife/musician that you can be……”  Over the past few years I have received this advice from him many times at every lunch we had together on my visits to NZ.

Losing Loma meant that that I had one less ‘music’ friend in the world.  He was a talented musician – he sang, he played and he had a great ear for music.  He wasn’t a practitioner in the professional sense although he could’ve been if he wanted to – he preferred to ‘jam’ at home with his friends and family.  I have never met anyone who was like an ambassador for ‘garage artists’ (my made-up label for guys who jam in the garage and record themselves lol).  Loma appreciated music from anyone and anywhere.

So, as I sat during his funeral  service I realised that as a musician I learned a great deal about myself from this man.  I have learned how to ‘harden up’ and stick up for myself if I felt that people were taking advantage of my time and talent.  I realised that having musical abilites that everyone ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ at is really pointless if you can’t appreciate others with the same gifts – because really, as brown musicians in a white world, we are all in the same boat.

During the funeral hymns, I sang for my friend Loma.  Okay so I wasn’t part of the actual choir, but nevertheless I sang from where I sat because thats what Samoans do (and can I just say that my alto was the bomb lol).  I received a message from Loma a few months ago:  “Sis, how are you? “ and then the inevitable: “….okay just checkin that they dont fuck you around”  lol.  Thanks Loma for the love, support and feagaiga.  I will miss you.  Rest in Peace xxoxx

Ia manuia

Fa’afetai lava to Manu for allowing me to blog about her beloved husband, and also to Sannah S. Kome for the photo.

loma singing

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7 thoughts on “One less ‘Music’ friend in the world: R.I.P Loma Semeatu

  1. It’s times like these, we get to see who our real friends are, and you Rita, are a true friend to Loma. As the saying goes, “although gone, but never forgotten” Loma has left a mark in your life..Embrace the words of wisdom from a talent brother and utilise them in every aspect of your life…God speed to you sis and R.I.P to a lost brother..

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