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MAHANI TEAVE AND THE SEA:
Notes on an island woman

By María Paz Rodríguez

Ilustrator: Trini Guzmán

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She was born on an island and has the music. It is enough. The invisible cord that unites the

pianist with that land in the language of Rapa Nui is uncut. Neither with fame, nor with

travel; the best universities; nor her album, which has reached

number one in sales. The sea is best, she says to herself, and over and again she returns to the island.

She began at the age of nine and, in only three months, the music was there, she knew it, she

understood it, she heard it from within. Until many years later, she gives concerts around

the world, which speak of a Rapa Nui odyssey.

 

Mahani Teave invents a school. On her island, there is art, there are traditions; they have their

own notes, their own colors, she believes. And she does it: a school where the children learn to play what

they want; they learn music. They

build it with the debris that people throw into the sea: bottles, plastic,

garbage that others throw away and that becomes the cement of a shelter, because the sound, the

melody, an orchestra and the piano are important, the pianist says to herself.

 

She doesn’t want to appear anything more than what she is: a Rapa Nui woman with black hair

down to her waist, her volcanic hands on the keys, a flower close to her face.

Concentrated, the language spoken by her fingers is universal, it doesn’t need

words. The body understands. She is an island woman who attracts other musicians. She is

an island woman who has risen to the top and who, looking down from above, misses her

land. She is an island woman, half Rapa Nui, half bird who, dressed in the traditional way,

puts us on the map. Mahani Teave bears only gifts and sunsets. She was born on an

island and has the music. It is enough.

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