SONGS OF THE MAORI
Te Wai Pounamu Maori Girls' College
Kiwi Stereo/Mono SLC-86 12 in. LP 3 ⅓ r.p.m.
Records of Maori all-girl groups have always been popular, and over the years a number of well known Maori colleges have been featured, including St Joseph's Maori Girls' College at Greenmeadows, Hukarere College at Napier, and Queen Victoria School from Auckland. Now another
equally renowned college goes on record with this offering from Te Wai Pounamu Maori Girls' College at Christchurch.
Te Wai Pounamu is the only boarding school for Maori girls in the South Island but its attendance is by no means confined to South Islanders. Girls from all over New Zealand attend Te Wai Pounamu because of its standard of teaching of Maori language and culture. The majority of the girls attending the college participate in concert party and other Maori cultural activities.
The result of their labours is heard on this recording. It is a good one. There is of considerable interest. One must avoid some fine singing and the items featured are carping criticism I know, but after listening to the record I could not but help grieve a little for the fact that it could so easily have been even better and I am inclined to put more than half the blame on Kiwi. To begin with the soloists seem too far away from the microphone while the guitar is often obtrusive. This is something which is easily corrected by microphone placement. The choral items have not been conducted and there are a number of distressingly ragged starts, particularly to ‘Koutou Katoa Ra’ and to ‘Po Atarau’. The group is at fault here. One cannot afford to leave matters to chance. In making a record, every mistake is enshrined forever. When watching a group on stage there are so many distractions that imperfections usually go unnoticed. There is no ‘instant replay’ to confirm a barely heard error. With a record the ear can concentrate, undistracted by messages from the eye. Every time the record is played, a mistake comes back to haunt. I often feel that Maori groups before they go on record need a good producer to whip them finally into shape, to listen critically to a record as it is made, and to insist on a 100 percent performance before the item is passed fit to go on disc. Hence my strictures on Kiwi above. I am sure that every pop group that records has a producer. Amateur groups recording need the same service even more. Furthermore, what else but the lack of a producer could explain the short track on Side Two which according to the label should be ‘Au E Ihu’ but which is, in fact, half the verse of ‘Koutou Katoa Ra’ which is recorded in full three tracks further on. This is inexcusable.
The record features quite a wide selection of items and a good mixture of the old and new. My favourite on Side One is an interesting powhiri performed with care and precision. I also enjoyed one of the good ‘old’ action songs which is seldom recorded—‘Ko Wai Enei’.
The cover is well designed and, as always with Kiwi, the notes are good.
NEW ZEALAND MAORI THEATRE TRUST
Kiwi Mono SA-72 7 in. 45 r.p.m.
It was unfortunate that only a few centres were able to see the round of farewell concerts before the Maori Theatre Trust left for its world tour in 1970 which included Expo in Japan and appearances in Russia. Any reader who did attend one of those concerts will, I am sure, remember with pleasure two of the highlights from the Trust's repertoire—the inspired miming of ‘Karu’ and the saucy insouciance of ‘Raindrops keep falling on my head’. Now this little record will enable everyone to savour these two items.
Paul Katene is not widely known outside of Maori musical circles. He is a musical arranger of talent and his many arrangements of Maori songs are original and polished. His arrangement of ‘Karu’ with its transitions from major to minor key, its changes of tempo and haunting harmonies is undoubtedly one of his best. The Theatre Trust's performance on this record is without peer amongst the many recorded versions of this so-called ‘fishing chant’.
In complete contrast, on the flip side is ‘Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head’ from the film ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’. Stan White's solo is ‘number one’ and the backing from the chorus smooth and competent.
SONGS AND DANCES OF THE MAORI
Combined Concert Parties of St Joseph's and Hato Paora Colleges
Kiwi Stereo/Mono SLC 65, 12 in. LP 33 ⅓ r.p.m.
Ever since their memorable ‘Songs of Maori Youth’ (reviewed Te Ao Hou Issue No. 55) this critic has been eagerly awaiting a return of the combined concert parties of St Joseph's and Hato Paora. If I say that this second record is not quite as good as the first, it is not to deny, however, that it is still a very good record indeed.
Side One opens with four action songs by the combined parties. Here is full blooded Maori singing, crisp and tuneful, although after hearing all four items, one after the other, one is left with the impression that perhaps the singing is a little too disciplined. Some of the items are too long. In ‘Manu Rere’ and ‘Pa Mai’, where two verses are repeated a considerable number of times, the effect is monotonous because each verse is exactly the same as the last. Somewhat less discipline, more light and shade and variation in the interpretation of the verses would have helped. ‘Taku Patu’ is the best of the action songs because the groups seem more relaxed and spontaneous and there is the occasional interpolation by an individual performer to help things along a bit. Following the action songs, the girls take over with three poi items. The best of these is the final one, which is a medley of songs and provides more interest than the previous two which repeat one song a number of times.
Side Two begins with ‘Pokarekare’. This is a very pleasant version with male and female solos and good backing from the combined choirs. The boys of Hato Paora then take over with four haka—‘Utaina’, ‘Poutini’, ‘Ka Mate’, ‘Ringa Pakia’. Accustomed to the breakneck pace at which many groups perform their haka, the listener may feel at first that Hato Paora's haka are pedestrian. However, they are performed with fire and passion. Above all, the words are beautifully clear. There is all too often the tendency nowadays in haka for the words to be slurred and mumbled and regarded as secondary in importance to the actions. This is a great mistake which Hato Paora are at pains to avoid. All haka are the expression of a message. The words convey this message and the actions are almost a vehicle—a means of emphasis which say little in themselves. If the message does not reach the audience, and this is particularly important on record where actions cannot be seen, then the whole thing is meaningless.
Side Two continues with two stick games which gain in interest from the fact that the listener can also hear the click of the sticks. ‘Po Atarau’ brings the record to a close. Cover notes include excellent thumb-nail sketches describing what each type of item looks like. This is of inestimable value to the non-informed buyer.
Current 12 in. LP releases —
THE BEST OF KIRI
A selection of fourteen of the most popular of all songs Kiri has recorded from Maori songs to opera. Compatible stereo-mono. SLC-85. $4.50
HE TOA TAKITINI
A Waikato group, led by the Rev. Canon W. T. T. Huata, in a wide variety of action songs, chants, laments, and haka. Full range stereo compatible. SLC-84 $4.50
YOUTH AND MUSIC
The Youth Orchestra and Choir conducted by Juan Matteucci in a performance of music by N.Z. composers which includes A Maori Suite by Ashley Heenan. SLC-72 $4.50
SONGS OF THE MAORI
The girls of Te Wai Pounamu Maori Girls' College, near Christchurch, in a fine LP of action and poi songs, hymns and a haka. SLC-86 $4.50
|3.||Nephew, niece (7)|
|4.||Day, sun (2)|
|6.||Isn't that so? (2)|
|7.||Shallow, on the surface (5)|
|10.||Mussel (= kuku) (5)|
|12.||Of dignified aspect (5)|
|13.||Ask; unravel (pass) (3)|
|16.||Outrigger of a canoe (3)|
|18.||Urge on (6)|
|20.||Steal, theft (7)|
|22.||Avenged, paid for (2)|
|26.||Uritie; island (6)|
|28.||Stick insect (2)|
|29.||Robin (bird) (8)|
|30.||Carry on the shoulder (3)|
|31.||Fill; to say (2)|
|34.||Dear me! (3)|
|36.||From olden times (6)|
|37.||Moon; bright moonlight (6)|
|40.||Renowned: trevally (fish) (6)|
|47.||Learn, teach (3)|
|48.||Finished, completed (3)|
|49.||Fault, wrong (2)|
|51.||Young of animals (4)|
|53.||Rotten, putrid (3)|
|54.||Slowly, gently: morning (3)|
|55.||Meeting, gathering (3)|
|57.||Day, world (2)|
|1.||Lean, slant, slope (9)|
|12.||Warm, comfortable (5)|
|14.||That is to say (3)|
|15.||Knowing, quick witted (6)|
|17.||Boy, son (4)|
|19.||Out of breath (8)|
|21.||Fair headed (7)|
|23.||Follow, pursue (3)|
|24.||To fish (2)|
|25.||As it were, as if; perhaps (4)|
|27.||Gleam: lightning (4)|
|29.||Swung; waved about (4)|
|30.||Rocky coast (4)|
|33.||His, her (pl.) (3)|
|38.||I, me (2)|
|42.||Not (= ehera) (5)|
|43.||Sharpen on a stone; backbite (3)|
|46.||Then, indeed (4)|
|48.||Wake up (3)|
|50.||Those (yonder) (3)|
|52.||Brother in law (7)|
|56.||Lull to sleep; lullaby (6)|
|59.||He, she (2)|
|60.||Mate, friend (3)|