This year started off with a bang. On January 2, 2014 I boarded a plane to Easter Island, Chile. The plane stopped in Santiago where I had a very long layover, so I visited a local music store and purchased some flutes (why not?!) and then went to visit my aunt for an hour. I made my way back to the airport where I was the happy recipient of a First-Class seat on LAN Chile to Easter Island. What a treat! When I landed in Rapa Nui, as I disembarked the plane and walked to the airport terminal, there was a rainbow in the distance. This MUST be a good sign, I thought to myself.
The air was balmy, but not too hot and humid, it was perfect. I was greeted by a very friendly islander, Salvador who told me he was a direct descendent of the last King of the Island. He took me to my hotel where I dropped everything off in my room and looked for something to eat. It was in the complete darkness, outside on the way to the dinning room that I found myself with my pianist/collaborator and Easter Island native, Mahani Teave.
We had a lot to catch up on as we hadn’t seen each other since she had performed for Flutes by the Sea with me back in July 2013 in California. We discussed the several upcoming tours that we have in Chile and Asia, while we ate some fantastic empanadas and watched the local children’s dance and music groups perform until after midnight. We then headed to the church to practice until 3:30am. We walked back to my hotel in the pitch darkness, along the coast, listening to the waves crashing in the dark night.
The next morning around noon I made my way to where Mahani was staying which was right next to a row of colossal MOAI. It was a breathtaking vista, to approach first a horse with the epic statues in the distance and then stand right next to them. It was a dream come true for me as I had been wanting to visit Easter Island and it’s magnificent statues since I first read Thor Heyerdahl’s book when I was 10 years old. We started filming right away as it was a spectacular day, with the formidable ocean crashing ardently in the distance.
Mahani’s friend Tiare came and picked us up to take us to the most awe-inspiring Moai of the island. We passed wild horses, she explained how all the statues face inland and pointed out the ones that had been knocked over by rivaling tribes. We spent the day filming and then rehearsing. That night I ordered room service, took a bath and slept very soundly.
I woke up early to make it to the church on time for that 9am service. The native choir is a splendid group who sing with the passion and zeal of the oceanfront Moai. Mahani and I rehearsed a bit. And then with Tekena and Kimai, the students of the Music School of Rapa Nui, who both play violin.
The concert was very well attended and we all got a resounding standing ovation at the end. It was such an honor for me to be performing on Easter Island. I was struck by the incredible beauty and grace of the people of this island. Visiting this remote place was one of the most impressive destinations for so many reasons, the vistas, the people, the statues. I was in heaven!
After the concert, Tiare took us to visit one of the three volcanoes. I was speechless after experiencing the fierce power behind this site. But it wasn’t just the volcano that was intoxicating, the magic was everywhere, the ocean, the statues, the mystery, the history, the people…. everything.
It was a very quick trip for me as I was boarding and working on the Oceania Cruise Line as a Guest Entertainer and my ship was leaving. I was leaving this precious island, with a burning feeling that I am going to return…. very soon.