Te Whaiao (Te Ku Te Whe Remixed) features the work of:
Production: Chris Macro, Tim Gummer
Best Mäori Album, NZ Music Awards, 2007
While he was still with us, Hirini Melbourne expressed a hope that the waiata would find new voices, new rhythms, and new listeners. And so Te Ku Te Whe (“the woven mat of sound”) is unrolled again in Te Whaiao.
Through its layering of digital textures and live performances, Te Whaiao (“daylight”) opens a new window into a space in our shared musical consciousness. The music on the superb CD has been created with respect and aroha.
Ko Te Whaiao he ropu whakaari moemoea e whakahou ana i te hopunga tipua o Te Ku Te Whe a Hirini Melbourne raua ko Richard Nunns, ara, to raua hopu niwhaniwha i nga taonga puoro, i whakaputaina e Rätara i te tau 1993.
I te wa e ora tonu ana a Hirini Melbourne, i whakaputaina e ia töna tümanako kia whanau mai i te waiata he reo hou, he ungeri hou, a, he kaiwhakarongo hou.
Kati, ko te Ku me Te Whe, te whariki raranga o te oro, e wharikitia ana i roto o Te Whaiao. Ma ana oro whakapaparanga me öna whakaputa ora, e whakatawheratia ake ana e Te Whaiao, he tirohanga hou ki te whatu manawa I titoa Te Whaiao i runga i te mauri o te ngakau mahaki i te mauri hoki o te aroha.
In 1994, Hirini Melbourne and Richard Nunns walked into a recording studio to make an album that marked the culmination of 30 years of travel, research, korero, composing and performing. The studio was booked for two weeks, but after a day and a half, the album was finished. Te Ku Te Whe went on to become the definitive recording of taonga puoro – the treasured musical instruments of Mäori, and in 2002 the album reach 'gold status' for sales in New Zealand.
Richard and Hirini continued to perform together live, but weren’t to record again together until 2002, when, with Aroha Yates-Smith they recorded Te Hekenga-ä-rangi. At these sessions, Hirini talked about exploring new approaches and contexts for their music, in particular the introduction of beats and digital manipulation. Shortly before the release of Te Hekenga-a-rangi, Hirini died of cancer.
Some years went by and Hirini’s musings stayed with us. It took some time to get our heads around how a remixed Te Ku Te Whe might sound, how to approach such a project, and who to involve. The very thought of ‘messing’ with a recording that in itself was by now a recognized taonga, seemed almost irreverent. Yet, the idea of the sound being frozen like a museum artefact was antithetical to spirit of discovery that drove Hirini and Richard in their commitment to literally unroll their whariki (mat) and bring the taonga to life.
As a hands on ‘art music’ label with an overtly naturalistic acoustic focus, Rattle had never produced anything even remotely downbeat or electronica orientated. Furthermore, we’d determined that the narrative structure of the original Te Ku Te Whe would be vital to the integrity of remixed version. It was only later that we noticed how rare the replication of an album structure was in any of the remix albums we could think of. In asking a dream team of remixers to reinterpret the music, without reference to the preceding and following tracks, we really were expecting a lot.
The remixers we approached responded positively, with a generous musicality, and with nothing less than the utmost respect for the wairua of the original music. And so, with the blessing of Richard Nunns and Hirini’s whanau, Te Whaiao opens a new window on taonga puoro for a new generation.
RAT-D014 (2006)This project was made possible with the support of Te Mangi Paho.
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