What do you get when you sprinkle a bit of Sol3 Mio into the Howard Morrison Quartet?
The answer may lie in the sweet sound of The Shades, an ensemble of Tongan and Samoan voices.
Samson Setu, Ipu Laga’aia, Taka Vuni and Manase Latu want to use their classical training to create a unique sound that has a little something for everyone.
With a natural feel for humour and love for laughter, the Aucklanders said coming together in 2015 was natural. Each have grown up in humble Pacific homes where music played big roles in their lives.
"We found a passion for singing in our churches. We all went to different churches, but what brings our people together is music and food," Vuni told Seven Sharp.
Setu said Elvis was a staple in his household, "so he’s our go-to artist".
Island music, Māori tunes and European folk songs, specifically Croatian music, also featured in The Shades’ repertoire, he said.
Latu and Setu are currently based in New York at the prestigious Metropolitan Opera House. But, because of the pandemic, there weren't any performances.
The pair’s return home has allowed The Shades to kickstart their first album Gratitude. The quartet is also embarking on their first tour across Aotearoa.
"To be able to come home from overseas and to perform in front of our families and friends again, to perform with the boys, and make music again is another thing to be grateful for," Setu said.