Accompanied by a nylon string acoustic guitar, cajon, violin, and a Hawaiian dancer, Taimane fuses Island and Latin flavors with her 5-string ukulele and talented band in a recent NPR Tiny Desk concert. Her demeanor follows the sound of her playing, flying from intense and mysterious to smiling and warm at the drop of a lei.

In this Tiny Desk performance, Taimane reminds us that not only is she a phenomenal player, she’s a deep and soulful songwriter. She starts with a medley that includes Carmen, and segues into an original composition inspired by a recent trip to Cuba.

On her latest album, Elemental, she has written a song for each element: earth, wind, fire, water, and ether. Here she plays with fire—“Some fuego for you,” she says. 


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She finishes up with a song called “Maluhia,” which means “peace,” says Taimane. For this one, she puts down the uke, and her voice is accompanied by solo guitar and vocal harmony. The result is a splendidly tranquil prayer-like song that’s short, to eat point, and quite relaxing. It’s just what we need right now.

Musicians include: Ramiro Marziani, guitar; Melissa Baethoven, violin, vocals; Jonathan Heraux, cajon.