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Maori Musician Joins Headline Act @ Athens Concert


Maori Musician Joins Headline Act At Athens Concert

Maori language recording star Whirimako Black will perform with internationally acclaimed world music act 1 GIANT LEAP at a pre-Olympic Games concert in Athens later this month (June).

The Tui Award-winning singer-songwriter has accepted an invitation to join Babaa Maal and Maxi Jazz as feature vocalists at the headline performance on June 21 while also recording new material for a second album by 1 GIANT LEAP.

The Auckland-based musician released her third album of contemporary Maori music, 'Tangihaku', on Ngati Whatua-owned label Mai Music at the end of last month (May).

Mai Music general manager Victor Stent says the massive concert is the climax of a three-day outdoor music festival being staged in and around the city of Athens to kick off the celebrations leading up to the start of the Olympics in August.

Whirimako featured on two tracks on the debut 1 GIANT LEAP album which went on to become a runaway best-seller on the world music scene.

One of the songs she co-wrote, 'Ta Moko', was later used in the hit movie Bulletproof Monk and the soundtrack album while footage shot during the world-wide musical recording project was released on DVD and shown on TVNZ.

Victor Stent says the brains behind the 1 GIANT LEAP project, Jamie Catto and Duncan Bridgman, will work with Whirimako while she in Athens on the second album and film – this time backed by Simon Fuller of Spice Girls and Idol fame.

He says there is even talk of a third album to eventually complete the concept, perhaps supported by a world tour.

"With a licensing deal just agreed for one of Whirimako's tracks to appear on a forthcoming compilation album from top US world music label, Putumayo Records, and her much-anticipated third album just released in New Zealand, the 1 GIANT LEAP offer represents a huge opportunity to broaden her market well beyond this country.

"It will firmly establish Whirimako as one of our most extraordinary and exciting musical exports."

'Tangihaku' presents the Auckland-based musician in an intimate recording with acoustic guitarist Joel Haines – younger brother of Kiwi jazz star Nathan Haines – and her long-time collaborator, Justin Kereama, on taonga puoro (traditional instruments). The album is based on a collection of poems written by her mother, Anituatua Black, and sister, Rangitunoa Black, set to music composed by Whirimako and her sister, and subsequently arranged for these sessions by Joel Haines. Of Ngai Tuhoe, Ngati Tuwharetoa, Ngati Ranginui, Kahungunu, Te Whakatohea, Te Whanau-a-Apanui, Te Arawa, and Ngati Awa descent, Whirimako won Best Maori Language Album at the 2001 NZ Music Awards for her debut album, 'Hinepukohurangi: Shrouded in the Mist'.

'Tangihaku' is released by Mai Music – part of the Mai Media stable of companies – and is distributed by Out There Distribution.

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