With harmonious vocals, sunshine ukulele fused with the beauty of the Māori language, Toni Huata’s new single ‘Tahuri Mai’ will be released this NZ Music Month on May 24th 2013 through DRM / Amplifier Music.
As a daughter and descendant of Ngāti Kahungunu and Rongowhakāta, the new single ‘Tahuri Mai’ is a collaboration with Toni’s husband Adrian where he wrote the lyrics and she composed the tune.
This expression is a encore collaboration with NZ’s most respected electronic musician Paddy Free whom Produced Toni Huata’s NZ Album Chart Hit ‘Hopukia’ in 2012.
‘Tahuri Mai’ is fully in te reo Māori. It is a love song and a statement of how deep true love can be.
‘Tahuri Mai’ was sculptured in Toni Huata’s own studio, which is nestled beside Wilton’s Otari forest, Wellington where Toni writes songs inspired by her life experiences and runs her business as an event organiser, executive producer, stage & vocal coach, performer and a proud mother of two.
This single has been made possible with the assistance of Te Māngai Pahō (Māori Broadcasting Funding Agency) enabling Toni Huata to explore musical horizons and sharing her opulent waiata (songs) with audiences around the world.
‘Tahuri Mai’ can be heard on Iwi Radio Stations after May 20th 2013 and will be released by DRM / Amplifier Music online on May 24th 2013.
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A music makeover has paid off for an indigenous diva after her first ever chart success.
Wellington-based singer-songwriter Toni Huata launched her fourth album, ‘Hopukia’, late last month (July) – her first in the dub and electronica genre, her first bilingual collection of songs and her first in collaboration with top New Zealand musicians Paddy Free and Gareth Farr.
The 10-tracks in two languages – Māori and English – debuted at number seven in the official New Zealand album charts and rose to number 3 over a 4 month period from July to November in 2012.and went straight to number five in the top 20 Independent Music New Zealand album charts.
After performances at the recent Pacific Festival of the Arts in the Solomon Islands and the album launch at the beginning of Māori Language Week in Wellington, Huata has toured country-wide and is planning a international tour to the Aistral-Asia-Pacific territories.
Toni attended the Australasian World Music Expo in Melbourne – an event which attracts industry buyers from local and international music markets as well as concert goers – and she recently showcased at Sounds Aotearoa in Auckland during the Auckland Festival. Toni also was a feature on the Aotearoa stage at the Pasifika Festival whilst she was there.
Huata (Ngāti Kahungunu, Rongowhakaata) says her first three albums – ‘Te Māori E’, ‘Mauri To’ and ‘Whiti’ – were unique contemporary Māori language recordings which were well received on the national and international world music circuit.
“Hopukia is an exploration of talent, genre and culture – there is something which will appeal to any taste – and I feel honoured that we have struck a chord with our audience as well as our new followers.
“To rate on the Kiwi music charts is a great achievement for a Māori album and testament to everyone’s hard work – from those involved in the production to the pre-launch season of shows to the on-going distribution and sales.”
Funded by the Māori broadcasting funding agency, Te Māngai Pāho, ‘Hopukia’ is available in record stores or online at www.amplifier.co.nz; www.smokecds.com; www.itunes.apple.com/nz; www.marbecksdigital.co.nz; and www.nztop40.co.nz.
The track, ‘Arise’, is also available as a free download through www.amplifier.co.nz, www.facebook.com/tonihuatamusic and www.tonihuata.com.
Distribution and sales: www.oderecords.co.nz, www.amplifier.co.nz
Toni Huata (lead/backing vocals); Paddy Free (keyboards, programming, percussion); Brannigan Kaa (haka vocals); Adrian Wagner (haka vocals); Te Okanga Huata-Wagner (haka vocals)
“I originally wrote this song for Merenia’s dance piece, ‘Te Mana’. I saw women dancing free like birds, men doing slow martial arts taiaha with a sense of connection, strong and anchored. At the beginning of this album and during the Rugby World Cup, this song developed into an upbeat dance piece thanks to Paddy. Its debut – in the Cloud in Auckland prior to an All Black’s game – was by the Māui whānau under the direction of Tānemahuta Gray as a contemporary dance and aerial piece. I love the energy that this song evokes – calling to the spirit and human qualities of growth, strength, love, peace and unity.”
Toni Huata (lead/backing vocals); Paddy Free (keyboards, programming)
“I wrote this song for moments when we feel life is overwhelming at times, too fast when faced with challenges internally or from others. All we need to do is to take a moment, breathe and trust that we will get through this and rise again. I also think of those that contemplate or have taken their own lives because of these pressures and the families left behind with only memories and the guilt and grief this causes. ‘Breathe’ reminds us all about getting back to a positive, progressive place knowing that life is always an experience.”
Toni Huata (lead/backing vocals); Paddy Free (keyboards, programming)
“This song is about a collection of dreams I have had that are sometimes obscure, realistic but also happy. It includes life direction messages, my continued relationship with my late grandparents, my children and when I’ve realised I am astro-travelling.”
Toni Huata (lead/backing vocals); Paddy Free (keyboards, programming, percussion); Alistair Fraser (pūkaea/trumpet, pūtatara/conch shell trumpet, ororuarangi/flute); Brannigan Kaa (haka vocals); Adrian Wagner (haka vocals); Te Okanga Huata-Wagner (haka vocals); Te Okanga Huata-Wagner (haka vocals); Kereama Hape (hī hā vocals)
“This song was composed during the ‘Hopukia’ project – it was very quick and to the point from the beginning where the lyrics came very easy to Paddy’s beats. I wrote it in simple reo Māori with a clear message that evokes emotions of unity and to rise above all challenges the world has for us.”
“I wrote this song as a legacy – these are my thoughts, hopes and dreams for the wellbeing of my children and my descendants, wishing for balance, strength and happiness in their lives. There are also other contemplative thoughts of identity, culture and concern for the environment and our future. I’d like to thank Gareth for capturing the essence of my emotions in this song; Paddy for massaging the textural layers; and cousin Hira for embracing us with the reo of our tīpuna from Rāmoto. Ngā mihi aroha kia koutou mō ake tonu atu.”
HOPUKIA TE TAO
Toni Huata (lead/backing vocals); Gareth Farr (keyboards, programming, tom toms; haka vocals); Paddy Free (keyboards, programming); Alistair Fraser (hue/gourd instrument); Brannigan Kaa (haka vocals); Adrian Wagner (haka vocals)
“This song is how I relate this kaupapa into my life in the present – a song of belief, loyalty and being proactive in oneself and family, not to sit on the fence but to action your words and do what you say ... seizing opportunities when they come! The reo component in this waiata does not take a direct literal translation but has a personal conception of translation using language familiar in the Huata whānau.”
Toni Huata (lead/backing vocals); Paddy Free (keyboards, programming, backing vocals); Adrian Wagner (guitar, backing vocals); Brannigan Kaa (backing vocals); Pat Siolo (bass)
“This is simply about home: my family and what I cherish about the comfort of being home. Travelling overseas certainly showed me how lucky we are here in Aotearoa but this is more personal and something that makes me warm and contented inside – home!”
Toni Huata (lead/backing vocals); Paddy Free (keyboards, programming); Ned Ngatae (guitar); Pat Siolo (bass)
“I wrote this for my husband, Adrian, and I thought of the journey we have had from the first time we met. It’s fondly reflective of mid-nineties funk when we first laid eyes on each other. Ka nui tāku aroha kia koe tāku whaiāipo.”
“This is a wonderful return to a song which debuted on ‘Te Māori E’. The title meaning ‘my voice’ is a celebration of my family dialect and cultural heritage of Māori, Lebanese, Irish and German. It’s a journey that sheds enlightenment for those seeking their own voice, their own language, their own connection to their identity. I love the more gentle treatment vocally and musically with both elements having a more floating quality which is my approach to my voice and language now. This is our after midnight in the chill-out lounge version – cheers Paddy.”
“I wrote this for our star constellation, Matariki (Pleiades), and to the time that marks the beginning of a new year. The celestial feeling is enhanced by the close vocal harmonies of Gareth while the minimalistic, ambient musical features that Gareth, Paddy and Al have played give it a sense of continuation and renewal.”
New Music, New Collaborations, New Year for Māori Diva
Singer-songwriter Toni Huata marks the start of Māori Language Week with the launch of her first bilingual collection of dub, dance, electronica, soul and classical music at Wellington’s Te Papa Tongarewa next Sunday (1.00 pm, July 22 2012).
The 10-track ‘Hopukia’ features collaborations with two top New Zealand musicians – respected electronic musician and producer, Paddy Free of Pitch Black fame, and acclaimed composer and percussionist, Gareth Farr.
It is Huata’s fourth album but her first in two languages, Māori and English, as well as her debut in the dub and electronica genre.
‘Hopukia’ is funded by the Māori broadcasting funding agency, Te Māngai Pāho, while the Wellington launch is presented in association with the Mā Te Reo fund which supports local Māori language projects.
As well as Free, celebrated dancer Taiaroa Royal and Atamira Dance Company will join Huata on stage next Sunday while visuals for the launch extravaganza are courtesy of award-winning video artist Louise Pōtiki Bryant.
Free says the album will surprise the singer’s old fans and win her many new followers. He is honoured by the trust she has placed in him to take her music to new heights.
“I think ‘Hopukia’ breaks new ground in terms of the production styles combined with the bilingual content – there’s everything from glitchy electronica and dub to cinematic operatic songs and thumping dance floor tunes.
“It’s an incredibly stylistically varied album that manages to hold together as a cohesive flow thanks to Toni's huge talents as a vocalist.
“She’s an exceptional singer who can deliver an amazing performance across a unique range of styles … from sweet R’n’B to opera to haka. I don't know of any other vocalist who can perform so convincingly in such different genres.”
Of Ngāti Kahungunu and Rongowhakaata descent, Huata says the album is closely connected to her immediate and extended whānau. The name and concept stems from a family proverb, ‘E rere e te huata hopukia; e rere te mānuka tomokia’ – when the huata spear flies, grasp it; when the mānuka flies, enter it.
“It means to grasp or seize the moment in the heat of battle and retaliate and defend those that you love,” says the self-employed event organiser, performer, stage craft tutor, vocal coach and mother of two.
Huata says she relished the opportunity to collaborate for the first time with Free – the duo recorded ‘Hopukia’ at her Wellington home studio near Wilton’s Otari bush – and again with Farr who has created three dramatic masterpieces for the new album.
As well as collaborating on her third album, ‘Whiti’, she worked with Farr to record and perform the karanga for the Rugby World Cup 2011 and the pair were also involved in the production, ‘Māui – One Man Against the Gods’, in which Huata had the lead role of Hine.
“This album is our exploration of talent, genre and culture – there is something which will appeal to any taste.”
‘Hopukia’ is available through Ode Records (www.oderecords.co.nz) and Amplifier (www.amplifier.co.nz). One track, ‘Arise’, is also available as a free download through www.amplifier.co.nz, www.myspace.com/tonihuata and www.tonihuata.com.