Mahani Teave was born in Easter Island and it was there where her piano training began, with the only teacher and the only instrument in the island back then. The departure of her teacher made her move to Valdivia, and then she finished her piano studies in Germany. In 2004, Mahani came back to the island to give a concert, and when this ended, a young girl came to her with a letter, in which she told her of her dream of becoming a flautist. “I’m willing to give everything up; my family, my home, to study,” said the letter. “That letter changed my life,” Mahani says to Indiegogo webpage, where voluntary donations exceeded the initial budget to finance the construction of the first Rapa Nui Music School.
The school has worked for two years with the support of Toki, an NGO led by Mahani and which seeks to protect the cultural, social and environmental patrimony of the island. There, classes of piano, cello and ukulele are carried out. However, during all this time, the venues for the classes have been changing due to the lack of a place of its own.
This December, 16th, this situation changed when the first stage of the project “Escuela de Música Sustentable en Rapa Nui” (“Sustainable Music School of Rapa Nui”) was opened. For the development of this school, Mahani Teave had the collaboration of the construction engineer Enrique Icke, who donated the plot for the construction and will supervise the second stage, and of the north american architect Michael Reynolds, known as the “Garbage Warrior”. Reynolds is famous for his “Earthship Biotecture” method, which consists of working with basic materials, such as cement, combined with residues of all sorts. In this case, the waste produced by the island, from tyres to bottles.
In order to carry out this feat, Reynolds sought for more than 70 volunteers from different parts of the world, apart from working with 80 volunteers from the island. The process did not only include the manpower, but also needed a series of training about how to reuse waste with the aim of generating a long term impact on the island, and which is reflected in the life quality of the locals.
The project, which is also supported by Levantemos Chile Organization and Entel telephone company, will have nine music rooms, one office for TOKI, and it is estimated that its second stage will be ready by June, 2015, when it will be able to be home to 225 local children. In addition, it is considered to widen the study fields of the school, which will include art, dance, and sculpture classes, besides rescuing traditions at the brink of disappearing, like ancestral canticles of the island. This is done with the aim of securing the cultural patrimony of Rapa Nui in all of its expressions.
This post is also available in Spanish