Maori family band Wai performed an emotional set of songs on Sunday, July 14, 2019 at the Rainforest World Music Festival. The band from Aotearoa (New Zealand) played at the Theatre Stage.
Although Wai is known for successfully combining electronics with traditional music, the performance at the Rainforest World Music Festival was acoustic, showcasing the vocal talents of Mina Ripia and Maaka Fiso accompanied by guitar and percussion.
Wai released a critically acclaimed album titled Ora in 2010.
The core of Wai is Mina Ripia and Maaka Phat. Wai now includes their 11-year-old son Uta Te Whanga on percussion and vocals and new member Maaka Fiso, a truly gifted male vocalist whose style could be defined as Maori soul.
Whirimako Black was born in 1961 in Whakatane, New Zealand. Whirimako’s distinctive sound, her lyrics in te reo Maori, her use of traditional Maori musical forms and collaboration with traditional taonga puoro instruments make her a unique and powerful voice for Maori music and culture.
She received the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to Maori music in the 2006 New Years Honours list.
Moana Maniapoto has consistently pushed the boundaries of Maori music with her unique mix of traditional Maori musical elements and contemporary western grooves. Her band Moana and the Tribe tour throughout the world and are one of the most successful indigenous bands to emerge from New Zealand.
Moana is supported by a collective of talented performers including two acoustic guitarists, female vocalists, a troop of male ‘warriors’ (including some of the best haka performers in New Zealand) and a team of film-makers. The Tribe’ includes Ihu Waka (Reweti Te Mete, Paora Sharpies and Scottie Morrison), as well as guitarist Cadzow Cossar and bass player Pete Hoera. Taonga puoro player Rangi Rangitukunoa is also a rapper and breakdancer. Vocalists Aminra Renti and Trina Maniapoto support Moana in song.
Moana & the Tribe fuse Maori instruments, chants and beats with pacific rhythms, then combine it up with soul, reggae and funk to produce a multi-genre cross-pollination of traditional and contemporary culture. Taonga puoro (traditional Maori instruments) had almost disappeared from Maori culture. Over forty have now been identified and some have been recorded for the very first time, courtesy of Moana and her musicians. These instruments, traditional chants and the haka (a war-like dance) are incorporated into Moana’s music, providing a spectacular accompaniment to modern beats. Tauparapara (traditional chanting) replaces rap.
Moana & the Tribe sing about land and people and present their songs in Maori as well as in English. They speak of a connection to Papatuanuku (Mother Earth), of justice, the importance of language and traditions. They talk about the traditional “moko” (tattooing of face and body), about the Maoris’ struggle for land but also about spirituality, prophecies and traditional bonds and touch on a variety of political and social issues, that are universal. Moana’s albums and her live performances are expressions of rare beauty and a stunning combination of traditional and contemporary culture.
Moana’s lyrics reflect the Maori spiritual, cultural and political reality. She is a singer and songwriter, but also draws inspiration from her rich life as a documentary-maker, writer and political activist. Despite being inspired from her own culture, Moana’s songs strike a chord with every audience. Her message is universal: Mana Maori – Pride in being Maori, Mana Wahine – Respect for women, and Mana Tangata – Respect for all humanity.
She is a lawyer, musician, songwriter and has worked as a TV host. Moana was admitted to the Bar in 1984 and has worked to empower Maori and community groups with information about the legal system and processes.
In June 2003 Moana & the Tribe returned, to promote the European release of their DVD Live & Proud, which was launched in Berlin. The group completed a series of 36 concerts over seven weeks throughout Holland, Austria, Switzerland, Germany culminating with four performances at the Olympic Festival of Sacred Song and Dance – the Cultural Olympiad in Greece. Moana & the Tribe represented New Zealand performing in Patras, Kalamata, Athens and on the ancient site of Olympia. The group participated alongside representatives from 28 nations including Paco Pe?a (Spain) and the Shaolin Monks (China).
Moana & the Tribe sang also at the media launch of New Zealand feature film The Whale Rider in Cologne and promoted the movie at their concerts. Once again in 2003 the band staked their biggest claim in Germany and gained a whole new league of fans: “People that come to our [ concerts tell us that they relate to the feeling – even if they can’t understand English or Maori,? says Moana. ?Some come to four or five shows during our tour and we move across some big distances pretty quickly so that kinda blows us away.”
In February of 2004 she won the 2003 International Songwriting Competition (ISC) for her world music song “Moko.” The winning song “Moko,” is a compelling fusion of smooth world music and an urban sound with earthy, international beats.”