I have spent the last six weeks as a dedicated student of the great Jimmy Lowing, a generous and gifted music teacher, musician and composer on Huahine.
This year I have been determined to achieve a firmer grasp of the Tahitian strum (“tahiri”) that has evaded me in the past. Jimmy ever patient and encouraging even wrote a song (or the beginning of one) to inspire and motivate me. He insisted for my final project this week that we do a studio recording at my Monday lesson. We did and he laid in multiple tracks on his iPad, recorded my best rendition of “mahana ahi” and his own guitar embellishments. Today he came over to our house at 1:00 so that we could play with the studio recording and make a “souvenir” for me. Here it is:
Jimmy asked me to name the song which I did. Mahana Api or “New Day” has special significance for me as I shed some parts of my habitual life this trip and even venture beyond my safety zone of the “pata pata.” See last year’s blog: I am a Pata Pata Fata for more details about this.
Attempting to play music from a very different cultural and rhythmic perspective is a tremendous challenge and a great gift if you find the right teacher and are willing to practice every day. I am still a beginner in the Tahitian style but finally am grasping this new rhythm.