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No. 53 (December 1965)
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RECORDS

Music of the Maori—
The Waihirere Maori Club

Kiwi LC-21 12in. 33 ⅓ LP.

Recently for the first time, I had the pleasure of seeing this excellent group on the concert stage under their dynamic young leader Ngapo Wehi. This record does not do them justice. I must hasten to add that this is not Kiwi's fault nor that of the NZBC (who recorded the tapes). It is just that much of Waihirere's appeal is visual. Their actions and presentation are crisp and impressive. Their singing is less so. Much of it is thin and there is a lack of substantial and effective harmony. Take, for example, the imaginative arrangement of Waiata Poi on side two. The voices trail off at the end of the lines. Sometimes one can hardly hear the men. The performers seem to be singing at about half steam.

Although five of the items on this disc have been performed on Waihirere's other two records there are also some interesting new songs, including some of Waihirere's specialities which are deservedly gaining in popularity with other concert parties. ‘Kei ia Koe” and ‘Karanga e te Iwi’ are two such songs. They were specially written by Bill Kerekere, a former leader, for the Club's performance before Royalty at Waitangi. On the other hand, Kerekere's choice of tune for his setting of ‘Karanga Mai Koroki’ takes a bit of getting used to. It has a pasa doble type rhythm and a background parrot's chorus called ‘Karanga … karanga….’ However it is unusual, and with Bill Kerekere, Waihirere have had a leader who is not afraid to try something which is different. If Maori music is to appeal to younger people it must move with the times. The same writer has taken a popular hymn ‘Tapu, tapu, tapu’ and boldly adapted it by interweaving it into the fabric of a larger work. An excerpt from this work, the song ‘Tapu, tapu, Anei taku Inoi’, is heard on this record.

Two classic haka taparahi are featured. These are ‘Ruamoko’ (an improved version to that on Waihirere's ‘Treasure Chest of Maori Music’) and ‘Kura Tiwaka’. There is also a peruperu. It is perhaps a little inaccurate to say, as do the notes on the record cover, that ‘the East Coast tribes are not accustomed to the peruperu.’ However, it is true that East Coast parties seldom seem to perform them nowadays. For this reason ‘Tena i Poua’ is welcome on this record. Peruperu, with its precision and call on physical stamina, seems in grave danger of fading away altogether except amongst Te Arawa.

Waihirere are at their best in chant-like numbers with a pre-European flavour such as their powhiri ‘Waitangi’ and their poi-patere ‘Takitimu’. It is good to know that Waihirere are taking modern songs written in this idiom and giving them a prominent place in their repertoire.

Utaina!—The Wellington Anglican Maori Club

Kiwi EA-106 7in. 45 EP.

In the previous issue we reviewed Ngati Poneke's new record. Now we have a recording from their chief (and friendly) rivals in the Wellington area. As many readers will know, a group from the Wellington Anglican Club has just returned from a highly successful three and a half months' overseas tour which included the USA, Canada, Great Britain and Hong Kong. The Club has as its patron (and a very interested patron) His Excellency, the Governor-General. Its teacher, the Rev. Kingi Ihaka, needs no introduction. Its leader on this record is Don Manunui who has just returned as leader of the Maori group which toured with the National Band. His service amongst young Maoris in Wellington is tireless.

‘Utaina’ is a small record but all the items on it are relatively fresh in that they have not been worked to death on numerous other recordings. They range from the World War I favourite ‘E te Iwi, Kia Toa’ to Ihaka's ‘Utaina’ with which the club won the Kingi Tahiwi Cup at the 1963 Wellington Competitions. The group performs with precision and gusto. I would have wished for a little more variety—perhaps one haka and/or a chora piece. Perhaps another recording in the future might rectify this ommission!

Waiata Poi and Other Songs:
Hannah Tatana and the Concert Party
of Queen Victoria School

Kiwi EA-105 45 EP 7in.

It is encouraging when Maori singers of the stature of Hannah Tatana can turn briefly from opera and the classics to enhance the simple songs of their people. I found side one

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of this disc, which features Miss Tatana with the Concert Party, a most delightful listening experience. In a splendid acoustic setting they sing ‘Waiata Poi’ and ‘Hine e Hine’. Their version of ‘Waiata Poi’ is easily the best recording yet of this often-abused song. There is an ethereal effect in their singing of ‘Hine e Hine’. The sound seems to float gently and then dissolve quietly.

Side two features the Concert Party alone. It is more earthy but pleasant enough for all that. The girls give the pop song ‘Tiaho Po’ a touch of the dramatic. Their version of ‘Au e Ihu’ is well sung, but for a Maori hymn it is sung a little too fast for my liking. It is almost as if they were rushing to finish the record!

The Nuns' Chorus — Kiri te Kanawa

Kiwi EA-112 7in. 45 EP.

This is not a recording of Maori music but it features a Maori who is one of the brightest stars on the New Zealand musical scene. Kiri Te Kanawa has just finished a year of contest triumphs in New Zealand and Australia and there is little doubt that she has no reached her peak as yet.

One side one of this record is the Nuns' Chorus from Strauss's ‘Casanova’. Miss Te Kanawa sings it with the St Mary's Choral Group. Side two has ‘Let the Bright Seraphim’ from Handel's ‘Sampson and Delilah’. Unfortunately, this is something less than it might have been for this critic. Leonora Owsley does not use the organ to reproduce the glorious trumpet obligatto which has usually been a notable accompaniment to this aria. I wonder if perhaps she does this to allow the solo to have full prominence. However ‘Let the Bright Seraphim’ is truly a duet of singer and trumpet, and this version does not exploit the aria's full potential.

Maori adults furthering their education by attending special night classes have been given an added incentive.

The Education Department has changed its regulations to allow adults to sit one or more subjects for a certificate of education. Papers will be the same as those for school certificate, and the certificate will be awarded for a 50 per cent pass.