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Sol3 Mio - Gig Review: Christmas in the Vines @ Villa Maria Winery 21/12/14

23 Dec 2014 // A review by Andrew Smit

It’s safe to say a good percentage of the 7000 odd crowd that had gathered to see Sol3 Mio were not opera buffs but were more mainstream “converts” who had seen and heard a lot of the positive publicity on NZ television and were curious and excited at the prospect of checking them out live. Would the experience meet the heightened expectations? First on stage was Pene Pati, followed by his cousin Moses Mackay and then Pene’s brother Amitai Pati, starting with their signature tune Sole Mio, singularly their voices are so beautiful, very powerful yet so smooth and calming, but when their voices combine in perfect harmony it was an instantaneous delight that you could never get sick of experiencing live. The rapport and bond these three have formed is obvious, and the almost constant cheeky boyish antics were so joyous and infectious, and of course very entertaining, incredibly all that comic behaviour transpired while they were nailing the most awesome harmonies and melodies the music world has ever produced. The power of their harmonies could be intensified by them just moving their heads in unison, they had us all under their spell and we were content we had done well to make the trip to their backyard in Mangere to spend some time with them. And so after just two more songs we were informed that we are now going to hear from some special guests the initial feelings were, well disappointment, we now only wanted our Samoan brothers, but that was soon extinguished when we were treated to two of the most exquisite operatic voices you could imagine, Isabella Moore and Amina Edris are truly world class talents and their rendition of Lakme's Flower Duet (better known as the British Airways Theme) was spine tingling. Both of these resplendent ladies are the partners of Pene and Amitai, could this get any more romantic?  Before we could ponder their relationships any further we were back to the Sol3 Mio experience with two stirring songs, Amazing Grace and You’ll Never Walk Alone. We now had a half hour intermission which most spent in the queues for the portaloos. With everyone now eagerly awaiting the next fix.

The second coming was filled with delightful Christmas Carols, like Silent Night, Home for Christmas, Little Drummer Boy and White Christmas, the evening was getting dark and the stage lights were coming to great effect, the crowd were encouraged to wave their newly acquired glow sticks which looked wondrous from every angle. Almost every song had a little story which the boys lovingly shared with good humour and there was also many heartfelt song dedications from their Manager to their Mum. We were treated to That’s Amore with the guys on guitars and double bass, which they played dutifully while getting us all to sing along, with many well-placed comical lyric changes and additions about drinking too much wine (and how it will get you drunk)! We were shown how useful and practical a Sol3 Mio tea towel could be with Pene making good use of one to wipe his face while he re-counted that he is a shy boy and was now much happier that it was dark and he couldn’t see all our faces, but we soon were treated to the real reason for his nervous demeanour.

Earlier Pene and his partner Amina Edris performed a love duet together so when Pene mentioned that he wanted to sing a German aria to her, we didn’t at first suspect anything more was going on, but hints of the potential started to surface when the screens began to show pictures of the couple over the years from around the world, including some wonderful shots at Disneyland. The audience were getting audibly excited specially when Pene started to talk about their last three years together, you could hear 7000 people gasp with anticipation when he introduced to the stage their respective parents and families to the stage, it was almost pandemonium when he proceed to get down on one knee and say “you are my heart's delight, will you marry me?” Amina took a step back, composed herself and then accepted the proposal, which was understandably greeted with unanimous applause and cheering, with many tears shed from the now completely adoring audience. How could you possibly follow that up? Well in true Sol3 Mio style the boys managed that quite well by performing a brilliant version of Beauty and the Beast to a now cuddling couple.

The whole evening was special indeed, the music was outstanding with a highlight being Claire Caldwell on the grand piano and how well she kept in perfect sync with the three boys wandering crooning. Earlier we were entertained by the very likeable Benny Tipene, who performed his charming original songs with great style, his smooth voice and superb folk guitar playing was a perfect tonic for the relaxed crowd as they sampled their cheese platters with a bottle of Villa Maria’s finest grape juice.

It was a very enchanted evening and we all felt proud of our local boys, they have worked hard and chased their dreams, and deserve every success which they are achieving around the world. They are endowed with prodigious talent that produces exhilarating music, that works so well on a big stage. They are young so there should be many more chances to experience the exceptional Sol3 Mio live, so when you get the chance I thoroughly recommend you do so.


About Sol3 Mio

Made up of two tenor brothers, Pene and Amitai Pati from Mangere, and their North Shore baritone cousin Moses Mackay, SOL3 MIO is the combination of three powerful and moving operatic voices, with more than a dash of uncontainable Samoan humour. By their own definition they are first and foremost ‘classical singers bridging the gap with contemporary’ , but the unique way in which they do it has already shown the potential to cut through the critical cognoscenti, and appeal to audiences who wouldn’t normally be found anywhere near an aria. Their onstage brotherly bonhomie, off the cuff banter and impeccable comedic timing is no act, simply an extension of their natural selves, and the culmination of a lifetime’s worth of singing, performing and entertaining.

In some respects their backgrounds are typical – families moving over from Samoa to seek a better life in New Zealand and having to make sacrifices in the process, as well as finding value in music, choirs, hard work and an ability to see the absurdity in life. However, what they have made of these solid, but modest, beginnings is anything but average. Amongst their numerous awards and accolades Pene was the 2010 NZ Performer Of The Year, Amitai won the 2012 Lexus Song Quest and Moses was recognized as an Emerging Artist by the Dame Malvina Major Foundation last year. Though all three have studied for Bachelor Of Music graduates from the University of Auckland, the foundations of the stagecraft that they have added to exceptional raw talent, also comes from a crammed musical CV that spans everything from weekly childhood performances in rest homes, to backing George Benson. It was when Moses and Pene sang in the choir behind Andrea Bocelli in 2008, that their eyes and ears were fully opened to the possibilities of opera, setting them on a course that would lead to the formation of SOL3 MIO, three years later.

Performing together as a trio at Pene’s farewell, after he had been selected to attend the prestigious Wales International Academy Of Voice, an audience member piped up and suggested they should form a group – laughed off at the time, the idea took hold. Within a year, all three had been individually chosen to go to Wales for tuition under the highly esteemed Dennis O’Neill – an incredible opportunity but also one with a combined cost of over $100,000. Rolling their sleeves up, they launched SOL3 MIO with a series of fundraisers, that began with high stress in a half filled hall in Massey High School, and concluded with a triumphant show at a sold out Auckland Town Hall in October 2012 – funds sorted. Now with a self-titled album of their work, beginning naturally with the eponymous Neapolitan song, and ending with a rousing We Are Samoa, the stage is set for the next chapter in what is already, an extraordinary story.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Sol3 Mio


On Another Note
Year: 2015
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Sol3 Mio
Year: 2013
Type: Album

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