Distinguishing notes: Vaihi is a harmonic and melodic ensemble. The group (Bruce, Sam, Aaron and Piko) pays homage to Tahiti with a dozen tunes composed by Marotea Mariassouce, one of Tahiti’s prolific tunesmiths. Not surprisingly, this CD — originally released in Tahiti — has been a top seller throughout French Polynesia. It’s the first CD rendered in the Tahitian language by a non-Tahitian act. The melodies capture the flavor and soul of Tahiti (“Te Haeha’ara’a,” “Hei Tere,” “Fakateretere,” “Tei Tei Te Reva”) and project the love and devotion of the group for the nation. Several guest artists bring authority and authenticity to the fold.
An easy-to-appreciate entry, even if you don’t understand the language; the rousing joy and appreciation of Tahiti are very apparent.
Wayne Harada Honolulu Advertiser
Vaihi’s previous albums have reflected eclectic musical tastes that stretch from a capella doo-wop to contemporary pop. The quartet of Aaron Kaonohi, Piko Lakatani, Sam Langi and Bruce Naluai veer off in a completely different direction this time around with an album consisting entirely of Tahitian music.
Local residents who know Tahitian music only from visits to local Polynesian revues may be surprised to find the overall mood is soft and mellow — think nahenahe (sweet, melodious) but sung in Tahitian. (One song bends the format some by also including some English lyrics). Kaonohi, Lakatani and Langi play various string instruments, while Kaonohi’s keyboards evidently provides the percussive sounds.
John Berger Honolulu Star Bulletin