Upa Upa Tahiti presents the portrait of Raumata Tetuanui, a young Polynesian artist. With her lovely voice and very often accompanied by her ukulele, this talented musician is well known on the local scene. A meeting full of sweetness!
Ia ora na Raumata! Can you introduce yourself please?
Ia ora na everyone! My name is Raumata Tetuanui, I am 18 years old and I am a singer and musician from Tahiti.
How did your love for music come to you?
I grew up in a family of musicians and singers who perform on the local scene. My father in particular passed on to me the taste for music and a lot of knowledge (learning instruments, mixing ...).
In addition to the song you practice, what instruments do you play?
I play the piano, the guitar and the ukulele. I write and compose my own songs, helped by my father for the texts in Tahitian language.
Is it important for you to sing in Tahitian?
Yes, I think it's important to show the beauty of our language, both to the world and to young people here (who don't necessarily speak it). And then there are already so many artists singing in English and French!
Have you had any experiences abroad?
Yes ! I have already done several concerts in Japan and New Zealand. And once the pandemic is over, I would love to go sing in Mexico and the Cook Islands.
What is the story of your song "Te Manu Hoata"?
The text was written in puamotu by Marotea Mariassouce, who sent us the song. I arranged the tune a bit to make it more suited to my musical style. As for the meaning of this song, it is the story of an impossible love. It's about someone who would like to be with a girl who is compared to a bird: hence the title "Te Manu Hoata", which means "the bird who smiles".
At what age did you learn to play the ukulele?
Shortly after learning the piano, I started the ukulele just like that, to strum a bit. I got into it more seriously when I was 12, so I could play it on stage. In my opinion there is not really an age to start learning the ukulele. Anyone can play it because the chords are quite simple. As for the kids, I think you just have to wait until they have their hands big enough to be able to make more chords! The ukulele is less complicated and more accessible than the guitar, especially because there are fewer strings!
Do you remember the first song you learned to play on the ukulele?
I believe it was "Pahoho" by Te Ava Piti.
And what are your favorite songs to play on the ukulele?
Almost all of my songs! And otherwise I really like playing "E He'e Te Va'a" by Te Ava Piti, "Faarii Noa Ra Te Vahine" by Tetuanui and quite a few songs in English. I think everything fits with the ukulele.
Any tips for ukulele beginners?
So already with regard to the posture, we can hold the ukulele like a guitar or opt for the "Tahitian binge" position: we position our ukulele fairly straight, resting on the thigh. Then of course you have to tune your ukulele, using a tuning fork or phone apps. And last little thing to know: count the threads of the ukulele from bottom to top!
Is it difficult to learn how to strike the ukulele?
I think it depends on the people, because some people will naturally have the feeling with the music. For others and those who are really starting out, I advise them to count the rhythm in their head ("1-2-3-4 // up-down-up-down").
Thanks Raumata! Last little question, what are your plans for the future?
At the moment I'm writing new songs, for a potential future album. We also plan to make a clip for one of my songs called "Honotua". Finally, I would like to continue to perform on stage. Mauruuru!