Saturday, July 2, 2011

Ngati Poneke - Songs Of The Maori (HMV - MCLP 6187)

Ngati Poneke is a music club made of Maori tribe people from Wellington, New Zealand and it is also open to the members of Pakeha tribe. According to the back side of the vinyl, it is the oldest of its kind with worldwide recognition. It was founded in 1936 with reaching a record (Maybe) 265 concerts in one year during the WWII.

The record includes many of the famous songs of the chorus and some classics as per the explanation. From classics, I have no idea what they are meaning, but it is evident that the musical background of the natives of New Zealand go some way back.

The music is mainly made up of the chorus singing in front with very little musical elements on the background. The rhythm is either based on clapping or a sudden sharp vocals of a member of the group. It is also interesting that they have abstract rhythms both in terms of vocalization and beats. It is no wonder that 20th century classical composers have turned their faces on this and other folk musics of Asian natives (Most obvious is Balinese music).

One thing I've learned from the record is that Haka is not as we know it. Haka is a general term for the ritual dance of Maori people. Today we only know it as the New Zealand Rugby Team's before the match motivational war song. Actually, the one we know it is "Po Atarau" meaning, now is the hour. It is the farewell song of the Maori people. It is quite interesting how this farewell song turned out to be a war song.

All in all, I've bought this record with very little information and I am quite stunned at the experiences I've witnessed. I believe this can be a motivation for me to get deeper into world music apart from Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Om Kalsoum, Ravi Shankar and similar world famous artists which most of us know a lot about.

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