Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Tahitian Drums hit the iPhone, iPod and iPad

Two brothers, Aaron and Andrew Llavore, who have partnered to create a new company named Love4Apps, have  come up with the first app to tackle the needs of the Tahitian drumming crowd.  Tahitian Drums

We're always on the lookout for Polynesian activity on the internet and in the world around us, and more specifically Tahitian activity. A few weeks ago we got an alert via our Facebook page of a new iPhone app that featured Tahitian drumming.  We bought it, started playing with it and found that we were in dire need of brushing up on our Tahitian drumming thumb skills. Nevertheless we found it so intriguing that we knew we had to share it with our readers. If you find yourself in the doctors office waiting and waiting... and waiting, or between breaks at work or school, and you are find yourself without your to'ere, this is the app for you.

The Tahitian Drums app (available now on the iTunes store, among the other Apple branded online store outlets) is only $.99 and is a bargain at that. It features 5 distinct to'ere (hollowed out hardwood drum) sample beats and 1 pahu (traditional low key bass) beat. Just pick a comfortable spot to sit down and select the app and you're set. Using both thumbs is recommended. One for the bass and 1 for the toere. The different tones are determined by where you hit the to'ere just as a real toere would typically sound if it was hit in the same area. You can visually see when and where you tap and you can tap both to'ere and pahu at the same time so it realistically portrays what a drummer would do when using both instruments in concert.

Aaron handles the artistic side of the application. He created the layouts, illustrations and handled the audio recording of the instruments as well.  His brother Andrew has handled all the technical aspects of designing the app to work on the various platforms, programming and encoding.

We caught up with Aaron recently and had a nice Q&A session with him about his exciting new foray into bringing Tahitian drumming to a whole new world.

First of all, great app and initiative bringing Tahitian drumming to a tech savvy crowd.  We're equally excited to just learn that the next update 1.1 is just days away as well.

BPD: Are either of you drummers or dancers yourselves? If so, what group?
Aaron: Yes, I've been a musician/drummer for Kawailehua, based out of San Jose, California for roughly 10 years now.  Our group is an active participant in the annual Tahiti Fete of San Jose, as well as Heiva i Maui, and the Kiki Raina Tahiti Fete in Merced.

BPD: What made you decide to make the app?
Aaron: As a fellow Tahitian drummer myself, I'm often itching to play the Tahitian drums and often times, I'm not around a to'ere and pahu (or it's too late in the evening to make a lot of noise). So, I thought the idea of being able to mimic playing the Tahitian drums on your phone would be fun!  From my experience, being around other fellow drummers - Tahitian drummers eat, breath, and sleep playing the drums - as it is highly addicting! With this app we hope to offer something to the Polynesian dance community, whether you have any drumming/dancing experience or not. And for the general public,  we hope its a new avenue to spread the love of Polynesian dance and music.

BPD: What are the main benefits that you see users getting out of the app?
Aaron: It's just plain fun to play around with!  

BPD: Is there plans to have a fa'atete added?
Aaron: Not yet,  but I think our next step in a future update would be to add a to'ere piti as well.  Then you can get really creative with playing Tahitian beats.

BPD: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us and creating this fun and great new tool/instrument.
Aaron: Maru'uru. Glad to be able to share the culture with the iPhone audience.

If you find yourself a little timid or find you need a little inspiration, there will also be a convenient in-app link to the Tahitian Drums YouTube Channel that has a growing selection of demo videos and examples of basic beats that will be available soon. In addition, other new features in the 1.1 update will be including an iPad version, an updated look, and larger playing surfaces to make it easier to play.

And for those of you who haven't taken the leap to the iPhone, not to worry, work is already underway to port the app to Android phones as well. Looking forward to future updates. Sign up for updates on the site or Twitter. For more information about the app and to see some videos about it, visit the Love4Apps website.

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