Taranaki Band to Take Maori Sound Overseas in Exchange of Music and Culture

July 30th 2015
A group of Taranaki musicians are heading abroad to share with the people of Ireland a taste of Aotearoa's indigenous music.

A group of Taranaki musicians are heading abroad to share with the people of Ireland a taste of Aotearoa's indigenous music.

Te Kohikohinga Kohatu (TKK), Taranaki's only traditional and contemporary Maori band, will spend more than a week touring Ireland in August as part of a music and cultural exchange.

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Guitarist and vocalist Morgana James said the tour would mark the beginning of what the group hoped to be a long-term cultural trade between Aotearoa and Ireland.

"We want to build relationships with artists of Ireland and create an annual event," she said.

"We hope to promote Indigenous Aotearoa through Te Reo Maori, kapahaka, weaving, traditional and contemporary music. We feel that the Irish people will enjoy our performance because it is unique to Aotearoa and more so, to Taranaki and they have very limited opportunities to see Maori culture."

Meeting Irish musicians Sive, who performed at last year's TSB Bank Festival of the Lights and at this year's local Waitangi Day celebrations, and Anand Rose, co-founder of Taranaki's Singer Songwriters, spurred TKK's interest in the European country.

"We chose Ireland because after working with Anand and meeting Sive, we realised the cultural similarities and mutual understandings and struggles our cultures have been through."

She said TKK hoped to travel to Ireland biennially and would in return host Irish groups in Taranaki on the alternate year.

This time around, James said the band would spend 10 days visiting towns that are primarily Irish-speaking areas, such as Naas, Dingle, Clonkilty, Aran Islands and Doolin before finishing the tour with a final show in Dublin.

In addition to James, the six-piece troupe comprises local musicians Simon James, Hinenui Bryant, Tonga Karena, Wayne Morris and political activist Urs Signer.

The artists, who are individually rich in musical experience, have been working together under the moniker of TKK, which means "a collection of stones", for three years.

James said the group, which aims to promote the Maori language and protocols of Taranaki Maori, takes its influence from world music, jazz, funk, soul, and reggae while including haka and poi in its performance.

Before the band takes flight next month it will perform a pop-up gig to celebrate this week's Te Wiki o Te Reo Maori.

Maori language week was the perfect opportunity for TKK to release new material and fundraise for the group's trip while giving back to the community, James said.

"This gig is not only music but also a fun and interactive workshop for people to learn Te Reo Maori."

James said the long-standing Maori language week was a good platform to introduce the language to mainstream learners.

"It supports bands like ours, where we sing and perform in Te Reo to further promote our music and creative arts. Like many initiatives, we see this as a positive step towards breaking down barriers and creating new opportunities."

Story sourced via Stuff

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