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Modern Māori Quartet Takes Māori Showband to Asia

Modern Māori Quartet Takes Māori Showband Entertainment to Asia

* Invited to Perform at Sharq Taronalari World Music Festival in Samarkand, Uzbekistan
* Also performing in Singapore and Malaysia

Suave crooners Modern Māori Quartet are taking Aotearoa music to Asia in August on a concert tour to Singapore, Malaysia and Uzbekistan.

The quartet who offer up a fresh take on the classic Māori showbands have been invited to perform at the 10th Sharq Taronalari World Music Festival in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

“We reckon we might be the first Māori showband to perform in central Asia,” says founding member Maaka Pohatu who admits that he and the rest of the quartet had to resort to Google to find out where they were heading.

“We had no idea where Uzbekistan was and we’re pretty excited to be going. It’s not only a wonderful opportunity to showcase our uniquely charming and witty brand of Māori entertainment to new and diverse foreign audiences but it will serve as an amazing cultural exchange and hopefully lead to other opportunities to tour throughout Asia and even beyond.”

After being offered the invitation to the Sharq Taronalari Festival, Modern Māori Quartet managers Yee Yang ‘Square’ Lee & Sums Selvarajan set about looking at other concert options and the tour will also include performances at PJ Live Arts in Malaysia and Sing Jazz Club in Singapore.

“This is an opportunity to introduce Modern Māori Quartet’s take on Māori showband entertainment to the South East Asian region, where past showbands have had success,” Yee Yang said.

The quartet is busy organising the details for the tour, but unfortunately one member won’t be making the trip – prior commitments with Kora mean Francis Kora will be replaced by actor/singer Jamie McCaskill for the tour.

Meanwhile Wellingtonians can catch the Modern Māori Quartet performing at the Hannah Playhouse this week from 18-20 June as part of the Ahi Kaa Festival for Matariki.

While the World Music Festival is making a sizable contribution to touring costs and suitable grant applications have been made, the Modern Māori Quartet will be launching a Boosted crowd-funding campaign in July to help raise additional funds for the performances in Singapore and Malaysia, including flights, freight, accommodation, ground costs and living costs.

“Don’t miss catching us before we head off,” Maaka says, adding that the quartet is also looking forward to their first overseas performance at the Sydney Matariki Charity Ball on Friday 10 July. “We hope this is just the start of our international touring.”

The Modern Māori Quartet performs at Hannah Playhouse, Wellington from 18-20 June as part of Ahi Kaa Festival in the Wellington Matariki Festival. Tickets are available through 0800 BUY TIX (289 849).


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