Fuemana “Seasons”

1994-fuemana-seasonssons”Seasons” is a tale of changed emotions, featuring brother and sister Phil and Christina Fuemana, from their influential 1994 album “New Urban Polynesian”.

The video is shot in gorgeous golden tones, simply focusing on Christina and other members of the Fuemana posse. There’s a bit of animation on screen, something that was fashionable in the early ’90s. Simple leaf animations illustrate the passing of time. In other shots, a border with the names of the seasons surrounds Christina, sometimes in English, other times in Nuiean.

While the song is sung from the perspective of a woman, the subject matter involves a man. About halfway through there’s a little spoken interlude between Christina and the man, where he tragically reveals, “I do love you, but I’m not in love with you.” I’m not totally sure, but I think the man is voiced by a pre-OMC Pauly Fuemana.

“Seasons” seems like a really good example of of kind of sound that Fuemana developed. It’s cool, contemporary dance pop but with an unmistakable South Pacific vibe. And the video is even more so.

Best bit: the tambourine with a pair of praying hands on the skin.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… a career change.

Fuemana “Rocket Love”

Funded in 1992 but not released until 1994, “Rocket Love” was a cover of a Stevie Wonder track and the first NZOA-funded video for Fuemana. Phil and sister Christina supply smooth-as vocals, along with a contribution from Matty J.

The video is based around the 1994 short film Funny Little Guy, a kitschy, romantic tale of a woman’s love for an alien. But sometimes it’s an awkward mix, with the beautifully photographed scenes from the film sitting uncomfortably alongside the simpler shots of the group green screened over the top.

But other times the kistchy B-grade style of the film suits the low-budget awkwardness of the video. One thing that makes the cinematic connection work really work is the subtle James Bond motif in the song. That makes the video come across like the DIY opening titles of Bond flick, with, er, Matty J taking the place of the sexy Bond girl silhouette.

Maybe the video is a little overpowering. There’s so much cool stuff going on on screen that it seems to make the song recede. I feel like I’d rather watch the short film and listen to the song separately, each doing their own thing.

Best bit: stop-motion background animation, featuring Elvis stamps, satellites and robots.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… headphones and kerbstones.

Fuemana “Closer”

The Fuemana family and Matty J are back with more of their smooth grooves, with influences galore, including a Monkees/Del Tha Funkee Homosapien reference with “Mr Fuemana, Mr Phil Fuemana”.

The video takes place in a day-lit club (probably Cause Celebre, which seems an Auckland ’90s thing). The group perform their song, with the Fuemanas being cool and Matty J trying to be cool.

When Phil does his keyboard solo, a very Catholic looking crucifix can be seen on the piano keys, implying that perhaps this song is about getting closer to God.

It’s funny to look at this video and think that within three years, one of the guys in this video was going to have a bonafide international mega hit single.

Best bit: Matty J’s seduction moves.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… cherub-faced folk rock.