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Encyclopedia entry for 'Vika and Linda Bull' LETTER:

StyleJazz, R&B
 Albums: Vika and Linda (Mushroom/Festival, 1995), Princess Tabu (Mushroom/Festival, 1996), Two Wings (Mushroom, 1999).

History
Born of a Tongan mother and an Australian father, singing siblings Vika and Linda Bull are considered, along with Rugby great Jonah Lomu, to be the most famous Tongans in the world. The sisters also happen to be two of Australia's most popular performers, by virtue of their productive solo careers and as featured vocalists in The Black Sorrows.

Before coming to prominence with The Black Sorrows, Vika and Linda sang with Sophisticated Boom Boom and The Sacred Hearts of Sweet Temptation. Vika also issued two solo singles in 1988 `Living Hell' and `My House'. The sisters' debut album, Vika and Linda, featured songwriting contributions from Paul Kelly, Stephen Cummings, Joe Camilleri and Nick Smith, Mark Seymour, Nick Barker and Wayne Burt. It contained the singles `Hard Love' and `When Will You Fall for Me?'.

In 1996, Vika and Linda made a return visit to Tonga where they paid their respects to the nation's monarch King Taufa'ahu Tupou. While in Tonga, Vika and Linda managed to get some of that country's finest musicians, including the Mosi Mosi Kava Club (whose sweet harmonies were a delight), to contribute to their second album. Whereas Vika and Linda was based on a proven hit formula, Princess Tabu (September 1996) was a purer reflection of the cultural strains and rich diversity of their heritage. The album produced the single `Love Comes Easy' (July). Helping out were friends Paul Kelly, Tim Finn, Barry Palmer, Michael Barker and Diesel. The album was recorded in England with producer Jeremy Allom (Massive Attack) and engineer Marc Ramaer (kd lang).

For their solo live appearances, Vika and Linda were joined, at various times, by Jeff Burstin (guitar; from The Black Sorrows), Bruce Haymes (keyboards), Peter Luscombe (drums; from The Black Sorrows), Stuart Speed (bass) and Jex Saarelaht (keyboards). Vika and Linda Bull's first release for 1997 was the CD single `The Parting Song' (February), lifted from Princess Tabu.

It was to be almost three years before the new Vika and Linda Bull album, Two Wings, arrived (August 1999). Co-produced by Paul Kelly and Renée Geyer (and recorded at Joe Camilleri’s Woodstock studios), it was another assured release, with an inspired song selection ranging from blues and gospel to reggae and soul. Highlights included ‘Tied in Knots’ (written by Tim Rogers for the Bull sisters), ‘I’m On My Way’ (a Mahalia Jackson tune), ‘If I Could Start Today Again’ and ‘Let Me In’ (both written by Paul Kelly), ‘Home in My Heart’ (US soulman Solomon Burke), ‘Feeling Good’ (Nina Simone) and ‘Caution’ (Bob Marley). ‘Caution’ appeared as the first single in July.

For the album sessions, Kelly had put together a crack team of players around the singers – himself (guitar), Jeff Burstin (guitar), Bill McDonald (bass), Michael Barker (drums) and Bruce Haymes (keyboards). Also helping out on vocals were Geyer (‘Let Me In’) and Archie Roach (on his own song, ‘Reach for You’). The album title, Two Wings, was taken from an old Staples Singers tune that was cut during the sessions but not used on the album. The album’s second single was ‘If I Could Start Today Again’ (September).



Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop / Ian McFarlane 1999
under licence from Allen & Unwin Pty Ltd

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