HAMUERA Hodge and Samson Pehi were looking sharp at Opotiki New World, singing for their supper as Pehi awaits surgery for liver cancer. Photo supplied

SINGING party songs is the best medication for a man who has been diagnosed with liver cancer.

The two men dressed up and wearing top hats while busking at the Opotiki New World last week are cousins Hamuera Hodge and Samson Pehi.

The pair are visiting Countdown and New World stores up and down the country to play their music in support of Mr Pehi, who has been diagnosed with liver cancer.

Stuff reports that it was only after Mr Pehi learned that he needed a new liver that he started to live his dream.

“The medication for me is music,” he said. “While I’ve been on the road I’ve felt much better.

“I couldn’t get out of bed 12 months ago.”

Since January, Mr Pehi and Mr Hodge have played “party songs,” including songs by Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, The Beatles and Elvis, while on their tour.

Having started in the bush north of Northland, where they hail from, the duo has made it all the way to Christchurch stopping at nearly every Countdown and New World along the way.

Their long-time friend Eric Rarere is acting as their roadie and manning the collection bucket.

Mr Pehi said he’d always wanted to be a professional musician, but he never thought he could make a living out of it.

He pushed the dream aside, until getting liver cancer made him rethink his priorities.

Unable to work as he awaits surgery, he got busy dressing up to the nines, dusting off the guitar and singing for his supper and to support himself.

It wasn’t long before the sharp suits and sharp sounds snowballed into a bucket-list busking tour of New Zealand with his cousin.

The pair have been singing and playing music since they were children, but apart from entertaining family and friends at parties, they never did much with it.

“We always had the gear but we never used it as we were scared we would sound flat but people have loved it and it’s been a joy,” Mr Pehi said. Dressing up was a big part of their successful tour. You have to look sharp and sound sharp,” Mr Pehi said.

sven.carlsson@thebeacon.co.nz