The Choir of Hapatoni
Te Tanieka O Taiuoho, 2017

The cover of Te Tanieka O Taiuoho CD, featuring an artwork by Alexander Lee.

We are happy to announce the release of Te Tanieka O Taiuoho, a CD of songs performed by the Choir of Hapatoni from the Tahuata island in the Marquesas archipelago.
The idea for the production emerged during a TBA21–Academy research expedition to the Marquesas Islands. Welcomed by the local community of Tahuata, the smallest island in the archipelago with a population just under 700 inhabitants, the members of the TBA21–Academy expedition were lucky to have a chance to hear the astonishing voices of the choir members.

Te Tanieka O Taiuoho (the Choir of Hapatoni) was initiated by the grandparents of Léonne Tauhiro and has quickly grown into a well-known act within the archipelago, performing in cultural festivals across the Marquesas. Their spellbinding repertoire initially involved overlaying Catholic lyrics over ancestral melodies as a means to preserve ancient traditions in the face of colonization. The choir still performs religious songs, however, now a part of their production returns to librettos with cultural content and indigenous melodies.

The album was recorded onsite in the Marquesas with the help of recording equipment carried by TBA21–Academy, then digitally remastered in Vienna. The cover features an artwork by Alexander Lee who made a rubbing of an important petroglyph while on a drive across the Hapatoni bay with Léonne and her two nephews, also members of the choir.
The remastered recordings have now finally reached their Pacific origin and soon the hands of the singers that created them. Amplified across the digital ocean, the voice of the the voice of Te Tanieka O Taiuoho will soon be available online.  

This release is one of the tangible results of this strategic expedition. The same journey has, among others, catalyzed the creation of the video Me-ti’a—An Island Standing (2017) by Alexander Lee; Hydrohexagrams (For Tahuata) (2017) by Eduardo Navarro, and Tamoya Ohboya (2017) by Tue Greenfort, which then became the recognizable image of “Tidalectics,” an exhibition curated by Stefanie Hessler, featuring all aforementioned artworks alongside other artists whose practices are profoundly involved with the oceans. 
Expedition to the Marquesas, photos by Alexander Lee, 2017.
“TE TANIEKA O TAIUOHO exists since our parents’ generation. Composed of at least six or seven singers, the choir does not have a fixed number of participants. Initially only religious, today the choir grew to include our culture and traditions in a broad sense. That is why, of the eight songs recorded in our little parish church, two are cultural and the rest religious. We have a very rich repertoire; the texts in the Marquesan language are composed when there is an event, a gathering, a trip to the islands, or other occurrences. Inspired by such occasions, we compose songs about a chosen theme. These eight songs were composed that way.”

—Teuiatua Léonne Tauhiro
Expedition to the Marquesas, photos by Alexander Lee, 2017.