Monday, August 13, 2007


SHE'S following in dad's footsteps but already she has a kick to kaila to.
That's Lisa Purmodh, the petite, locked Australian head-turner who is drumming a swathe through Fiji.
She's the almost elfin super-charged power ranger perched behind the drum kit of Cool Runnings, the Aussie roots-rockers paying a visit to the land of their fathers, doing what they do best making sweet sounds.
Lisa makes no bones about where her inspiration comes from in dad James, the Fiji-born drum master she grew up watching and listening to kicking and rattling away.
Now she has her own foot firmly on the pedal, slowly but surely boom, booming away at the prospect of a Grammy somewhere ahead.
It is the thinking of a winner that makes a winner and Lisa is well on her way.
That her star is in the ascendancy is of little doubt.
She is far more than daddy's daughter basking in the glow of his hand-me-down spotlight.
In fact, in the short time she has thrown herself into music, she has already outshone dad, in some respects.
Lisa was the last Cool Runner to arrive in Fiji for this august tour, flying in from Mexico and Cuba where she was on the road with Caribbean Soul, another Down Under-based calypso-cum-reggae outfit.
"I started on the drums when I was 10," she said at the Dragon nightclub in Suva yesterday as she and dad hosted a drums and percussions clinic.
Despite the lack of courage by local musicians to learn insights into drums and percussions, the backbone of any group gelling with the bass, shown by the poor response, Cool Runnings and Lisa remained upbeat about their back-beat based sounds.
While on tour through Cuba, playing festivals all around the last bastion of communism in the free world, she visited Mexico and Barbados, from where George 'Ital' Gill, the group lead singer hails.
Of course, no one with a half-decent head on their shoulders will think of skipping Jamaica when visiting that part of the world.
Lisa was no different, visiting reggae's land of milk and honey from where the gospel of reggae sent its smoke signals to be deciphered and proclaimed all over the planet.
"I met Bob Marley's uncle while in Jamaica," she admitted.
There she met as well Winston Rodney, aka Burning Spear, one of the original rock-steady apostles of reggae and a host of dancehall, the commercial off-shoot of the spiritualistic one-drop, artistes.
Back home in Oz, she is part of Diaspora, a Afro-funk jazz outfit led by an Ivorian who hails from the impoverished nation that gave the world Alpha Blondy, in addition to Survival Reggae, a group headed by Ghanaian Afro Moses.
When not doing the rounds of clubs, gig venues or private jams, Lisa can be found at Telstra Stadium whenever the South Sydney Rabbitohs play at home.
Then she becomes one of 24 queens who drum up support for one of the two remaining founding National Rugby League clubs.
She suits up in the red and green after being head-hunted while jamming at the Basement, Sydney's premier jazz joint.
As if that's not enough, Lisa, 20, already has eyes of forming a partnership with elder sister Leah, 23, who is a dab hand on bass, a female version of Sly and Robbie and in the making.
She draws inspiration from Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Bob Marley, naturally.
She likes the prophet's Roots, rock reggae track and Babylon By Bus, the album that all self-respecting musicians can learn a thing or two from, no matter that it was set down a quarter of a century ago.
Lisa says she is grateful for the 100 per cent backing she gets from mum, a nurse back home.
Her advice to anyone who wants to do anything well is simple: "Practice, practice, practice." That's why at such a young age, she is already so very mature in the way she approaches her music.
"It is something I've always wanted to do," she says simply.
A lifeless workmate asked, does the lissome lass have anyone special in her life?
To find that out you'll have get to the Dragon any Thursday in August, wait for a break between brackets and ask her yourself. Take as many friends as you can.
Since it has nothing to do with music making, it was not something I delved into.
But if you do, be so ever polite, after all, dad James is just a conga away.
Before you say or do anything remember: Why should dads in Oz be any different from dads doting on their daughters here at home.
At the very least, you'll hear some of the coolest grooves we have had in a while, too long a while, in fact.
As for the future, we can but only urge her on and in the name of her father proudly claim her as one of ours as well.
Jah live.

Adapted from Fijitimes Online