APRA AMCOS NZ Announce Māori Cymraeg Songhubs

  • APRA AMCOS NZ Announce Māori Cymraeg Songhubs
APRA AMCOS NZ Announce Māori Cymraeg Songhubs

APRA AMCOS NZ Announce Māori Cymraeg Songhubs

Despite the physical distance between Wales and Aotearoa, te reo Māori and Cymraeg (Welsh language) have experienced many similar challenges – chiefly endangerment through colonisation, and historical legislation.

There have been many champions in each culture who have worked hard to counteract this, and through the process, music has been found to play a key role in the revitalisation and growth of each language, alongside broadcasting and education.

In recent decades Welsh and Māori people have connected in their cause, and each taken knowledge and inspiration from their respective work, so this collaborative SongHubs program is a further step in exploring that connection.

Māori / Cymraeg SongHubs will be held at Joel Little’s Big Fan studios from March 24 – 28, with three Welsh songwriters and one Welsh producer collaborating with six Māori songwriters and two producers. Find out more about each of the participants here.

Kawiti Waetford and Greg Haver are the co-curators for this program.

Waetford (Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Wai, Ngāpuhi) is a highly acclaimed opera singer who has performed with prestigious orchestras and collaborated with luminaries like Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. As a Reo Māori expert with a Master’s in Advanced Vocal Studies from the Wales International Academy of Voice, he’s also perfectly positioned to help guide this cultural collaboration.

“While completing my Masters I had the privilege to immerse myself in the rich tapestry of music, song, and language cultivated by the people of Wales” he explains.

“Through this experience, I witnessed the deep connection they share with their whenua, cultural heritage and their ongoing commitment to language revitalisation. This serves as an inspiring testament to the resilience and cultural pride of the Welsh people, resonating deeply for our own journey as Māori.

“Bringing our two cultures together to share our languages, traditions, and histories to write songs collaboratively, I see this program as further championing a positive kaupapa of language revitalisation through the transformative power of music and extend my gratitude to APRA, the British Council and the British High Commission for their support. Toitū te reo Māori, toitū te reo Cymraeg.”

Kiwi Welshman, Greg Haver, an award-winning producer with an extensive background in sound production and drumming, has been contributing to the APRA Aotearoa SongHubs program since 2016. He’s also the co-chair of the Music Producers Guild Aotearoa and has been maintaining a strong connection between the music communities in Wales and Aotearoa for many years.

“As a proud citizen and musician of both Wales and Aotearoa it’s been wonderful to be part of bringing together artists and producers for this special SongHubs to collaborate in both waiata reo Māori and Caneuon Cymraeg.”

The four Welsh guests will be formally welcomed onto Te Noho Kotahitanga Marae at the Unitec, Mt Albert campus on Sunday March 24. After the pōwhiri, there will also be a kōrerorero / discussion about the achievements and challenges for the use of heritage languages in contemporary music. RSVP here.

The programme participants and curators will then spend three days in rotating small groups around Big Fan’s studios, creating bilingual songs – waiata and cân – and sharing their stories and experiences as part of the process. Each songwriter will get the opportunity to lead in the writing process, bringing together the talents and perspectives of Māori and Welsh musicians in every song.

The resulting song demos will be played back to the participants on the last evening before the visitors’ departure, after which the mahi begins to develop pathways for potentially completing the recordings for public release.

Natasha Beckman, Director, British Council New Zealand and the Pacific, said “The reclamation and revitalisation of both the Welsh language, Cymraeg, and te reo Māori have served as respective inspirations to scholars and champions of indigenous language revival. Through government legislation, education programmes, broadcasting and other initiatives, Wales has been able to bring back their language from the brink of extinction. The British Council is delighted to partner with the British High Commission to support New Zealand musicians as part of this unique project, connecting with UK cultural professionals and helping to build songwriting and production skills in the Aotearoa New Zealand music industry.“

Learn more about the Songhubs initiative here.

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