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New group keeping tradition alive with indigenous soul music

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The newly formed Māori music group, IA, is creating a unique genre of music it calls ‘Indigenous Soul’. IA’s songs blend old with new and feature the voices found with traditional Māori instruments/taonga pÅ«oro. The pÅ«oro voices are blended with modern instruments, ancient poetic writing style and soulful melodies.

Featuring Moetu Smith, Reti Hedley and Turoa Pohatu, the Waikato based band is dedicated to showcasing taonga pūoro and allowing the traditional instruments to be at the centre of its compositions.

IA’s debut single, ‘Weherua’ will be released on October 29 and features four different Māori instruments, as well as modern bass and drums. The song includes the voices of the Punga Ihu Uku, Karanga Weka, Tumu Toka and the Pahu Toka.

The lyrics are inspired by an ancient mōteatea/chanted poem and are sung in both Te Reo Māori and English with the goal of showcasing Māori language and traditional instruments to all people.

IA wants to create modern music that is accessible to a diverse audience so that more people can enjoy the ancient sounds of the Māori people. They have been discovering new frontiers with traditional instruments by using taonga pūoro as the driving force in their creative process.

Band member, Reti Hedley, says he wants to display the taonga in a new way, "most Māori instruments are used to create ambient sound effects or sprinkles in a song. We want to reframe how taonga are being used and feature them as the main element in our music."

Reti was raised with the knowledge of taonga pūoro through his late mother, Rangiiria Hedley, who was a prominent taonga pūoro musician and educator. Reti, an established musician in his own right, inherited his mother's extensive collection of Māori instruments and wants to bring them to light with this new music.

Bass player, Moetu Smith says if we can help keep our culture alive then we have achieved our goal, "my ultimate dream with IA is to inspire our future generations to pick up these instruments and create their own music."

The band’s drummer, Turoa, and bass player, Moetu, have the ultimate goal of putting down their modern instruments and replacing them with traditional percussion and bass instruments to create modern songs accessible to young audiences entirely composed with taonga pÅ«oro.

Weherua is the first of many waiata to come and from October 29, the single will be available at all major music outlets including Itunes, Google Play, Spotify Apple Music and Bandcamp. A live performance of the song will also be released on the IA Facebook page.

Track Details

Release date: 29 Oct 2020

Title: Weherua

Artist: IA

Composer(s): Reti Hedley, Turoa Pohatu, Moetu Smith

Funded by: Te Māngai Pāho

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