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"Neti's Musical Tribute to her Tongan Roots"

http://www.spasifikmag.com/latestupdates_22sept08netismusicaltributetohertonganroots/ - SPASIFIK MAGAZINE


"TONGAN AMERICAN SINGER PLEDGES TO DONATE ALBUM TO TONGA RED CROSS SOCIETY"

http://www.tnews.co.nz/TNEWS/TNEWSEP14.html - TNEWS NEW ZEALAND


"676 Interview with NZ radio station 53PI -"

Interviewed for 53PI in June 2008 - NZ Radio Station 53PI


"676 Interview with Voice of the Pacific in Sydney Australia -"

Online interviews can be found on www.planet-tonga.com - VOP in Australia


"676 Interview w/Irie Vision during the Abyssinians Concert"

Cable Access Television based out of the Bay Area in Northern California. - IrieVision in San Francisco, CA


"676 Benefit Album for Tonga Red Cross Society"

CD is now available! Buy one now and support the Tongan Red Cross.

The album title ‘Unaloto Ki Pulotu is symbolic of my yearning as a Tongan music artist who was raised outside of Tonga to always remain connected to my cultural roots. The word ‘unaloto means to cherish an affectionate desire or longing for someone or something. The word Pulotu references our ancestral homeland of where it is believed that we as Tongans originated from. The word pulotu also means composer of songs. Thus, the title of this album fully captures my desire to use music as a medium to actualize my affectionate longing for my homeland of Tonga. It is also my way of paying homage to the Tongan pulotus and punakes who have inspired me with their lyrics, their music, and their love for Tongan culture. I dedicate this album to them and to all other Tongan music artists who have been and continue to be inspired by traditional Tongan music; a genre that is timeless in its own right. ~Neti Taumoepeau~

Tonga Red Cross Society Project

The songs in this album are not my own compositions but rather the lyrics and compositions of the greatest Tongan musicians to ever walk the earth. Currently, there has not been an established uniform way of making sure that permission from and monetary compensation is granted to many of our great Tongan musicians and so it would not be right for me to make any money from this album. Hence, the reason I decided to donate 100% of all the proceeds to the Tonga Red Cross Society (TRCS). The TRCS is known for the countless services they offer to Tongans throughout the Kingdom and hopefully my modest donation from this album will help further their work and their cause. Our late beloved Queen Salote Tupou III, one of the most revered Tongan composers, served as the very first patron of the Tonga Red Cross Society. Through this project we hope to further what she established years ago and what she dedicated her life to– which was always for the well-being of the Tongan people. This project is my labor of love and my humble contribution to my Tongan people and the Kingdom of Tonga. Tu’a ‘ofa atu…~Neti Taumoepeau~

Interview with Salt Lake Tribune

Interview with Voice of the Pacific in Sydney Australia -

Interview with NZ radio station 53PI -

Lose Hina ‘O Kahala -

Video at PT Videos

Lose Hina ‘O Kahala

676 & The Kolokakala Band: Giving Back to Her Roots (Interview with Lisa Fehoko of Laie Boyz Website)

Interview with TNEWS

ALBUM RELEASE COMING THIS MONTH!!! STAY TUNED!!!

Press Release
For Immediate Release
April 16, 2008

Nuku’alofa, Tongatapu, Tonga, April 16, 2008. The Tonga Red Cross Society and Miss Neti Taumoepeau (otherwise known in the music realm as 676) are happy to announce their joint venture in the production of her upcoming Tongan album which will be sold for the beneficiary of the Tonga Red Cross Society. 676 has agreed to a production of 500 limited edition CDs which will be sold to the general public with all proceeds to be donated to the Tonga Red Cross Society.

The Tonga Red Cross Society is hereby requesting the assistance of the people of Tonga and all Tongan communities worldwide to participate in this effort as a way to acknowledge and support the services of the Tonga Red Cross Society and promote local Tongan music artists. We encourage you to show your support by purchasing a copy of 676’s Tongan album. Your support will be greatly appreciated!

Please feel free to contact the undersigned for any further information

Sincerely

Sione Taumoefolau
Secretary-General
National Office
TONGA RED CROSS SOCIETY

BUY A CD and SUPPORT THE CAUSE!!! ‘UNALOTO KI PULOTU TONGAN CD

- www.planet-tonga.com


"676 Artist Profile"

She is young, beautiful, energetic, talented and very proud of her Tongan heritage. In the music realm she is known as 676 (representin’ the country code for her native Island of Tonga). Her debut album “Movin’ On” sets her apart from all other Pacific Islander music artists because of its unique sound, a sound that cannot be boxed into any specific music genre. She thrives on taking risks with her music and hopes that it will ignite a desire in all Pacific Islander music artists to create music that fully represents who they are! She is a music artist in every sense of the word—as a singer and a songwriter. She is known by her close friends and family as Neti Taumoepeau. Her debut album “Movin’ On” is a coming-of-age story about her musical journey, past relationships, amazing friendships, endurance, survival and so much more. Be on the look out for her upcoming solo album which will be released in the summer of 2008!

676 will be performing live for the Island Christmas Bash at the E-Center on Friday, December 07, 2007. Do not miss out on the chance to hear 676 live—Buy your tickets now!!!

PT: Where did the name 676 come from?
676: I wanted something that would distinguish where I was from but that wouldn’t limit me to one genre of music. 676 is the country code for my native Island of Tonga and it represents who I am and where I come from. It’s totally for the love of my heritage, my culture and it’s also a name that other people who are Tongan can relate to.

PT: How would you describe the kind of music that 676 create?
676: I don’t think I really fit into one specific genre. The album has R&B and reggae, but also some dance hall and hip-hop tracks and so it’s basically all over the board. Tongans are so musically talented and I think that sometimes we limit ourselves to one genre of music when we really have the talent to make music that can encompass all genres.

PT: Who in the music realm would you say inspires the music you create?
676: I love Toni Braxton, I have always loved her deep voice. I love Mariah Carey, her song writing is awesome and so is her singing and Destiny’s Child, SWV, and many others.

PT: If there was a message that you wanted to get across in your debut album, what would that message be?
676: It’s a lot of things. This album is called “Moving On” and it’s named after a track on the album. “Moving On” is about a relationship break up but it could also mean many things such as moving on in a relationship and for me, it’s about moving on in life and moving on in my career.

PT: What inspired you to write the song “when you need me”?
676: When I had written that song, the very first line of that song is “when you are on your own and your needing love child” my muse was my two nieces and nephew. I took a mother’s stance, wherever you go, wherever you are, whatever you are going through, whenever you need me, I will always be there. However, in the lyrics, I never really mention who this song was for because I wanted to keep it open so that those listening to it can come up with their own interpretations of the song.

PT: Who would you say has been the most influential in your life?
676: I would have to say my family. My dad is my #1 fan, he can sit in front of the computer all day and read all the myspace comments, my sister Nia, who is always pushing me to do better, my brother Duke who produces my music and he is a huge motivator but if at the end of the day there is one person that I have in my mind to think about to keep me going throughout the day, it would have to be my mom! She pushes me every single day. She is the most selfless person I have ever known. I remember my first show in October 2006, she stayed up all night sewing my outfit and before I would go on stage she would make sure everything was perfect and would tell me “don’t dance too much on stage,” “you need more eyeliner,” “you need more make up,” “make sure you drink your tea,”. I would never be able to do what I do if it weren’t for her

PT: What is something about you that would surprise your fans?
676: I will be teaching a Tongan language class for one of the local school districts here in Utah. .

PT: What does it mean for you to live a “life filled with purpose”?
676: For me a life filled with purpose is being able to live a life that is meaningful, a life where you are able to serve those around you and that when your on life on earth ends you can honestly say that you had strived to be a good influence in the lives of others.

PT: What would you say is the biggest misperception about Pacific Islanders?
676: I think that many people think that we lack talent and drive when in reality we have a lot of talent and drive and once we make up our mind about something there is no stopping us.

PT: What do you feel is our contribution as Pacific peoples to the rest of the world?
676: Pacific Islanders put that little spice into life. We bring the uniqueness of our culture, the confidence from our ancestors, the love for our families, and our overall passion for life!

676’s Myspace Page

http://www.myspace.com/six7six

- www.planet-tonga.com


"Tongan singer finds her identity in native tongue"

FARMINGTON - When she was a kid, Neti Taumoepeau was convinced she'd grow up to be just like Whitney Houston.
She used to sing Houston's hit "The Greatest Love of All" as she played around her house in West Valley City. She watched Houston's videos on MTV. In kindergarten, she won an honorable mention award when she drew a picture of herself singing onstage. The drawing project was titled, "If I could change the world . . . I'd be a singer."
"Singing is something I've always wanted to do," said Taumoepeau, 26, of Farmington.
She spent years singing with friends on the playground and at community events. After graduating from West High School, she performed with a local reggae group for two years. In 2005, after a trip to visit family in Tonga, she returned to Utah determined to build a singing career.
This week, Taumoepeau will perform at two Salt Lake-area events to mark the release of her second CD, "Unaloto Ki Pulotu," a collection of traditional songs that Taumoepeau sings in Tongan. Proceeds from album sales - available for $15 at local Polynesian stores - will be donated to the Tongan Red Cross Society. "Because the songs aren't mine, we wanted to give it back to Tonga," she said.
Taumoepeau, who was born and raised in Utah, thinks about how her life might have been different if her parents hadn't migrated from Tonga in the late 1960s. "Being born and raised in the U.S. and then going back,you definitely see the benefits," said the singer of her experience visiting her family's native country. "It's good to give to a country that doesn't have what you have here."
Taumoepeau started singing as part of a two-woman group called 676 in 2005. Now, as a solo act, she kept the 676 after her name because the number is the telephone country code for Tonga, just one way to identify where she's from.
For Taumoepeau, music is a cultural and family affair. She's from a musical family, the youngest of seven children. When she was 11, Taumoepeau sang publicly for the first time with her sister in front of the congregation at her church, before going on to perform at junior-high talent shows and in the high-school choir. One friend, Sharon Jones, 27, said she's loved Taumoepeau's voice since they met through friends 12 years ago. Now after buying her first album and going to her concerts, Jones said she's a huge fan. "She's so soulful," Jones said. "She sings from the heart. She's true to her roots and proud of her heritage."
In summer 2005, Taumoepeau released her first single, "When You Need Me," which she wrote for her 10 nieces and nephews. She released her first CD, "Movin' On," a mix of reggae, R&B and hip hop, in August 2006.
Taumoepeau, who also works as a full-time secretary, is recording her third album with the help of her brother Duke. She keeps singing because fans say her songs have touched their lives. "It makes you realize how powerful music is," she said.
jsanchez@sltrib.com


CD party
* NETI TAUMOEPEAU 676 and The Kolokakala Band CD release party will be from 8 to 9 tonight at the Lanikai Grill Hawaiian Barbecue, 1072 W. 10600 South, Sandy. The event is free; proceeds from sales of the album "Unaloto Ki Pulotu" will be donated to the Tongan Red Cross Society.
* MANA POLY ALL STARS, Natural Roots, Neti Taumoepeau 676 and Rock Steady also known as The Kolo Masima Band will play at 9 p.m. Saturday at The Paladium, 615 N. 400 West, Salt Lake City. Tickets, $10, are available at the door.
- Salt Lake Tribune (www.sltrib.com)


"676 & The Kolokakala Band: Giving Back to Her Roots"

For the average young adult musician, the abstract notion of piety is almost always obscured by hedonism and the allurements that are woven into the fabric of fame; the road to notoriety rarely begins with the idea of devolving into self-indulgence, yet, when fame rears its unruly head, desisting from the enticements of such fickle trappings becomes futile. But every now and then, an artist comes along with a movement that leaves the rest of the pack wallowing in their own haphazard definitions of what fame ought to espouse; a movement which allows filial compassion the freedom to flourish and mature into reality. For Neti Taumoepeau, better known in the music industry as 676, her connection to a rudimentary country—Tonga—moves beyond the dusty, unpaved roads that were once trodden by her forefathers, and delicately traces the great expanse of stars that have witnessed the dawning of her indigenous roots. Thus, in a rustic atmosphere void of pretense, 676 puts forth an elegy of love, in musical form, as a means of giving back to a country that connects her to a more sedentary, ancestral counterpart.

On the eve of her Tongan album release, the busy artist delves into a personal journey that is fueled by a raging passion for music, and a growing family that lives beneath her skin.

She grew up in a musically inclined household where both parents sang; dad also played the guitar. All seven kids were pushed into the musical experience and their first few performances were limited to garage band mode, which honed future direction.

“Three of my older siblings were in the band as well as a few family friends—we had a garage band.” She laughs softly. “My sister was the lead singer, and my brothers played the guitar and drums…I was too young at the time.”

“When I was eleven years old, I started singing in church. Then in junior high, I sang at talent shows, but since I was the youngest, it wasn’t until my junior year of high school that my mom actually knew that I could sing. I was getting ready to do a tau‘olunga number (Tongan dance) at a school assembly, and then (afterwards), when I sang, my mom was surprised.”

It didn’t take much for the young siren to be noticed. Shortly after her high school career, she began singing with a Utah based, reggae influenced band.

“I started off with Small Axe from the Top. That was a good experience because it’s live band performance. It was my first experience with both a live band and also some studio recording. Being on stage with a live band is so different because you get to interact, not only with the crowd, but the band. It has a whole different vibe. I did that for a couple of years. We recorded and released an album and then the band broke up.”

After her stint with Small Axe went defunct, she retreated to Tonga.

“676 came about when I was in Tonga (676 is the country code for Tonga). I had been in Tonga a couple months and wanted to pursue my music career, take it further. I was serious about this and I told my brother; he goes by ‘Tonga Kid’ (Duke Taumoepeau). He had been producing in New York for about four years at the time so he had all these ideas about the direction he wanted to take the music in.”

Her return to the states was driven by a desire to establish herself as an artist and to do it on her own terms.

“When we started working on tracks, we had the studio right there, built in the basement of our house. My brother had built it so that he could work when he was home from New York. We experimented and sat down and talked about it. We decided to form some sort of group because from a marketing standpoint, we felt, at the time, that it was easier to market a group, rather than a solo act. I asked Finau (Afeaki) to be a part of it with me; we sang together in Small Axe, so I was already familiar with her. We did our first album, “Movin' On”; we traveled and performed for almost 3 years. Finau's family didn't like the direction we were going in and felt her potential wasn't being met; so, she made a decision to leave the group and last year we parted ways. We only did one album. We started 676 up in 2005" to great reception. “We had the opportunity to open for The Abyssinians, Don Carlos, Mikey Dread, and played with several different bands…Thematically, the album was influenced by different genres, Reggae, Dancehall, Hip Hop, R& B.”

The studio was her safe haven; a place where she could gather her experiences. Shifting gears, she opens up about the creative process and where she had to go emotionally to find inspiration and connection to her songs on the “Movin’ On” album.

“My brother gave me the beat, went upstairs and left it playing. I sat there and wrote. The album is about moving on in a relationship and some of it was from personal experience, as well as from other experiences that my cousins had gone through.”

She gets more personal, unveiling how the album also became a vicarious way for her to live through dysfunction and heartbreak.

“I also looked at what my sister had to go through. She’s been through so much in her relationships—and she’s shared what it’s like, what the experiences have done for her. I had to take myself out of my shoes in order to understand what she was going through—what it’s like to have a relationship fall apart, what it’s like to have someone cheat on you. I hope I never have to go through something like that but I had to imagine that I did to write the songs.” Silence. “But it’s about the personal experiences and coming to terms with it, having to deal with it.”

“Another song that is a favorite off that album is ‘When You Need Me’.” The smile in her voice is obvious as she walks through the complexities of having kept this specific track ambiguous.

“After it was released as the single, I got a lot of positive feedback about that song. That song has no identifying words like ‘he’ or ‘she’ and I kept it that way so that when someone listened to it, they could interpret it their own way, whether it be about a relationship between mother and son, brother and sister, etc. But that song is about my sister’s kids, because when I look at them, they’re like mine too, so I wrote it from a mother’s standpoint. They were my muse for that song and it's very special to me.”

“My dad is my number one fan; he's my walking billboard advertisement.” She laughs heartily. “My mom—she’s the best. She makes some of the outfits for my performances and tells me when I’m sounding kind of flat when I’m singing.” More easy laughter. “My parents are actively involved. My brother is the main producer on my albums and we work closely. My sister Nia is my manager and she books the shows—so it’s definitely a family project. I feel this is more rewarding because nobody ongo’i’s (feels) you like your family. With your family you don’t get screwed and they don’t do you dirty or turn their back on you. My family has been amazing.”

Her inspiration stems from a loving family that keeps her grounded with daily interaction. Thus, the ambivalence connected to the performing arts is something she hopes to transcend with the support of such strong a base; she’s determined to succeed.

“Because of my past experience and my performance as an artist, my goal has been to keep developing myself. When I originally sang with Finau, we had each other’s back. The transition to being solo wasn’t that big—I mean the good thing about both of us was that we both had good stage presence. I think the biggest difference is the stamina because I have to do it alone now, so I have to step it up. I work on my stamina and am still trying to learn and find ways to improve my overall performance. It’s about the process.”

“For about six months now, I’ve had a vocal coach—not because I feel I can’t sing, but because there is always room for improvement. It's helped me learn a lot about my voice and try different things that I normally wouldn't try. On stage, stamina is important because holding down an entire set by yourself and trying to work the crowd isn't easy. My vocal coach helps with that as well as a good work out. When you’re on stage, dancing and talking during a performance, you can get winded pretty easy. You have to work the stage and get the crowd into what you’re saying and what you're singing. Trying to do all that while hitting the notes and trying to breathe properly can leave you winded, out of breath and not able to finish a verse or lines, which is why I want to improve my stamina and overall performance on stage. Practice is different; that’s one thing, but when you’re on stage, the adrenaline kicks in. With good stamina, you can start off strong and not worry about waning. This industry is very critical about live performances and so I try to put on the best show that I possibly can.”

She starts to laugh and we’re hee-hawing about the plethora of critics she staves off on a regular basis; Ebert & Roeper need not apply. The voice that can bellow Donna Marie’s “Think Twice” with enough fervor to marginalize the competition is animated with mirth that spills over like a packet of skittles.

“To be in this business takes thick skin because there is a lot of backbiting. It’s good because I have my family, but sometimes it’s hard to take constructive criticism. (But) I think of it as something positive. My brother (Tonga Kid) is very critical and he won’t hesitate to tell me if he thinks I can bring more to a track vocally or emotionally—and it’s hard because sometimes it can take several takes to get it right but I appreciate it because it’s better to have it coming from him, than from somebody else.” She laughs. “So I have to separate our family relationship from the business aspect.”

Nevertheless, the melding of the two worlds is what drives her current project of putting out a Tongan album—an album that is grittier, less constrained, and for that matter, less synthesized. Her emotional connection to these songs is written in the pronunciations; in the veritable barrage of glottal stops that have transitioned her love affair with music from English to Tongan diction.

“I’ve always wanted to do a Tongan album. I had been thinking about doing a Tongan album for a long time, and even on our first album, ‘Movin' On’, the question came up about putting a Tongan track onto it. But this time, the Tongan songs came up and I wanted to cover it. These are songs that I’ve sang since I was a kid; songs that my mother taught me, some of them I've danced to—so when I did the album, I didn’t want to put a spin or change the feeling of the songs. I didn’t want to take the artist’s personal stamp away. I’m not knocking any versions that have been redone; I’m just saying that I didn’t want to take someone’s songs and put a different beat to it. Being a songwriter, I wanted to respect the original artists and their compositions. I think up and coming artists add a brilliant touch by showcasing their vocals, but they don’t have to do it by adlibbing or trying to come up with different melodies. Tongan artists have beautiful voices so they don’t have to do all the riffs, just keep it clean and simple.”

Her image for this album is as authentic as her sound. Even her backup band—The Kolokakala Band, which is made up of Fine Langi, Ma’u Kakala, Veni Kei’aho, and Vili Muli, is reminiscent of the kava drinking buddies that sit Indian style in a circle, buzzed on the roots, waxing poetic.

The Kolokakala Band was originally put together on the fly to back 676 at the Pacific Worlds Conference held in Utah. She was told about the conference a week in advance and was then given room to practice. Prior to this engagement, she had only sung the songs in the confines of her home. Singing it live onstage was a different experience and by the end of her performance that night, her fan base had moved in a different direction.

“It was two days before the conference and I had to learn all the words—the correct words,” she stresses, while laughing. “It’s one thing to speak Tongan at home, as well as sing church songs in Tongan, but the conference was a totally new experience. I practiced and practiced. (When I finally sang), I got such a good reaction from the crowd. The older generation was sitting there singing along and the younger kids felt it and some stood and danced. I could see the effects of our own tradition through Tongan music.”

Thus, this upcoming Tongan album bridges multi-generational gaps by incorporating the traditions of an oratory culture into the gloss of western identity. The theme, which is alluded to through 676’s personal expression in this cover album, is about making connections.

“This album is different because of the traditional live instruments, and there is a different feel. I can musically appreciate it more. In a live band, playing a song is completely different and I can feel the authenticity. I can also appreciate the talent of the musicians. With the Tongan album, they are taken back to the roots. The older generation can appreciate the harmonies and vocal performances. These tracks evoke the original feelings that the composition or words were meant to evoke. This helps us to appreciate our language. I was born and raised in the States so I had to find a medium where I wasn’t completely losing my Tongan culture, or to go the other extreme and resent it for crowding in on me. I hope that the younger generation can listen and appreciate our culture more, (as well as) identify with it and be proud of their heritage.”

“This generation that’s coming up is so far removed from their parents, who were born and raised in Tonga. I know Tongan because my parents spoke it in the home, but there are those that don’t know the language. I feel strongly about the Tongan language because I work with a program at Granite School District and I see a lot of Tongan kids there that are there to make up for high school credit. I speak Tongan to them so that they feel more comfortable but the sad thing is that sometimes—they don’t understand. I don’t feel like the parents are to blame, (and) this is the downfall of the next generation—not understanding. That’s why I want to do this album. I’m not far away from these kids in age so I want them to understand who they are. No matter what, at the end of the day, they’re still Tongan. That’s why this album is important.”

The buzz that this Tongan album has generated since first having the track Mo’ui Honge Ifo on Youtube.com has devotees eager for more. Her excitement propounds as the album release date draws nearer.

“We did this album to give back to Tonga. These songs are not my own work; it wouldn't be right if I was to gain from it. So we thought, what a perfect way to give back to our people. I wanted to give back to Tonga and to do it through an organization. (My management team and I) sat down and brainstormed and considered education. But we felt that education wasn’t overlooked and didn’t need much more help. Then we considered healthcare and the conditions of the hospital. I’ve been back to Tonga several times, I’ve seen the conditions at the hospital (Vaiola) and also, having relatives call for supplies made us think about giving to The Tongan Red Cross. This will help with whatever supplies or services they need. Our hope is to get others involved in the cause.”


The cause draws on the ancient Tongan concept of altruism; a tradition which is still practiced today in the islands, as well as abroad among the diasporic Tongans. Whether for funerals, weddings, birthdays, or other formal gatherings, the goodwill gesture of exchange becomes a viable medium for those that are in need of aid.

“I’m selling five hundred albums at fifteen dollars each. We don’t retain any of the funds. Ten dollars goes to the cause and the other five is for shipping and handling. We are going to Tonga in July to personally present the money to The Tongan Red Cross. It’s not a lot, basically five thousand dollars here, but the exchange rate will be roughly ten thousand dollars. Every little bit helps, and since I’ve been fortunate enough to do this, I want to give back. Those that want to help out are more than welcome to. Throughout this whole process, my family has been actively involved.”

Tradition and family aside, the theoretics behind vesting five thousand U.S. dollars into a market that economically fluctuates is a drop in the proverbial bucket. The economic condition that Tonga faces is funneled through the flux in price of import and export goods. In addition, the continually rising price of petrol (gas) and food, some imported, hoists the country’s mounting financial burdens upon the shoulders of sources outside of its borders; foreign aid is aimed primarily at the bottom-rung of a Maslowian existence. At the far end of this relief-spectrum is healthcare, teetering precariously on the fringes of ruin. Therefore, the vassal-ship that the Tongan Red Cross generates, with the help of outside relief agents, is one step closer to the objective—to cut away at the stereotypical subjectivity associated with the current healthcare standard; hence, 676’s goal is to help mold a flagging healthcare system into a more self-sufficient organization, and the idea that “every little bit helps” goes a long way.

“I want to invite the Tongan people to come out and support, but not for personal gain, but as an opportunity to give back, to contribute in some way. For those that are interested, you can go to www.planet-tonga.com. We haven’t set up consignments outside of Utah, except in New Zealand, but we invite you to come out and support the cause.”

—An elemental cause that once, long ago, drove her ancestors to ride the ocean swells in search of a new home for their posterity; by the brightness of the moon and stars, they rode the wailing seas, and by the scorch of the sun, they bore blistering. Between heaven and earth in the southern most regions of the Pacific, an outcropping of islands housed this fierce race of primordial inhabitants. Through the millennia, nature buried their ancestral names in the wind; their bodies a forgotten canker beneath the corals. But their ways are etched into her, their traditions made alive through her music, and as long as she remains the symbol of charity, then “God and Tonga are my inheritance” forever.


Reach Lisa J. Fehoko at LJFehoko@hotmail.com
- LaieBoyz.com


Discography

676 DISCOGRAPHY:

1. When You Need Me - 676 / released in August 2005 as part of the debut album, "Movin' On".
2. So In Love - 676 featuring Finn / released in August 2005 as part of the debut album, "Movin' On".
3. Lose Hina 'O Kahala - 676 / released in May 2008 on her first Traditional Tongan album, "Unaloto ki Pulotu".
4. Mo'ui Honge Ifo - 676 featuring Kolokakala / released in May 2008 on her first Traditional Tongan album, "Unaloto ki Pulotu".
5. Place to Be - 676 featuring Irie Black / released in August 2005 as part of the debut album, "Movin' On".
6. The Promise - 676 featuring The HYPE Kids / released January 2009, "Anthem" for the HYPE (Helping Youth Pursue Emancipation) Movement.

Photos

Bio

676 BIOGRAPHY:

She is young, beautiful, energetic, talented and very proud of her Tongan heritage. In the music realm she is known as 676. She hails from Salt Lake City, Utah and brings with her a musical style encompassed in a variety of genres, all inspired by her Polynesian heritage. In school and on the radio, she grew to love and appreciate artists such as Mariah Carey, Toni Braxton and groups like En Vogue, Destiny’s Child and SWV. It was at home however, through family and friends, where she would shape this great passion for music.

While her music is rooted in other more popular genres of today’s music, to honor her Polynesian heritage, 676 was chosen as her moniker in reference to the telephone country code of Tonga, from where her family has immigrated. She wanted a name that would reflect her pride in her heritage and culture. She is a music artist in every sense of the word—as a singer and a songwriter. She is known by her close friends and family as Neti Taumoepeau.

Before she became 676, Neti was highly sought after in the local music scene. She could be seen everywhere from local school assemblies, to church functions, and Polynesian events. She earned a reputation locally for her beautiful voice and stage presence. In 2004 Neti began work on her own style of music. She feels she has found her way and is ready to take her music to the next level.

Her debut album "Movin' On", released in late 2006, sets her apart from all other Pacific Islander music artists because of its unique sound, a sound that cannot be boxed into any specific music genre. She thrives on taking risks with her music and hopes that it will ignite a desire in all music artists who hear her music to create music that fully represents who they are! Her debut album "Movin' On" is a coming-of-age story about her musical journey, past relationships, amazing friendships, endurance, survival and so much more. She describes her musical style as a concoction of various genres.

Influences of reggae, hip-hop, dancehall, and R&B are apparent. According to Neti, “This album is my way of “Movin’ On” in my musical journey. I'm confident that everyone will enjoy the music and that my move into the mainstream, which is definitely still very rooted in my Tongan heritage, will always keep me, “Movin’ On.”

PLANET TONGA ARTICLE:

676 to release her first Tongan Album this Spring!

"I have been wanting to record an album like this for a long time and finally it's coming true" says Neti Taumoepeau of 676. Her first full-length Tongan album is set to be released this Spring with all proceeds from the record sales to be donated to the Tongan Red Cross. 676's Tongan album pays homage to some of the most influential and universally respected musicians and song writers from her homeland of Tonga, among them are the late Queen Salote Tupou III, Tu'imala, and many more. "It was very important for me to keep to the authentic traditional Tongan sound and lyrics while recording this album as a way to show respect for these amazing music artists who transformed Tongan music into a form of poetry and art" says Taumoepeau.

With the release of her first Tongan single "Mo'ui Honge Ifo" Taumoepeau hopes to expose a new generation of Tongans (especially those who live outside of Tonga) to the richness of Tongan music and the poetic nature of its lyrics. For Taumoepeau, who was born and raised in the United States, recording this album takes on a different level of commitment; it is both a gesture of love and pride for her Tongan roots, but also an intense wave of determination for herself, who grew up speaking mostly English, "recording this album gives me a deeper appreciation for this ancestral treasure, that we often take for granted, our Tongan language!"

676 is also working on a more mainstream, full-fledged English-language album which she plans to release Summer 2009.

676's Traditional Tongan Album titled, "Unaloto Ki Pulotu" was released on May 26, 2008. See link below to purchase and donate to the Tongan Red Cross Society today!