Pepe and the Rarotongans were a popular Cook Island group fronted by a female singer Pepe. They were active in the 1950s and 1960s. As recording artists, they had albums released on the Viking and Salem labels. The main force of the group was Pepe, formerly known as Pepe Taimata Pekamu Maoate, and Sonny Terei a.k.a. Sonny Tutai O Poko Maru Tamariki Nootu Teatuairo Terei. Sonny was born on 27 August 1933 in Ngatangiia, Rarotonga. He left the Cook Islands for New Zealand in 1947, to train as an electrical linesman. Pepe and Sonny were married on 29 May 1955. As an act, Sonny did the arrangements for their music. Pepe became known for being the first Cook Islands singer to be recorded by Viking Records. Along with Will Crummer, they achieved a level of fame and had a short succession of hits from the late 1950s to the 1960s.
Links to Peel
Peel played a track from the group via the Music Of The South Seas! - A Visit To Tahiti, New Zealand, Rarotonga compilation album given to him by his friend Ian McFee (later on known as Ian The Tank Engine) as a Christmas gift. Some tracks from the album were played by Peel on his programmes in January 1989.
- 11 January 1989: Easy Mama (v/a album - Music Of The South Seas! - A Visit To Tahiti, New Zealand, Rarotonga) World Record Club