14 Feb 2018

Popular Samoan musician Ma'ilo Ben Vai dies

1:09 pm on 14 February 2018

A popular Samoan musician Ma'ilo Ben Vai has died after a long battle with cancer.

The singer, composer and music producer was regarded as an institution in the music scene in the early 1990s.

Vai grew up in Kingston, Jamaica, where his father, Reverend Dr Peniamina Vai was a missionary.

He was greatly influenced by ragamuffin, a style he sang often when his family returned to New Zealand.

He enjoyed mentoring young, up and coming musicians and collaborated with many of them.

Our correspondent said no musical event would be complete in Samoa without Vai being involved until he went to New Zealand to seek cancer treatment.

Vai, who died in Auckland, was bestowed with the matai title Ma'ilo in his father's family at Vaiala, Samoa.