WORLD MUSIC MAKEOVER FOR REO MAORI VOCALIST

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Maori language songs undergo a world music makeover in a radical switch in genre for Auckland singer-songwriter Ngatapa Black.

Blacks 10-track release, I Muri Ahiahi, fuses traditional and contemporary Maori melodies and laments with rock, blues, hip hop, jazz and funk as well as Middle Eastern and South American influences.

She will launch her new work at the Auckland Arts Festival with a performance at New Zealands premier indigenous music expo, Sounds Aotearoa, at the Aotea Centre tomorrow (2.20 pm to 2.40 pm, Sunday 10 March 2013).

Funded by the Maori broadcasting funding agency, Te Mangai Paho, I Muri Ahiahi is her first album entirely in the M?ori language as well as her first cross-cultural collaboration.

Israeli-born Arli Liberman an unconventional and versatile world rock stalwart has produced and arranged Blacks new-look collection of tunes as well as playing the lead guitar on all 10 songs. An internationally acclaimed artist, Liberman has worked with musicians worldwide on various projects ranging from cross-over world music to experimental avant-garde jazz.

Our challenge was to take Ngatapas distinctive voice and melodies complete with the fascinating Maori language and translate it into different musical genres and styles, he explains.

Some of the unusual combinations on this album plus her definitive voice make up a unique collection of songs that can appeal to a wide range of people from all over the world.”

A fluent speaker of Maori, Black (T?hoe, T?wharetoa, Te Whanau-a-Apanui) is a film and television producer who has been composing, recording and performing music for more than a decade. She co-produced a musical tribute to the life and work of Dr Hirini Melbourne, He Rangi Paihuarere, which won Best Maori Traditional Album (Te Reo Maori) at the 2012 Waiata M?ori Music Awards.

A 2011 bilingual release, Black Light, was a finalist for Best Maori Album at the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards while the albums M?ori language single, He Maimai Aroha, was also a finalist in the contemporary Maori music category of the APRA Silver Scroll Awards.

Known for her soul, RnB and reggae renditions, the 35-year-old decided to pursue a new musical direction in order to appeal to a wider audience. Black worked with Liberman to produce I Muri Ahiahi under her own music label and production company based in Onehunga, Black Media Limited, while the 10 tunes were recorded, mixed and mastered by Olly Harmer at The Lab Recording Studio.

I wanted to try other genres of music and see how I could bring together the reo Maori lyrics with the Brazilian sounds of samba or Middle Eastern influences alongside our traditional taonga puoro instrument. Ive never been one to follow suit so I hope that people can appreciate the exceptional musicianship on this album.

Black paid tribute to broadcaster Julian Wilcox who wrote many of the songs on I Muri Ahiahi. She adds: Its also a first for me to write tracks entirely in te reo Maori and its pretty nerve-racking when I have to follow in the footsteps of my grandmother, Anituatua Black, and mother, Whirimako Black.

I Muri Ahiahi is distributed by Ode Records www.oderecords.co.nz and available in stores and online at Black Media www.blackmedia.co.nz and Amplifier www.amplifier.co.nz.

TRACKLIST

Kaore Te Mamae written by Julian Wilcox

Julian Wilcox (male vocals); Ngatapa Black (vocals); Arli Liberman (guitar); Stephen Thomas (drums); Karika Junior Turua (bass); Kiri Maree Kainamu-Wheeler (keys); Chris O’Connore (percussion); Jerome Kavanagh (taonga puoro)

Loosely translated as no more pain, K?ore Te Mamae is about being in love with someone who doesnt love you back – so tears are her only company, day and night. Shes left with a broken heart never to love the same way again.

Musically, its not your typical sad love song it has elements of rock and Arlis Middle Eastern influences while we use the taonga puoro to tell the story of sorrow.

I Muri Ahiahi written by Julian Wilcox
Ngatapa Black (vocals); Arli Liberman (guitar); Stephen Thomas (drums); Karika Junior Turua (bass); Kiri Maree Kainamu-Wheeler (keys); Chris O’Connore (percussion)

This is a love song and also a song of mourning or lament. It was originally composed by a kuia (female elder) from the far North tribe of Ngapuhi as a lament to a tohunga (high priest).

Her expression of grief becomes the basis of a love song her longing and loneliness during the twilight hour when she is alone in her bed hoping she will one day be with him again.

He Maimai Aroha written by Julian Wilcox

Ngatapa Black (vocals); Arli Liberman (guitar); Stephen Thomas (drums); Karika Junior Turua (bass); Kiri Maree Kainamu-Wheeler (keys); Chris O’Connore (percussion); Finn Scholes (trumpet/sax)

This song is actually a farewell to the dead not having the words to fully express the pain of losing someone dear to you, not being able to contain the tears that fall for that person. I was nervous about our treatment of this song.

Again, its not your typical sad Maori lament. In fact, weve turned it into a samba to express the different ways in which we mourn. Although it is a life lost, it is also a celebration of life lived.

Huraina Tou Maiatanga written by Ngatapa Black
Ngatapa Black (vocals); Arli Liberman (guitar); Stephen Thomas (drums); Ben Turua (double bass); Kiri Maree Kainamu-Wheeler (keys); Finn Scholes (trumpet/sax)

This is a message to young people dont let anyone discourage you from your dreams, dont be led astray by the temptations of the world but let those ambitions soar.

From a musical perspective, I wanted to try jazz. The band we so damn good, I freaked myself out because I wanted to give the genre the respect it deserves while still keeping my style of singing intact.

Taku Moe written by Reti Wharekura
Ngatapa Black (vocals); Arli Liberman (guitar); Stephen Thomas (drums); Karika Junior Turua (bass); Kiri Maree Kainamu-Wheeler (keys)

This is a well-known song from my rohe (region) written by Reti Wharekura about a person who had an accident that nearly killed him. These are his thoughts, his reluctance to come back to the living because of the pain. All he wants is for it to end and for his spirit to go back to the spirit world.

We wanted to take it away from how it is normally sung your typical slow Maori guitar song but still keep true to the melody so we decided to give it more of a blues and gospel sound.

Kakapa Nei written by Ngatapa Black
Ngatapa Black (vocals); Arli Liberman (guitar); Stephen Thomas (drums); Karika Junior Turua (bass); Kiri Maree Kainamu-Wheeler (keys); Chris O’Connore (percussion)

This song is about having one of those days when youre distracted by love! Its a longing that dominates your thoughts and a lust that totally consumes your dreams and imagination.

Te Ngakau Mamae written by Julian Wilcox

Ngatapa Black (vocals); Julian Wilcox (male vocals); Arli Liberman (guitar); Stephen Thomas (drums); Karika Junior Turua (bass); Kiri Maree Kainamu-Wheeler (keys)

This song is about the anguish of a broken heart! And of course we thought blues would be the perfect style for these lyrics.

Tamaiti Pakupaku written by Ngatapa Black Ngatapa Black (vocals); Arli Liberman (guitar); Stephen Thomas (drums); Karika Junior Turua (bass); Kiri Maree Kainamu-Wheeler (keys)

This song is a lullaby from a mother to her child who has crossed over to the other side, to a child who has been abused: leave this place, leave behind the pain and suffering youve endured, leave it here to the living.

Let me carry that pain for you, go to the other side and clothe yourself with a cloak of love and warmth that wasnt here for you.

The song is also for those women who, for whatever reason, have made the choice to have an abortion as well as those women who have had a miscarriage or stillborn child.

Shes saying that this time is not the right time for you to here on earth, come back when that time is right and she will be waiting for you. For now, farewell my child.

Te Wairua written by Anituatua Black
Ngatapa Black (vocals); Arli Liberman (guitar); Stephen Thomas (drums); Karika Junior Turua (bass); Kiri Maree Kainamu-Wheeler (keys); Jerome Kavanagh (taonga puoro)
My grandmother, Anituatua Black, wrote this song about the natural disasters that are happening around the world. Its a challenge to us all to take heed of these messages and warnings; it is a challenge to indigenous cultures throughout the world who share a common belief that we are the land and the land is us to come together and heal the land.

Hao Nui written by Ngatapa Black
Ngatapa Black (vocals); Arli Liberman (arrangement); Jerome Kavanagh (taonga puoro)

Too often we get caught up in the swift currents of ambition, so busy focusing on the future and the possibilities it brings. We go so fast that we miss the most important things in life which are the little things. Like just stopping to take a deep breath and enjoy where you are at this very moment. Live in the here and now!”

All songs produced and arranged by Arli Liberman

Website: www.missblack.org

Record Label: Black Media – www.blackmedia.co.nz

Distribution: Ode Records – www.oderecords.co.nz

Sales: Marbecks – www.marbecks.co.nz

Also JB HiFi; The Warehouse Online Sales: Amplifier – www.amplifier.co.nz

Also ITunes

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ngatapablack?ref=hl

My Space: www.myspace.com/595333480

ENDS

For more information including interviews, publicity photos and review copies, contact:
Ngatapa Black at Black Media Limited on phone: +64 9 634 9361, mobile: +64 21 241 6015 or email: info@blackmedia.co.nz

Vanessa Bidois at Kanui Limited on phone: +64 4 384 4677, mobile: +64 21 928 007 or email: vanessa@kanui.co.nz

http://soundsaotearoa.com/programme/?utm_source=M?ori+and+Pacific+Media&utm_campaign=b42e50e470-Black_Media3_9_2013&utm_medium=email

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