Rapa Nui is the birthplace and homeland of Yoyo Tuki, an international musician, dancer, artist and cultural ambassador for the indigenous peope of Rapa Nui (Easter Island).
This isolated island lies 3700kms off the coast of Chile, and 4000kms southeast from Tahiti making of this tiny spec of land the remotest inhabited place on Earth.
The official language is Spanish as the island is part of Chile, though the Islanders also speak ‘Rapa Nui’ – a Polynesian dialect similar to Tahitian and New Zealand Maori.
Born into a culturally rich family, Yoyo developed a strong sense of identity. A deep respect for his land and traditions was nurtured in particular by his grandfather ‘Mana Roa’ (Great Wisdom). Mana Roa was regarded as a keeper of ancient wisdom, and was also one of the island’s greatest carvers.
As a child, Yoyo would listen to his grandfather’s stories, knowing the day would come when he passed this wisdom to his own children. What he couldn’t have known then, was that his music would one day transmit a deep cultural message to not only his own people, but thousands throughout the world. From a young age Yoyo’s paintings and drawings won prestigious prizes, and he was invited to study under expert craftsmen.
At the age of 15 a handmade wooden ukulele altered his life. Teaching himself the ukulele had a powerful effect on the teen, whose newfound passion for music then transferred to the strings of a guitar, and to the composition of his first songs. In 1996, when Yoyo was 14 years old and didn’t know about his musical abilities yet, he had an incursion in the acting and film industry.
This was an interesting fact in his life and Rapa Nui history as he was one of the main characters of French film ‘Le ile Au Bout Du Monde’ of director Henri Herre. This was the first international film that had Rapa Nui actors in main roles. He was the only male Rapa Nui actor, together with Tiare Paoa and the island’s treasured activist Aida Luz Huke (Mama Piru r.i.p).
His mother received a golden ring with the inscription of his name and a quote: ‘primo actor Rapa Nui’ – ‘First Rapa Nui actor’. In 2002 at age 19, Yoyo was approached by a major record label (Sony Music Chile) whom signed him as the lead singer, guitarist and songwriter for Rapa Nui band Manaroa. They released an album entitled ‘Al Sur del Sol’. Not long after its release and unfulfilled by the commercial aspect of the project, Yoyo left to start his own musical journey.
In 2006 his first independent album entitled ‘Teuingahanga’ was released Since then he released ‘Taiko’ (2006) and ‘Hoko Manu’ (2011). These albums are still popular and remain on demand in the island, and are frequenty played in cafes, restaurants, hotels, and homes.
In the last 20 years Yoyo has forged an international career.
He’s performed with most of the top Pacific groups and graced stages at major world music events and festivals in Germany, Spain, Holland, Norway, Czech Republic, Iceland, USA, Australia, Taiwan, Polynesia, Chile and exclusive performances for media outlets such as National Geographic.
He is also the first Rapa Nui musician to ever reach the top #1 world music charts in Songlines (UK) magazine as feature artist of the award-winning film/music project Small Island Big Song.
Yoyo contributed his original song ‘Ka Va’ai Mai Koe’, which has been highly praised by international media.
Today, Yoyo has consolidated himself as Rapa Nui’s most prominent international solo artist. His music has broken new ground in contemporary Rapa Nui music.
His heartfelt message is broad- not confined solely to his cultural topics, but greater themes of life on our shared planet.
He now spends his time between Rapa Nui and Australia, a country where he has been established for the last 10 years. He dedicates his life to his music, art, deepening his spiritual learning while sharing his precious culture with the world.
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