Our Tiny Desk (home) concerts have visited many faraway places – from Lang Lang in China to Mdou Moctar in Niger – but none as far-flung as Easter Island. The 63-square-mile isle, called Rapa Nui by its residents, is located some 2,000 miles off the coast of Chile.
And yes, classical music thrives there – thanks largely to Mahani Teave, the pianist who offers this engaging performance from the music school she co-founded. As a child, Teave saw the first piano brought to the island in 1992 and dreamed of becoming a world-class concert pianist. It was a dream she fulfilled, but just as she was poised to launch her international career, an even stronger dream tugged at her heart.
In 2014, she broke ground on the Toki School of Music, aiming to teach traditional and classical music to Easter Island’s children. Constructed from over 2,500 used tires and 60,000 cans and bottles, the building, with its cisterns and solar power, is a testament to Teave’s vision for sustainability. Article continues after sponsor message
Even the straight-back yellow chair Teave uses as a piano bench in this performance seems repurposed from her kitchen. She begins with a sparkling Allemande by Handel, followed by a beguiling performance of a Chopin Nocturne. Teave closes with an ancestral song , featuring sisters Eva and Tama Tucki Dreyer. The story follows Rapa Nui’s first king, whose reign coincided with a natural disaster. It’s a metaphor, Teave says, for our planet, to “leave this place a little bit better than how we found it.” With her fine playing and her music school, Teave has done exactly that.
- George Frideric Handel: “Suite No. 5 in E, II. Allemande”
- Frédéric Chopin: “Nocturne in B-flat minor, Op. 9, No. 1”
- Traditional: “I hē a Hotumatu’a e hura nei”
- Mahani Teave: piano
- Eva Tucki Dreyer: vocals
- Tama Tucki Dreyer: vocals
- Video and Audio: Sergio Moya
TINY DESK TEAM
- Producer: Tom Huizenga
- Video Producer: Kara Frame
- Audio Mastering: Josh Rogosin, Andy Huether
- Associate Producer: Bobby Carter
- Tiny Production Team: Bob Boilen, Maia Stern, Gabrielle Pierre
- Executive Producer: Keith Jenkins
- Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann