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Maori Musician Woos International Audiences


Maori Musician Woos International Audiences

Maori language recording star Whirimako Black has been invited to perform on BBC radio in the United Kingdom in early September after wooing audiences at a pre-Olympic Games concert in Athens.

The Tui Award-winning singer-songwriter performed with internationally acclaimed world music act 1 Giant Leap at the European Music Day festival on June 21 as well as spending more than 10 hours the following day recording two new songs in Maori for the band's second album.

Whirimako - who released her third album of contemporary Maori music, 'Tangihaku', locally with Mai Music at the end of May - 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.

Mai Music general manager Victor Stent says the organisers of the Athens concert were so impressed with Whirimako that they offered her a special solo spot on the bill of the main concert.

One of her new songs will now be released on a UK compilation and she's been invited to the UK for media interviews and the live performance on BBC radio. Victor says she's already received invitations from musicians from Greece and Ghana to collaborate on future projects.

"In less than 48 hours, Whirimako travelled from local artist to world music star," Victor says. "The compliments from those who heard her new album came from singers and musicians of every nationality, proving the power of great original music to cross all barriers and languages.

"This has also been a triumph for te reo and tikanga Maori - Whirimako's extraordinary ability to communicate her values and the beauty of her language in both the way she acquitted herself and in her moving vocal performance has left an indelible impression on the people of Athens."

Victor says the principals of 1 Giant Leap - Jamie Catto and Duncan Bridgman - have pledged their support to bring Whirmako's new album 'Tangihaku' to the world. They will soon sell it from their own personal Spacious Music website while they're already letting their fans know of its existence via the internet.

'Tangihaku' presents the Auckland-based musician in an intimate recording with young acoustic guitarist Joel 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 owned by Ngati Whatua - and is distributed in New Zealand by Out There Distribution.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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