Tama Waipara

Tama Waipara

About the Artist

The phrase - a singer's singer - has been applied to several ground breaking and established artists in the past. However, it is also a fitting title for relative newcomer, 25-year old singer/ songwriter Tama Waipara.

"It isn't surprising to me that music would become my life's passion" says the charismatic Maori performer. "Music is an amazingly influential and vibrant element in my cultural background. Our culture is based on an ancestral oral tradition rich in chanted song and percussive, rhythmic
music. I was always surrounded by music in my home as a child, both traditional and more westernized, like pop, r&b and jazz. I studied the clarinet but I always sang."

A graduate from the prestigious Manhattan School of Music with a Master's degree in music and performance clarinet, Tama is actively involved in theatre and was also featured in the independent TV One documentary Manhattan Maori (Kiwa Productions, filmed by Rhonda Kite and Libby
Hakaraia). He was also featured this year in the movie "Pulse: A Stomp Odyssey".

With an exceptional variety and scope of talent and unique cultural perspectives on his side, the singer / songwriter was approached by the New York / Munich-based ObliqSound label [a new genre-defying independent
recording / production company] to begin work on a solo album.

His debut, titled Triumph of Time is a fluid and eclectic foray into rhythm and blues, cosmic jazz-funk, classical, Samba and an amalgam of exotic indigenous music from around the globe. His compositions contain an almost
instinctual rhythm that combines organic and electronic instrumentation, while his vivid lyrics seem to color a vision that is sublime and enchanted - where thoughts become poetry, poetry becomes verse and verse becomes song.

From light to dark, from fire to spark, from tree to seed, from flower to weed, from strong to weak, from joy to grief, from best to worst - from
lover to lover to lover to lover - echoes Tama on the sensorial and metaphorical, self-penned opus "Colours of You. Songs like the title track,
the sumptuous Korowai or Cloak (a celebratory hymn about the rite of passage into the underworld - a view of death as the next natural phase of life) and the romantic neo-jazz-inflected first single Felise (which
features remixes by an array of remixers including Atlanta-based wunderkind, producer / remixer / composer Chris Brann under the Ananda Project moniker) reverberate with a candor, intensity and stirring spirituality well beyond
the artist's years.

Tama's vocals are tenuous, dusky, supple, languid and bittersweet possessing a distinctive intonation and 'phraseology' inspired by a wealth of legendary vocalists / song 'stylists' / balladeers like George Benson, Bill Withers, Jimmy Scott, Donny Hathaway, Stevie Wonder and, even, Kate Bush and Nina Simone to create a diverse musical blueprint without borders.

My songs are a hybrid of many elements - contemporary and traditional reveals Tama. It's really important for me to have a full understanding of where I come from musically and culturally. I'm very blessed to follow a long tradition of Maori musicians from home. True artists who still possess
the human touch.


Latest Release

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Sir Plus and The Requirements by Tama Waipara cover art

Sir Plus and The Requirements

Based on a mixture of 1950's pop and 1970's soul, this brand new album offers a musical hangi - with plenty of extra spice thrown in.