6 October, The Eastbourne
Fringe in the ‘Stings 2017
Hākina, hāputa / hākina, hāputa / In gentle immediacy, / hākina, hāputa, / I flitted resonantly / To stone shores of Whanganui / hākina, hāputa / tihei mauri ora.
And greeted we are in soundscapes fluid and flourished by Pahupounamu, Putorino, Tumutumu, Kōauau, Putatara, and Nguru. Auaha are a visibly tight group of eight diverse performers connected by a sojourner with Whanganui awa, to return Taonga Pūoro song to whenua and Pā long since left. The opening waiata in te reo Māori by Ariana Tikao, sang of Whanganui awa speaking to us all as mokopuna. We were encapsulated whole. I cannot understate how powerful and complete it is to listen to contemporary waiata in the reo.
Many times, throughout this performance, Taonga Pūoro drew us into a space where no applause was inclined. Auaha simply continued along Whanganui awa presenting us with new geographies, forging new relationships between the traditional and the now. The deep and solid provision of base from drums and guitars courted rhythm for the elemental Kōauau and friends to gently dance, tap, and scratch, and breathe above on.
There were moments when waiata was thorough and formed, razzed with a bit of blues or fast dance drumming, exciting us all. And rangatahi Te Paerata Tichbon offered us considered singer-song writer styles on his guitar. Reminding me again, how awesome our performing community is in providing caring pathways for our youth to follow though.
Regularly the vestiges of contemporary structure were stripped away to bone, pounamu, shell and wood in a lingering wairua. A sound touch to our hearts. Hākina, hāputa, he manawa.
There was plenty of experimentation, and it’s fair to say this genre of music is evolving its connectivity between two very different worlds of sound. I liked the use of tech with Taonga Pūora, sustaining and bending the sounds, placing space between tones, and microphoning offered even volume alongside the drums and guitars, creating a kind of equity – bush and urban, traditional and modern, forming a way.
Throughout the performance, Auaha kept profoundly true to the essence of Taonga Pūoro. If ever there was a need for musical balance, then sublimely the voices, drums and guitars softened as if to align themselves to that inner knowing – that to follow this lore, would bring us all further majesty.
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