The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music’s Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It’s the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.
Tom Huizenga | June 24, 2021
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.
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
#mahaniteave #tinydesk #nprmusic