Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

The Late Ones: The Samoan-African band using music to fight injustice

the late ones
The Late Ones - The Fourth Quarter Album Cover.
The Late Ones – The Fourth Quarter Album Cover.
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Ann-Tauilo Motuga | Reporter/Videographer

Rooted in their Samoan-African cultures, brothers Tui and Tau Avei and cousin Joshua Brunson are the voices behind conscious roots reggae/hip hop band The Late Ones.

Known for songs that embody empowerment and social justice, The Late Ones use music as a “powerful weapon to fight evil and oppression and bring unity and peace for all”.

The band recently released their debut album, The Fourth Quarter, with a striking album cover of the familial members in traditional Samoan attire and African face paintings.

“The cover is a representation of our culture and was shot at the Polynesian Culture Centre here in Laie, where our family has danced and weaved traditional Samoan mats for over 30 years,” Tui says.

The album took over six years of careful crafting of songs that address social change.

“[The Fourth Quarter] reflects the times we are in right now,” Tui says. “Babylon Exists is a song talking about the confusion and disturbance in the social structure of society today.”

“We want to use our music as a tool to be heard and affect actual change in people and the world — physically but more so mentally.”

The Late Ones fuse the essence of Bob Marley’s music with Rage Against the Machine and Tupac. It was Tui’s love for roots reggae that influenced the trio to start a band that fuses different styles with thought-provoking lyricism.

“I was so happy [Tau and Josh] were down to try something new with me. We love to make songs for the oppressed and love to lift people out of oppression with our songs and lyrics.”

The trio grew up together in Gardena, California but individually moved to Hawaii, where they are currently based.

Growing up as afa Samoa and a tama uli, Tui felt ashamed of his mixed heritage. People made him feel like he wasn’t Samoan or black enough.

“I quickly learned not to care what others thought,” he says. “Being in Hawaii does make it a little easier to be connected with our Samoan roots, but it is very important to us that we make our way back to Samoa and to Africa for the first time.”



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Representing their mixed cultures is at the forefront of the trio’s musical career. While promoting their album release, The Late Ones dropped a short rendition of the Samoan pese Musika Malie.

“Whether it be our Samoan or African culture, we try to represent to the fullest,” Tui says. “It is everything to us. My brother Tau and I grew up doing Polynesian dancing with a group called Tupulaga and danced all the islands such as Tahiti, Tonga, Fiji, Hawaii, Samoan and Aotearoa. I want to learn [Gagana Samoa] so badly and must make some time for that.”

Tui wants to create a Samoan version of their latest song, Unbalanced, but would love some help from someone fluent in Gagana Samoa.

You can follow The Late Ones on their Instagram, Facebook and Youtube.

Keep a lookout for The Late Ones new mixtape planned to drop early 2022, as well as a potential international tour with Landon McNamara and Costa Rica Earthstrong.



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