‘Maori Love Duets’
Kiwi EA-7in 45 EP.
‘Maori Love Duets’ features some very ordinary little love ditties which have been firm favourites for years. Though they are essentially of this modern day in their form and notation, these are genuinely Maori songs, and are presented here in a dignified manner which enhances them immeasurably.
The singers are Kiri Te Kawana and Hohepa (Joe) Mutu, neither of whom will need introduction to most readers. Joe Mutu has featured with distinction as a soloist on several records previously reviewed in this column. In their style they are somewhat reminiscent of the Ano Hato-Dean Waretini combination of yesteryear, though they have much more artistry ano polish. (And in saying this I do not wish to derogate Hato or Waretini, both of whom are firm favourites of mine.)
Ashley Heenan's curiously tripping and hauntingly evocative orchestral backgrounds are quite perfect, for they are subordinate to the singing yet completely complement it. In one place however, the lilting syncopation of the orchestra seems to have made Mr Mutu a shade uncertain of his tempo.
Of the songs presented, ‘Tahi Nei Taru Kino’ is my favourite. ‘Haere Mai e Hoa Ma’ makes a welcome appearance on record, I believe for the first time. The other tunes are ‘Hoki hoki’, ‘Hine e hine’ and ‘Matangi’. One other matter: I only wish that the record cover photographer had done as much justice to Miss Te Kanawa as did the cover of issue no. 49 of ‘Te Ao Hou’.
It is to be hoped that before long Kiwi will bring out another recording featuring the Te Kanawa - Mutu - Heenan combination. This record should be a firm favourite.
‘Favourite Hymns in Maori’
Kiwi EA-97, 7in 45 EP.
To the large repetoire of hymns recorded by Maori choirs has been added this attractive little disc from the St Faith's Church Choir of Ohinemutu, Rotorua. This recording should be of interest to many of those who have visited this historic lakeside church with its beautifully carved and decorated interior. The hymns are tastefully sung, without embroidery, yet with all of the power and fervour of which Maoris are capable in their religious singing.
‘The Legend of the Bridge’
Auckland in Song and Story
Kiwi EA-95, 7in 45 EP.
This is an unexceptional little record which should appeal to Aucklanders and others as a souvenir of the undoubted Queen City of New Zealand. (Thus speaks an unabashed Aucklander!)
Side one is a reading of an old Maori legend, collected by A. W. Reed, of the patu paiarehe who built the first bridge across the Waitemata—apparently without the procrastination which attended the construction of its more famous successor. Harry Dansey has an excellent voice and as a Maori his pronunciation makes amends to some degree for that on some of the other spoken records which Kiwi have issued. The cover blurb very rightly describes Dansey as well qualified for ‘reading the legend on this record’. Unfortunately he does just that and no more. It is a dramatic legend and needs dramatic treatment, but here it is read calmly and dispassionately. The reading suffers from an inexcusable lack of production—inexcusable because it is so obvious. Mr Dansey deserves a better vehicle for his talents than this. I have no doubt that Kiwi is enterprising enogh to give it to him.
On the other side of the disc is Napi Waaka's Te Rangatahi group singing Tony Cook's song ‘Te Tokoroa’. This is quite pleasant listening.
An annual scholarship of £150 awarded by the Maori Education Foundation and sponsored by W. D. and H. O. Wills (N.Z.) Ltd., goes each year to a boy or girl whose academic ability and general character are particularly worthy of recognition.
This year the recipients are Tom Popata of Mt. Eden, Auckland, and Valerie Larkins of Oturu, Kaitaia. Tom is a pupil at St. Stephen's College and Valerie is at Queen Victoria School.
Another award of £150 is granted each year by the Foundation on behalf of the Lions Club of Wellington. This year it goes to Erica Wellington of Tutukaka, near Whangarei. Erica is a pupil at Auckland Girls' Grammar School.