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Review: Ihimaera

Sun 27 Mar 2011 In: Music View at Wayback View at NDHA

One of the nation's most celebrated gay authors has joined the hallowed names of two writing greats with collections of music inspired by their words. Ihimaera follows previous incarnations based on the words of James K Baxter and Hone Tuwhare, the latter which featured a hauntingly beautiful track from the late Mahinarangi Tocker: A Northland Heart-scape, which she once performed live in a room with the great Tuwhare himself before they both passed on. This shows the importance of such collaborations, where distinctly New Zealand artists fling the words of our masters out of their pages and, celebrating and preserving them in our earlobes. Rather than using pure poetry like the two Tuwhare and Baxter collections, the songs in Ihimaera feature lyrics which the novelist penned based on the themes of some of his novels. APRA Maioha Award-winner Ruia Aperahama opens the proceedings with a gentle reggae take on The Song of Te Kooti, which will bring immediate pleasure for anyone who likes to chill out in the backyard with their head bobbing. LA Mitchell then swoops in with her honey-soaked voice on floating chill-out track Our Mother Is The Earth, before it's back to reggae with an infusion with hip hop from King Kapisi in Whale Rider. Suddenly the album melts into My Heart Beats Strongly from Ariana Tikao, then features something of a mini-comeback from the seemingly long-lost Teremoana Rapley in the form of Dream Swimmer. SJD then jumps in with his majestic ability to create ethereal magic with Our Watch Now and Lucid3 singer Victoria Girling-Butcher aka "Lupin" presents pure pretty pop in Standing Upright Here, before a touch of the alternative again from Pluto spin-off The Twinks who take a kind of wide-eyed, dreamy cowboy approach in Bar of Darting Glances. It is Warren Maxwell's blues-infused Don't Call Me Sir which is a treat of this album. It's a brazen, balls-out, sexy guitar track. What more could you want? Director of the series Charlotte Yates next adds the many flavours of her almost-edible voice and the heart of this project is clearly beating in Kingfisher Come Home, leaving the listener perfectly in the zone for the frighteningly fun Us Together from Unitone HiFi and tradition-infused closing track Star Waka from Horomona Horo and Nga Tae. Not only is it a Kiwi through-and-through sometimes poppy and often dreamy recognition of Ihimaera's work, the collaboration also showcases some of New Zealand's more interesting musicians whose work deserves the chance to be heard. A nice addition to the CD stack next to your bookshelf. You can win a copy of Ihimaera on's competition page. Jacqui Stanford - 27th March 2011    

Credit: Jacqui Stanford

First published: Sunday, 27th March 2011 - 11:28am

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