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A new TV entertainment series about to begin production

PRESS RELEASE For immediate release


A new TV entertainment series about to begin production.

The Modern Māori Quartet showcases the talents of well known musicians as well as members of the public as they share their favourite party songs in the 10 part half-hour entertainment series MY PARTY SONG.

Production is about to commence on My Party Song; a bi-lingual musical homage to the songs we love to sing when we kick back, put on a kai, maybe have a drink, and relax with a bunch of mates and whānau.

To go to any ‘party’ is to know that along with the convivial hospitality, there will be a soundtrack. Someone (or everyone!) will be in charge of those sounds.

The Māori world has also long been famous for its ‘sing-along’ or ‘guitar parties’.

Early in the 20th century, Māori co-opted popular western music and added Māori language lyrics. The resulting songs would be sung with gusto at marae and social gatherings. Many of these waiata were action songs and gained nationwide appreciation with the growth of kapa haka and sound recording technology.

After World War Two when our people moved to the city, they brought these songs with them and wrote even more.

Many of the waiata of the last century have become classics and form the core of a large body of sing-along party songs that are still often sung: Pōkarekare Ana, Tūtira Mai Ngā Iwi, Hoki Mai, Pō Atarau, Uia Mai Koia, E Pari Rā, Karu Karu, E Te Hokowhitu A Tū, Ko Au, Ka Tangi Te Tītī and many more.

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In English another huge selection of popular songs are widely known and cause voices to soar: Ten Guitars, Sad Movies, Tears On My Pillow, The Green Green Grass Of Home and Tui Teka’s sentimental hit Mum. In more modern times, the rapid growth of haka super groups like Waihīrere, Te Waka Huia and The Pātea Māori Club have contributed a new generation of party songs with original music and lyrics that often reflect cultural and political concerns of the moment: Mā Te Wā, E Ngā Tini Mate, Kōtiro Māori, Wahine Toa, Te Īnoi A Te Ariki, Mīhini Ātea, and Poi E among others.

With MY PARTY SONG we aim to present superb musical interpretations of irresistible songs that are beloved by the Māori world. Each episode will contain music that comes from different party eras.

The Modern Māori Quartet are the perfect group to present our series. Along with their own inimitable performances they will interview and support a wide range of solo and group guest artists. They have many musical friends who will jump at the chance to perform with them in the show, including Stan Walker, Troy Kingi, Ria Hall, Jan Hellriegel and a host of others.

Each song will be introduced with an explanation of its origins and composition followed by a classy performance. Along with some well known musicians there will be the not so well known. All of them will interpret their favourite Māori song in a personal way, and in an intimate musical setting.

The Presenters

The Modern Māori Quartet use the ‘showband’ styles and patter to great effect and are in high demand as artists New Zealand, Australia and further afield. Not only can they perform themselves, but they will be excellent musical accompanists or backing vocalists for other singers.

“Suit us up in our number ones, comb our hair, shine our shoes, hand us a guitar or two and we’ll have you melting like golden syrup on a piece of fresh hot fried bread” Maaka Pōhatu (Ngāi Tāmanuhiri, Ngāti Apa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa) A graduate of Toi Whakaari, Maaka has performed in numerous productions such as the critically acclaimed Strange Resting Places, and The Māori Troilus and Cressida staged at the prestigious Globe Theatre. He made his film debut in the feature Two Little Boys. Maaka is also a professional musician.

James Tito

(Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāpuhi)

James trained at UCOL (Advanced Certificate in Performing Arts) and Toi Whakaari.

He has acted in theatre productions including: Awhi Tapu, Tū, The Māori Troilus and Cressida and Sydney Bridge Upside Down. And on television: Awhi Tapu, The Almighty Johnsons and The Kick. He was nominated as Most Promising Male Newcomer at the 2011 Chapman Tripp Awards. Because of all the talented people he has worked with, James established the Modern Māori Quartet to revive the showband kaupapa.

Matariki Whatarau

(Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Whanaunga) A graduate of Toi Whakaari; Matariki has appeared in various theatre productions including Awhi Tapu, Tū and Paper Sky. His screen credits include The Almighty Johnsons, Go Girls, The Pā Boys and The Dead Lands. And on television; Find Me a Māori Bride and My Reggae Sing. Matariki has always loved playing music, singing and acting, and to be in the Modern Māori Quartet is a dream job.

Francis Kora

(Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Pūkeko)

Francis is a new member to the Modern Māori Quartet. He is also a graduate of Toi Whakaari. For the last decade, Francis has been a musician with (and now the frontman of) iconic NZ band Kora. He had his debut film role in The Pā Boys and was a presenter on Māori Television’s Code. Francis has a passion for telling Aotearoa’s stories through film and theatre.

Produced by Blue Bach Productions

Director: Tainui Stephens Producer: Libby Hakaraia

© Scoop Media

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