Maori singer/songwriters Maisey Rika, Rob Ruha and Seth Haapu are joined by Horomona Horo, Aotearoa’s leading practitioner in taonga puoro (traditional Maori instruments) for a pair of performances at Kahilu Theatre in Waimea.
Aotearoa’s Finest will be creating music that fuses cultural roots, memorable tunes and honest, gripping lyrics on the theater’s stage at 4 p.m. Sunday and 7 p.m. Monday.
Each of these artists have deep roots in their Maori culture and are superb musicians, revered for their artistry and Maori activism. They are at the forefront of a new generation of indigenous performers, who have been commissioned by the World of Music, Arts and Dance (WOMAD) to create new works highlighting their native language, te reo Maori. WOMAD is an internationally recognized organization that aims to promote cross-cultural awareness and tolerance. Aotearoa’s Finest have all performed together at festivals and events — however, this project takes their collaboration to the next level.
Rika is a singer/songwriter whose voice captivates audiences worldwide. She began singing professionally at age 13 and gained national stardom as lead vocalist with her Kapa Haka group on E Hine, a classic collection of Maori traditional songs that went double platinum. Moving on to a solo career, she has won nine Maori music awards for her “Tohu” and “Whitiora” CDs.
Horo is a composer, cultural practitioner and cross genre collaborator, who has fused taonga puoro (singing treasures) with the traditional instruments of the Maori, presenting a diverse range of cultural and musical forms. Horo brings with him the knowledge and traditional practices of these instruments, for not only are they of musical significance, but each instrument has a specific use within rites of passage, storytelling and Maori daily life. The instruments are part of the holistic culture of all life, birth, death and nature in Maori culture.
Ruha is a singer/songwriter and emerging solo recording artist from Te Whanau a Apanui and Ngati Porou. Ruha has a burning drive to expand the platforms for the voice of his indigenous nation, amplifying and celebrating uniquely Maori world-views. He is widely recognized as an esteemed composer, having created more than 200 waiata, haka and moteatea (songs, verses and chants).
Haapu is an Auckland-based pianist, guitarist and singer/songwriter. Of Maori and Tahitian descent, he released his debut recording in 2011, showcasing soulful laments to throwback R&B, from keyboard rhapsodies to alternative pop. His self-titled debut album was nominated for an NZ Music Award. While recording his newest creations, he has opened for John Legend and toured internationally with Rika and Ruha.
Tickets are $25-$68 and are available online at www.kahilutheatre.org, by calling 885-6868 or by visiting theater at 67-1186 Lindsey Road between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Info: Visit www.kahilutheater.org.