By Aileen Kwaragu
WHEN she was young, Elina Senirewa Turaga never had any inclination to singing. Nor did any of her family members.
Her singing career began when she lost her baby girl after a short illness at the Port Moresby General Hospital in 2008. In dedication to baby, she composed the song “Natugu Lalokauna” which instantly became a hit especially in Central. It started her career in music.
Her daughter died at eight months. Elina was devastated. She launched her singing career with the song dedicated to her. Her first album “Bula Talei” later hit the market in 2010. She donated about K2,000 from its launching to the Port Moresby General Hospital Children’s Ward and the St John Ambulance.
“I was torn to pieces when I lost my baby girl. But I used singing to stay strong. And it worked.”
Elina is a single mother of five boys and two girls. She lost her baby in 2008 while working as News Editor for FM100 under the late Roger Aufa.
Elina, a Fijian who has been living in PNG for more than 20 years, comes from the village of Mualevu on the beautiful island of Vanuabalavu in the northern Lau province.
“ I was torn into pieces when I lost my baby girl. But I used singing to stay strong. And it worked.”
She was born at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva and is the fourth eldest of seven siblings. Her father Samuela, now a pastor, used to work for the Fiji Military Force naval squadron.
Because the family was continually moving from place to place due his job, Elina was put in a girl’s boarding school called the Ba Methodist High School in 1987. She later enrolled at another girls’ boarding school, Ballantine Memorial School in Suva where she completed her senior year in 1989.
She became a teacher in 1990 but changed course to become a journalist with the government-owned Fiji Broadcasting Commission. In 1994, she joined the other radio/television station, Communications Fiji Limited, which owns Nau FM and Umi Fm in PNG.
Elina came to PNG in 1998 to cover the Aitape-Lumi tsunami. She fell in love with the country and has been living here since.
“I loved my job so when I was told to stay in PNG, I just did. My boss was Peter Aisi at that time. He insisted that I stayed back.”
Elina is currently the public relation consultant for the Bula Talei band, and its lead vocalist as well. She featured in songs with Central artists such as the late Moses Tau, Makali and Lista Laka.
She writes and sings in Motu, English, pidgin and Fijian.
Elina thanks everyone who has been part of her life. She urges women in the music industry to use their God-given talents, be committed, and continue to do what they believe is right for them.
“Singing was never a part of me but look where I am today. I sing and write songs which inspire me and others. But most importantly I love what I do.”
Vanuabalavu’s loss is surely PNG’s gain.