July-August 2019

Page 77

You are

supposed to do music,” Aunty Mahealani

Tiana Malone Jennings

Kuamo‘o-Henry said as she gazed steadily into Tiana By Mālielani Malone Jenning’s eyes. “Hawai‘i is opening up your path and refining you for your purpose in the world.” Tiana left Aunty Mahealani’s workshop that fateful day in 2008 with a song in her heart and a knot in her stomach. Did she dare to transform her passion into a career? Haunted by the thought of struggling to support her two young infants with music alone, she was nevertheless thrilled by Aunty Mahealani’s confidence. Aunty’s words continued to echo through her mind: The ancestors say it’s about acceptance. If you accept that this is your path, you will be taken care of and the ancestors will pave the path for you. Eleven years later, Tiana is a singer-songwriter who glows with serenity and gratitude, confident in the value of her chosen path. Together with violinist virtuoso Hawk Devi, Tiana dedicates her clear soprano and melodious ‘ukulele to inspiring and uplifting humanity, strengthening her community, and expressing joy through music. She embraces and experiments with many genres of music, including pop, blues, island reggae, country, bluegrass, gospel, and most recently, traditional Hawaiian music. Her new album, a mix of pop and traditional Hawaiian music, is set to debut as this issue of Ke Ola Magazine goes to press.


Musical Roots and a Splash of Hawai‘i By the time Tiana was five years old, she was already playing bass, guitar, piano, and singing harmony. Tiana’s parents and extended family thrived on music, spending their free time jamming together amidst laughter and jokes in a close-knit Chamorro community in southern California. Tiana’s mother, who is full-blooded Chamorro from Guam,

Tiana and Hawk finding inspiration outdoors. photo courtesy of Premanandi sang soprano and her French-Spanish father played violin and saxophone. When Tiana was six years old, her parents bought land in Puna. She recalls swimming at the black sand beach in Kalapana one month before Pele reclaimed the beloved landmark in 1990. The lava flows dampened her parents’ interest in moving to the islands, so the family moved to Oregon instead, to be closer to her father’s relatives. During middle school, Tiana’s passion for singing blossomed

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