Opetaia’s Te Vaka
Amataga (Warm Earth Records, 2015)
Polynesian band Te Vaka continues to delight with its wonderful mix of propulsive Pan-Pacific rhythms, folk-rock and world fusion. The group is led by Samoan musician, singer-songwriter and composer Opetaia Foa’i, whose parents came from Tokelau and Tuvalu. Several of his children are members of the band, guaranteeing the continuation of the Polynesian traditions.
Te Vaka’s music is characterized by Opetaia Foa’i’s lead vocals, the combined male and female background vocals and the fabulous log drum percussion which is very different from other types of percussion we are accustomed to.
I found Amataga ‘rootsier’ than previous albums. The band normally performs engaging melodic songs and spectacular percussion numbers. The melodic songs this time feature more a coistic guitar and seductive percussion and less pop and rock elements which makes the music even more attractive.
Opetaia Foa’I is committed to social causes. One of the songs is a cry for freedom for one of the various territories in the Pacific that are still under colonial rule.
The lineup on the album includes Opetaia Foa’i on vocals, guitars, percussion and log drum; Olivia Foa’i on lead and background vocals; Matatia Foa’i on log drums and percussion; Sulata Foa’I Amiatu on background vocals; Malcolm Smith on keyboards; Matthew Enaleo on background vocals; Vai Mahina on background vocals; as well as guest background vocalists.
Amataga is packed with exceptionally good original Polynesian songs and percussion instrumentals.
Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.