Samoan performs at Trump’s inauguration
A Samoan musician played with his band during the United States President-elect Donald Trump is inaugurated this morning.
Al van der Beekís American classical-pop crossover group The Piano Guys is one of the lesser-known groups performing at the inauguration.
Al van der Beek was born in Tokoroa, New Zealand to a Dutch father and a Samoan mother ómaking him one of the first DutchSamoans in existence.
Speaking to Newstalk ZB's Rachel Smalley, Van der Beek said he's not sure how they came to be asked.
"We just feel really honoured for the opportunity, and to represent America and to play for Americans," he said.
He said the group expected backlash from their fans - and that's what they got.
"We're not politicians, we're musicians and entertainers and our hope this week is that we perform for America, just to spread that hope and joy through our music.
"Hopefully we can bring people together," he added.
According to his profile, Van Der Beekís family moved to Salt Lake City, Utah when he was about six years old.
His parents instilled a love and a passion for music in all of their children from a very young age, and despite his yearning desire to play the saxophone (because he thought it looked really cool), his parents eventually convinced him to play the violin.
Singing in four part harmony and playing musical instruments came naturally to him, his four sisters and two brothers.
In their home they constantly sang and performed together and they each played instruments ó Everything from the piano, to the flute, trumpet to the violin. As a result, he taught himself to play multiple instruments by ear ó Guitar, drums & piano, just to name a few.
Al continued to practice his violin and work on his vocal skills by actively participating in orchestra and concert choir throughout his intermediate school years.
During high school Al formed a music group with three of his best friends.
They soon found themselves opening up for many well known groups such as Vanilla Ice, Boyz II Men, L.L. Cool J and Color Me Badd. As their local fame increased he was introduced to the recording studio environment for the very first time.
He was instantly intrigued by this newly discovered world of music production and it was a perfect conduit for him to get out all those songs and melodies that had been swimming in his head for years and record them to tape (CDs werenít invented yet).
However, he always left the studio feeling slightly disappointed because the music that he heard in his head never sounded quite the same once it was out and on tape.
He decided to take matters into his own hands and started buying recording equipment so he could teach himself the tricks-of-the-trade and record his own original music óthus, the beginning of his love for songwriting and producing was born.
Al opened his own home recording studio in 2004 and continued to refine his skills by producing and recording for many local bands and artists. He went full-time with The Piano Guys in May of 2011 and plays the roles of music producer, songwriter, sound engineer, vocalist, prankster and fashion police.