Tiki Taane – One Man Band

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28-31 March 2019, Common Room

Tiki Taane’s on a run at Common Room. The first show sold out in hours, so he added another. And another. And another. You get the sense that he’s an open arms kind of guy, that he’ll do his best to spread his music and his message to all that are willing to hear it.

That message, running down the spine of his act, is clear and explicit – kotahitanga, one love, peace and unity. Tiki’s a talker, punctuating expansive flowing jams with lyrical orations from the heart. His preamble sets the space, invites participation and collaboration in what is a communion between artist and audience. There’s a nod to Christchurch – Taane’s home town – a grave reminder that what we’re doing here, gathering together to share space and sound, is an act of resistance in the face of the fear and dissent that terror seeks to sow.

The crowd’s been loosened up by the laid back stylings of coastal locals Mahana Christy on decks and Logan Heaps on guitar and vocals. It’s an innovative, bass-heavy, beachy sound that has knees bouncing, hips shoggling and necks rolling to the rhythm.

Into this carefully created space, Tiki drops a beat, expertly weaving layers of bass, melody and word into a complex aural tapestry with the aid of a loop pedal and a truly talented sound engineer. By his own admission he loses himself, and invites us to get lost with him. But just as he threatens to float off into obscurity completely he anchors us with a familiar strain to the joyful response of the crowd. He draws the tunes he remixes from a broad and diverse base – Ini Kamoze rubs shoulders with Pokarekare Ana; Prince with Judy Garland. His own familiar classics feature prominently too – Always on My Mind and Love Your Ways inspire big cheers and frenetic dancing. Though a solo performer, he pulls in the crowd encouraging participation and achieving some choral feats in which we are delighted to take part. The audience is his instrument, one which he plays masterfully, elevating the mood of the room and the collective experience. Encore after encore ends in a powerful spoken word rendition of the Māori creation myth, concluding what anyone who has been present to the performance knows to be true – that we are all one.

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