Imisi is headed by brothers David (Tevita Ka) Fohe and Jubilee (Siupeli Koula) Fohe. On "Visions of the Father," David's sweet textured voice eloquently contrasts Jubilee's smooth nasal tone and clever singjay stylings. 'Imisi has been compared to everyone from Luciano to Gregory Isaacs, and even labeled "The Reggae Katinas." This labor of love took two years to record and was produced by the top players in the secular and gospel reggae markets; Quino from Big Mountain (the best selling U.S. reggae group) and Mark Mohr from Christafari (the best selling gospel reggae group). In addition to the vibrant vocals and lush harmonies, the band lays down some top-notch melodies and hypnotic beats. These addictive cuts also contain outstanding musical performances by some of Jamaica's finest reggae musicians mixed in a dubwise fashion.
The two brothers began singing together at a young age in a Tongan church where their father was the pastor. In their teens they lead their youth group's worship team and went by the name "Youth Exodus". As they began performing more and more at other churches/events, the then five-member group quickly evolved into far more than just a youth worship team. In 1999, they released their first recording Youth Exodus, "Live" through Eclectica Music, an imprint of N-Soul Records.
In 2003, the three core members, David, Jubilee and Joel signed a deal with a new record label, Lion of Zion Entertainment, helmed by their good friend and longtime mentor, Mark Mohr. Since they were no longer youths, they dropped their old moniker and decided to call themselves 'Imisi. In their homeland of Tonga (an island near Samoa and Fiji), 'Imisi (pronounced ee-mee-see), means "Image," for man was created in the "image of God" (Gen 1:27).
For their debut Lion of Zion release, 'Imisi enlisted production assistance from two of their musical icons, Quino of Big Mountain and Mark Mohr of Christafari. On "Visions of the Father," the group's sound continued to develop as David's sweet textured voice eloquently contrasted Jubilee's smooth nasal tone and clever singjay stylings. Following its release, these two siblings were compared to everyone from Luciano to Gregory Isaacs, and even labeled "The Reggae Katinas." The album sported clean-production, sweet lovers rock reggae, solid vocals and testified to the group's uncompromising faith.
In 2006, after over four months of recording, 'Imisi returns with their most ambitious studio recording to date. Paying homage to the roots of Jamaican music, 'Imisi advances the genre with their landmark album "Forward". Brothers David and Jubilee continue to carry the torch and have grown tremendously as songwriters since their previous release. This critically acclaimed album is sure to satisfy any listener with its vibrant vocals, sophisticated songs and inventive arrangements.
This time around award-winning producer Mark Mohr set out to replace the synthetic with the authentic. The entire album boasts live instruments; drums, bass, keys, guitar, percussion and a blistering horn section--creating a full-bodied sound reminiscent of Bob Marley. Backed by an all-star cast of reggae musicians, 'Imisi's sweet textured voices and distinct dancehall style command the listener's attention from the first note to the last.
On Forward, 'Imisi convincingly melds Jamaican lovers' rock reggae with dancehall, seasoned with their own unique Polynesian flavor. This blend creates an international sound which is contemporary yet timeless. While Forward is primarily an English language recording, 'Imisi peppers in Jamaican patois, Tongan (their native dialect), Spanish and Portuguese.
These Pacific Islanders from the United Kingdom of Tonga are in great contrast with the message of today's secular reggae acts. Packed with powerful spirit-engaging tracks, Forward is an evangelical musical ministry tool like no other with lyrics that are bold statements of faith, comfort and hope. This is reggae for your soul.
The interview was turbulent from the get-go| Posted April 20, 2018
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