My music has always been about this land. We mixed up te reo, haka, taonga puoro, poi with beats and dance grooves back when it so wasn’t cool. Funnily enough, that’s part of the reason my band Moana & the Tribe has played in some of the most exotic, offbeat and famous locations in the world. And the fact I surround myself with amazing musicians to make me look and sound good.
Our passion and music has even stirred up others. After one concert in Moscow, Russian students staged a protest to learn Maori. We inspired the very first Maori language course in a Russian university!
I’m picking we were the first to pound out a reggae song on a grand piano in St Marks Square (Venice). We've sung in the Herodes Atticus (Athens), played to thousands in Chiang Kai Chek Square (Taiwan), been up into the Arctic twice (Norway) and performed at the world famous Montreux Jazz Festival (Switzerland) – just to name-drop a few. The Sydney Opera House wasn't too shabby either. Rekohu/Chatham Island was hard to top too.
Along the way, I was made an Art Laureate (NZ Arts Foundation), recieved an MNZM, was recognised as a Life Time Toi Iho Artist and won the International Songwriting Contest. Not bad for a gal who never made even the 2nd row at St Josephs Maori Girls College.
RIMA is my 5th major album and is due out on Sept 26.
I love it. I hope you do too.