Brittni Paiva
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Brittni Paiva

Hilo, Hawaii, United States

Hilo, Hawaii, United States
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"CD Review by Wayne Harada"

'Four Strings: The Fire Within'

Brittni Paiva's time may have finally come: she generates heat and excitement aplenty on her newest CD, where she strums and plucks with flair and genius.

Overview: Paiva has selected a repertoire with global punch and her performance is both fiery and nuanced. The intensity can be felt on "Tamacun," a challenging piece with swiftly switching melodies; the interpretation is tender and reflective on "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"; the poignancy of Carlos Santana's "Europa" is lasting. Paiva's fingers converse without words.


"Four Strings: The Fire Within"

Brittni Paiva's latest CD, titled "Four Strings: The Fire Within" once again proves that a
musician doesn't have to be
long in years to be a seasoned

This new CD features four of
Brittni's original compositions
and a collection of tunes that
she makes her own. Here is the
1. Tamacun
2. Cruisin' on 7
3. Sunday Morning
4. Acelerou
5. Hour of the Lamps
6. Somewhere Over the Rainbow
7. Made For Me
8. Europa
9. Fusion West
10. Fusion East

I hit the play button and before I could even sit "Tamacun", the first track on this CD, swept me away. This track seemed to jump right at me. Music poured over me in a beautiful array of notes expertly played. This is a
great tune to kick-off a new
album. Within a single musical
staff, I was owned. Brittni caught me and reeled me in.

"Cruisin' on 7" is a smooth and
relaxing tune. What a great
follow-up to the first track. The snare drum and cymbal work
on this song was absolutely
perfect. There are some nice
little percussion accents, too.
This song has a fantastic
arrangement and nothing is
overdone or leaves you wanting.

"Sunday Morning" is another
relaxing tune. This is music to
accompany your morning coffee. This is a nice tune, but I
like "Cruisin' on 7" better. It
displays a musical maturity way
beyond Brittni's twenty-one

"Acelerou" is another beautiful
tune and masterfully played.
Right now, my toes are tapping
and my head is bobbing. This is
the sort of music that grabs me
and doesn't let go.

"Hour of the Lamps" has an
exotic flavor to it. It features fast picking along with strumming and a steady percussion beat. This song sounds like a combination of Baltic and Middle-Eastern music. There are subtle little percussion accents, too, like a wood-block. See if you can hear it.

"Somewhere Over the Rainbow"
is beautifully played. This is a
more traditional rendition, not
the "IZ" version that most people are playing.

"Made for Me" is another one of
Brittni's original ompositions. I love the intro. The harmonizing ukulele is a beautiful start to a wonderful tune. I love the accents on the chord changes.

"Europa", the Carlos Santana
tune, is a classic. This is a
fabulous rendition. As popular
as this tune is, Brittni makes it her own, not so much in the
arrangement but in the way she
plays it. Simply beautiful.

"Fusion West" is an energetic
tune that has a solid beat and a
haunting orchestration.

Followed by "Fusion East", which
has a Japanese flavor to it,
these two compositions are a
great wrap to a really top-notch
CD. There is a lot of multi-track recording in this last number. I love the arrangement and the musicianship is first-rate.

"Four Strings: The Fire Within" is a fabulous collection of tunes brilliantly played. I actually like Brittni's own compositions the best, in particular, "Cruisin' on 7",
which in my opinion is the best
track on the album.

This is a great album from a truly great performer. Well done.

MICKEY MAGUIRE - Ukulele Player Magazine
November 2, 2009
- Mickey Maguire - Ukulele Player Magazine

"Exceeding Previous Promise"

At the age of 21, Brittni Paiva has successfully outgrown her early identity as a novelty act — "She's young! She's a girl! She plays three instruments!" Paiva's debut album was a home-brewed project on which she played ukulele, guitar and bass.

On this, her fourth, she concentrates on ukulele and displays her continuing development as a youthful virtuoso.

"Europa," presented as an acoustic duet by Paiva and guitarist Charles Michael Brotman, stands out in its artistry and simplicity. The other duet, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," is also successful; Dean Taba adds just the slightest hint of bass underneath her interpretation of the familiar melody.

Paiva creates a different sound elsewhere by playing multiple ukulele parts. This helps keep her in the forefront when she's accompanied by drums, keyboards, bass and other instruments.

Paiva's debut album won the Hoku Award for Most Promising Artist(s) in 2005. This could be her ticket back to the winners' circle.

JOHN BERGER - Star Bulletin
October 30, 2009
- John Berger - Star Bulletin

"Brittni Paiva’s Latest CD Evokes Fresh New Memories"

When I attempt to seriously criticize a new musical offering, as is my want from time to time — though I am by no means a serious critic — I usually put on the disc and let it play several times before I write. I want to hear and write simultaneously. I want to get it right.

Right now, I am listening to Brittni Paiva’s latest release, “Brittni,” her third CD. Each new disc offers a different perspective on her multi-talented musical character.

Though only 18 years of age, stylistically her music reflects a bygone time, a little Latin here, a little Euro there, and yet is performed with modern precision and feeling – and still not a note out of place.

There were times I thought I could hear Duane Allman, John Williams or George Benson. Brittni is as smooth as any session musician anwhere.
Her technique is flawless, almost eerily so. Her arraignments are tightly constructed, easy listening pieces that capture her Big Island roots and her respect and appreciation for all cultures, and further demonstrates her understanding of what it takes to pull off a serious, professional, commercially acceptable work.

Her emotion-laden approach to contemporary songs and classics alike suggests to her listeners the warm, teasing intimacy of a small jazz club, its smoky after-hours air heavy with romantic promise, but in a squeaky clean way.

By all standards, Ms. Paiva is a gifted artist and will be a major player in Hawaii music for decades to come. Her presence and potential also imply a great future beyond the islands, perhaps as one of two great modern young ukulele (and guitar) masters.

The first three pieces in “Brittni” set the tone for the rest of the album. Being a girlie man, I was moved to tears by her rendition of Johann Pachelbel’s “Canon in D Major,” a late 17th century baroque basso continuo popularized when used as the main theme in Robert Redford’s 1980 social drama “Ordinary People.”

“Canon in D Major” begins with a plaintive, almost sorrowful — yet somehow playful — melody that Brittni simply nails, hands-down, using the her ukulele finger picking to mimic pizzicado plucking of a violin string in a most impressive fashion.

After a few rounds, the tempo picks up and what occurs then is something else. I do not know what it is but I liked it. By the time the song concluded, my life was all sunshine and puppy dogs. I was happy.

There are 11 songs on “Brittni,” including several with guests such as legendary vocalist Melveen Leeds and bassits Nathan Aweau and Shawn Pimental. Some others on the album include violinist Hiroaki Tsukamoto, Dan Del Negro on keyboards and co-producer Wendell Ching on drums.

“Brittni” was produced by Brittni Paiva for Talmidim Productions. Engineered and mastered by Wendell Ching. Available now. Go to: for more information.

—By W. Knox Richardson
- Oahu Island News

"Young Ukulele Lady Brittni Paiva"

Heading to our island to play at the second annual Starbucks Maui ’Ukulele Festival on Sunday at the the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s A&B Amphitheater, Na Hoku Award-winning musician Brittni Paiva is looking forward to hanging out with peers and mentors including ukulele legend Herb Ohta Sr. and Raiatea Helm.

"It’s always fun to see everyone play," she says. "It’s always inspiring to see how music touches people’s lives."
We first heard about this multitalented, young Hilo-based musician when as a 15-year-old she released her debut CD, "Brittni x 3." She produced it herself and played all the ukulele, slack key guitar and bass guitar parts. This unique feat helped her win the 2005 Na Hoku Hanohano for Most Promising Artist of the Year.

And ukulele master Eddie Kamae recognized her prodigious gift.

"Brittni is different," he proclaimed. "You can see it in her face and the way she plays her music. It comes from her soul."

Now at 18, Paiva continues to chart new territory. Her most recent recording, "Brittni," showcases her instrumental dexterity and adventurous spirit on a handful of original compositions as well as novel interpretations of a famous baroque work, and Hawaiian, Latin rock, Hebrew and Hungarian gypsy songs.

The striking CD cover alerts us to changes in her life. We see her emerging from a shimmering pool of water surrounded by a glowing aura of white light, symbolizing her emergence as a young adult.

"It’s the breakthrough album where I’m getting out of childhood," she explains. "And it also symbolizes the mikveh in Judaism, where you’re baptized, you leave your old self behind."

Wishing "to take the ukulele to the next level and experiment with more music and show the diversity of the ukulele," she includes a surprising arrangement of Pachelbel’s "Canon." Previously recorded on ukulele by Daniel Ho, Paiva takes a unique route, opening traditionally and sedately and then vaulting into ska rhythm territory.

"I wanted to give my own twist, so I changed it up a bit to a ska-like beat," she says.

While Jake Shimabukuro is known for arranging Santana’s classic instrumental "Europa" for ukulele, Paiva set her sights on his hit "Samba Pa Ti."

"It was challenging to arrange for ukulele," she reports. "It was challenging to incorporate the lower notes. Sometimes he uses strings that are lower than what the ukulele has, but it’s fun because it challenges you to be better."

As to her original compositions, she includes the lovely instrumental "Gazing," which was initially inspired by a star-drenched Big Island night and fully formed after a trip to New York.

"I started writing it in January last year, then looking over New York City from the Empire State Building helped inspire the rest."

Some classic songs been composed by Hawaiian artists missing the islands and Paiva’s jaunty instrumental "Journey Home" could be a new favorite.

"We were flying back from California and I really missed Hawaii," she explains. "It’s a culture shock being on the Mainland. I was missing home and I sat down and wrote the song."

On her second CD, "Hear E," Paiva sang for the first time unveiling her angelic voice on the closing track. On "Brittni" she sings twice, dueting with her vocal coach Melveen Leed on a tribute to Queen Lili’uokalani, Keith Haugen’s "Pua Karauna," and closing the album with a traditional Hebrew song "Kudosh."

Reserved about singing, she notes: "Public speaking is one thing, but when it comes to public singing, that’s a thing I’m shy with. I’m working on it, though."

The final song, which she performs in a delicate, Enya-like style pays homage to her faith, singing in Hawaiian, Portuguese, Danish and Japanese.

"The languages are my ethnicity," she says. "It’s like a conclusion to the whole album where I’m now emerging from childhood and the languages symbolize me, whereas the Hebrew part of the song is my spiritual ethnicity."

It’s such a beautiful production that one wonders if this versatile artist has thought about crafting a collection of inspirational material along the lines of Enya’s popular multilayered work?

"I’ve thought about it," she responds. "The Enya style is really interesting how she arranges music."

And then there’s also a hip jazz influence showing up in her playing on tracks like "Just Once More," where she’s joined by Hapa’s bassist Nathan Aweau and drummer Wendell Ching. It’s territory she hopes to explore more.

"I really enjoy listening to jazz like the group Fourplay and Larry Carlton, the funk jazz," she enthuses. "I’m actually working on several funk jazz tunes."

She’s also been listening to classic R&B and, "taking some oldies and putting them to ukulele. Next year, I maybe doing two albums," she concludes.
- Maui Beat - Jon Woodhouse Editor

"All Grown Up"

All grown up

Friday, November 24, 2006 9:48 AM HST

New Brittni Paiva CD is a musical coming-out party for instrumentalist

by John Burnett
Tribune-Herald Staff Writer

Hard to believe, but Brittni Paiva is now 18 -- legally an adult. Hilo's resident ukulele and slack key guitar prodigy has just released her third album, "Brittni," on her own Talmidim Productions label. Graphic artist Christopher Cokeing's cover art on the CD is exquisite, featuring a damp-haired and bare-shouldered Paiva in a shimmering pool of water with a corona of white light surrounding her visage.

"The cover basically symbolizes the growth and maturity I've experienced since the last two CDs," Paiva said. "I'm emerging from the life-giving waters of my music and my life.

"I'm more confident about playing music now."

"Brittni," which is basically Paiva's coming-out party as a world-class instrumentalist, also marks the second time that the teen sensation has worked with engineer and co-producer Wendell Ching at Studio One in Honolulu. They have assembled an all-star cast of supporting musicians for the CD, including Ching on drums, Hapa's Nathan Aweau on guitar, bass and keyboards, Dan Del Negro of the Honolulu Jazz Quartet on keyboards, Jack Ofoia, a longtime member of Amy Hanaiali'i Gilliom's band on bass, island music maven Shawn Pimental on bass, Ryan Hiroaki Tsukamoto on violin and the legendary Melveen Leed, Paiva's vocal teacher. Paiva and Leed sing a ha'i (falsetto) duet on Keith Haugen's waltz "Pua Karauna." And while neither Leed nor Paiva are known for their ha'i, both acquitted themselves nicely on the song, a homage to Queen Lili'uokalani.

"It's an honor working with her," Paiva said matter-of-factly. "She works hard and she expects you to be prepared and work hard, as well."

No problem for a young musician who wowed the judges at the 2004 Hamakua Music Festival -- where she won the first-place scholarship -- both by her musical facility and by her admission that she practices between four and six hours daily.

Another Hawaiian cut is Helen Lindsey Parker's "Mauna Loa," which takes Paiva back to her roots of traditional slack key with ukulele instrumental.

Four of the 11 songs are original compositions, including the opening cut, "Riding Honoli'i," which features Pimental on bass.

"That one was inspired by riding over the Honoli'i Bridge," Paiva said. Even though it's, like, a short three- to five-second drive over the bridge, I saw a surfer get on his board, catch a wave for maybe two seconds, and fall off. That sort of inspired that track."

Her original "Journey Home" goes back to her original "Brittni x3" formula, with her on guitar, 'ukulele and bass -- this time with Ching on drums. The song sounds like it will become a contemporary island instrumental standard, in the vein of Keola and Kapono Beamer's "Kaliponi Slack Key" or Peter Moon's "Pandanus."Some savvy radio producer or programmer will likely use it as a music bed for surf reports.

Perhaps an even more accessible original is "Just Once More," an infectious, up-tempo jam featuring Aweau on guitar, bass and keyboards. With the right promotion and a little luck, it could put Paiva on the national smooth jazz charts.

Her covers are diverse, as well, including a slow-dance favorite of Baby Boomers, Carlos Santana's "Samba Pa Ti." Her rendition is faithful to the original, with organ accompaniment by Del Negro.

"I'm kind of surprised that 'Europa' (which has been recorded by Jake Shimabukuro) has been taken by ukulele players, but not 'Samba Pa Ti,'" Paiva said. "Since it's one of his biggest hits, I wanted to take this one and arrange it for ukulele. I think it came out pretty nice."

Paiva also displays a musical sophistication well beyond her years with Cole Porter's "Begin the Beguine."

"My grandfather wanted me to put it on my first album, but I never really learned the whole thing," she explained. "When I finally got around to learning it for my second album, I had so many tunes already that I decided to hold it for this one."

She also took on the Baroque period's ultimate one-hit wonder, Johann Pachelbel's "Canon in D."

"I guess I played it by mistake," Paiva said. "I kind of figured it out by listening to a (string) quartet on the Internet. I figured the slow part out. Then I heard a heavy metal version on YouTube and in my mind, mixed that with the slow part and I came up with a ska version for the second half of the song. I thought that was an interesting experiment."

The familiarity of the piece itself, plus the shuffling ska rhythm of the second movement could make Paiva's "Canon" a winner on local radio.

"Csardas," a modern version of a Hungarian folk dance tune, starts out slowly, but builds to a frenzy of staccato picking that rivals Shimabukuro for both speed and accuracy.

The final cut, "Kadosh," is a traditional Hebrew song, where she sings in an ethereal, Enya-like style over a haunting minor-key tune and then voices a benediction in four different languages.

"It's kind of like a blessing for my entire album," she said. "I sing in Hebrew first, and what I'm singing is 'Holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty.' Towards the end of the song, I go into my own nationalities. I sing that exact same phrase in my own nationalities, which are Hawaiian, Portuguese, Danish and Japanese."

Paiva continues to learn her craft, currently taking a correspondence course in music theory from Berklee School of Music and has also become a sought-after speaker for school and community groups, having spoken Wednesday to the Hilo Rotary Club.

"My horizons have really broadened," she concluded. "A lot of doors has opened and I'm really thankful for that. I'm sure now that this is what I really want to do. I want to play music and bless other people with it."

On the Internet:

John Burnett can be reached at
- Hawaii Tribune Herald


Brittni x 3
Four Strings: The Fire Within



At 21 years of age, Brittni Paiva (pi –VAH) is the preeminent female `ukulele player from Hawaii. Affectionately referred to as the `ukulele darling, Brittni is a native of Hilo, on the Big Island. She is a multi-award winning, multi-instrumentalist with a prodigious gift who is wholeheartedly embraced by a global audience.

When she was just 15 years old, Brittni self-produced an award-winning debut recording. Titled, Brittni x 3, her first outing won the prestigious Na Hoku Hanohano Award from the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts for Most Promising Artist of the Year in 2005. Everything you hear on this album is Brittni. The title of the 14-track CD emphasizes her deft lyrical abilities on the `ukulele, slack key guitar, and the bass.

Within the next year she produced and released Hear. It’s no surprise her sophomore release won `Ukulele Album of the Year in the Hawaii Music Awards, otherwise known as Hawaii’s People’s Choice Awards in 2006. This CD was also nominated for the Na Hoku Hanohano Award for Best Instrumental Album of the Year and Favorite Entertainer of the Year. The 12-track recording features `ukulele and slack key guitar embracing jazz, Hawaiian and Peruvian repertoire.

Simply titled, Brittni, her third self-produced album in as many years won `Ukulele Album of the Year in the Hawaii Music Awards in 2007 and was nominated for two
Na Hoku Hanohano Awards. This CD was symbolic as a coming of age CD for an 18-year old who was seemingly unstoppable performing repertoire from around the world and crossing boundaries over many musical eras on a 4-string instrument.

Her fourth CD, Four Strings: The Fire Within, shares co-production credits with Charles Michael Brotman, Hawaii’s first Grammy Award-winning recipient. Acclaimed Latin guitarist, Johannes Linstead from Toronto is the featured guitarist on one cut, “Hour of the Lamps.” The timeless and universally popular “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” which reclaimed worldwide popularity by the late Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, is featured, but the lyrical instrumentation is unmistakably Brittni. Carlos Santana’s “Europa” is included alongside a coterie of cover tunes and originals intended to ignite a world audience with Brittni’s fiery passion.

Measured by over one million YouTube hits and over 65,000 Myspace views the world is listening and tuning in to hear Brittni’s influence on world music, classical favorites, and contemporary cover songs. Wherever she appears, Brittni’s audience raves about her performance as the petite 21-year old woman transforms into a world-class player on stage.

Fans from Houston, Texas traveled to California to see her perform and left this message in her extensive online guest book. “We think Brittni is one of the most talented musicians in the world, and we are looking forward to many more albums from this extremely talented young lady.” Another fan wrote, “ [I] loved your rendition of “Europa” [which] brought tears to my eyes. Wonderfully played. I envy you for playing with such feeling and technique.” And another following a different performance said, “I never knew the `ukulele could be played the way Brittni plays it. It is a thrill to hear classical music rendered so well.”

To say that Brittni has lived a blessed and unique life is an understatement. She grew up the older of two siblings within a rich heritage of cultural backgrounds. Her lineage includes Portuguese, Danish, Japanese, and Hawaiian. Brittni 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, and allowed her to develop into her true self. Home schooling allows students to excel in a range of subjects children naturally gravitate toward without the distraction of unavoidable negative behavior and peer pressures in tightly-structured, curriculum-based programs. Brittni’s mother says, if not for the `ukulele, Brittni may well have become a doctor as she could easily breeze through medical journals or factual books on any subject. Her curiosity is an insatiable gift.

Foremost, home schooling allowed Brittni to devote many hours of her day practicing music. Devoting as much as four to six hours each day to practice appears to be the foundation of Brittni’s success. Practice was a pleasurable exploration specifically on the `ukulele which she took with her nearly everywhere. Her mother looks back on that time saying there were days she was forced to redirect Brittni’s attention to do other things, like finishing her school work, completing daily chores, even going outdoors to play. Though very unassuming, Brittni is determined in what she is drawn to achieve with fearless abandon. With a busy schedule as a composer, performing and recording artist, Brittni is pursuing an online Master’s Certificate Program through the esteemed Berklee College of Music.

She was four years old when she began her musical career studying classical pi