Siuleo Chico Pouesi (standing) with fellow musicians during the Samoana Jazz Festival last year
Source: Tala Nei News
PAGO PAGO, AMERICAN SAMOA: Guitarist, singer and arranger, Siuleo Chico Pouesi, passed away suddenly this past Sunday.
He was attending a meeting of the Samoa Musika Foundation, of which he is a founder, at the Tradewinds Hotel when he collapsed.
Chico as he was popularly known was 58.
He was from the Salamo Family of Samoa, well known for their musical talents, producing music legends such as Ueta Solomona, Willie Miller and Namulauulu Dr. Paul Pouesi.
Chico was also a painter, graphic artist and cartoonist.
His cartoons were satirical and depicted with humour and caricature some of the controversial issues of the territory in the early days of locally elected administrations and continuing up to the early 1990s.
But it was music that the name Siuleo Chico Pouesi was synonymous with and endeared him to so many.
His outgoing and humorous character made him an instant friend at any event.
Chico has entertained at most of the island’s watering holes, the once grand Rainmaker Hotel, Soli and Mark’s Restaurant and the bars and hotels of today.
A very versatile musician, he can switch from jazz to country to junk but the music that made him a musician of choice for events such as government receptions, weddings, saofa’is, church dedications and reunions was Samoan and island music.
One of his biggest contributions to ensuring that live band music is alive and well in American Samoa is when he and his wife Sonja and their talented children formed Banned from the Sun.
The Band comprises sons David and Siuleo Jr, and daughters Isu and Rexxy with David’s long-time friend Shane Alvarez.
Banned from the Sun has exploded onto the music scene and grabbed the attention of music lovers both here and in Samoa.
They have also won the respect of overseas musicians.
At last year’s Samoana Jazz and Arts Festival top musicians from New Zealand gave rave reviews of the band and were impressed that the young musicians held their own during their joint performances.
Chico has been a part of and a strong supporter of the annual jazz festivals which started five years ago.
Last year, he and fellow musicians like Failauga Peko Anoai and Ulale Pusi Ulale formed the Samoa Musika Foundation to promote local musicians and nurture the next generation of musos.
Local musicians are still reeling from shock as the passing of their brother Chico.
Ulale said he heard last Sunday night while in Savaii about Chico’s death and he was still in shock.
“We have lost another one of our musos,” he said,
“I have the highest respect for Bro Chico.
“I regard him as one of the best jazz guitarists here and his vision and IQ in music will live on with his talented kids.”
Ulale adds, “I personally would miss Bro Chico very much.”
Chico is survived by his wife of 35 years Sonya Hisatake Siuleo, 7 children and 3 grandchildren. Our deepest condolences for their loss.