Ukulele Prodigy Brittni Paiva Releases "Four Strings: The Fire Within"


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BRITTNI PAIVA—Four Strings: The Fire Within (Talmidim Productions)— U.S. mainland release: July 20

At 21 years of age, Brittni Paiva (pie-VAH) is the preeminent female ukulele player from Hawaii. This native of Hilo, Hawaii, is a award winning multi-instrumentalist with a prodigious gift who has been embraced by a global audience.

At the age of 15 Brittni self-produced an award winning debut recording, “Brittni x 3." It won the prestigious Na Hoku Hanohano Award from the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts for Most Promising Artist of the Year in 2005. The title of the CD emphasizes her deft lyrical abilities on the ukulele, slack key guitar, and bass.

Within the next year she produced and released Hear. It features Brittni on ukulele and slack key guitar embracing jazz, Hawaiian, and Peruvian repertoire. A year later she released Brittni, which features a full band plus a special guest, legendary Hawaiian singer Melveen Leed. Both of these albums won music awards in the 50th state.

Brittni's new CD, Four Strings: The Fire Within, was co-produced by Charles Michael Brotman, Hawaii's first Grammy Award winner. Some of the highlights include guitarist Johannes Linstead's feature on “Hour of the Lamps"; the timeless and universally popular “Somewhere Over The Rainbow" (lately identified with the late great Israel Kamakawiwoole, but the sound is unmistakably Brittni's); and Carlos Santana's classic “Europa." The rest of the album consists of cover tunes and originals that display Brittni's technique and passion.

Brittni grew up the older of two siblings within a rich heritage of cultural backgrounds. Her lineage includes Portuguese, Danish, Japanese, and Hawaiian. She and her brother were home schooled and she says it was the best decision her parents made for her as it instilled unwavering self-confidence. Her music education started early—at the age of four, she began studying classical piano under the Suzuki method. Seven years later her maternal grandfather, Isaac Takayama, introduced her to the ukulele. The word “ukulele" means “jumping flea," a term native Hawaiians used to describe the quick-fire fingering style required to play the instrument.

Brittni and her ukulele are a brilliant match. Both are humble in nature, small in size, and very powerful with proper delivery. Brittni and the ukulele in general have gained notoriety in a variety of circles, no longer confined by stereotypes about the instrument. There's a global resurgence in the instrument's popularity and Brittni Paiva is part of the trend.

Ukulele, guitar, electric bass, piano and drums are Brittni's instruments of choice, yet when it comes to the ukulele she invests as much soulful transparency as skill.

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