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Here's Five: Geneva From SoccerPractise Shares Her Favourite Matariki-Inspired Waiata

Here's Five: Geneva From SoccerPractise Shares Her Favourite Matariki-Inspired Waiata

Wednesday 21st June, 2017 3:44PM

Matariki is fast approaching and Auckland outfit SoccerPractise will be launching a three-day celebration down at Silo Park next Friday. In preparation for the event, the four-piece have been penning a new song about the aligning of stars which marks the Maori new year, and in order to inform her songwriting bandmember Geneva Alexander-Marsters unearthed and researched various songs that had the name Matariki as the title. Here she shares with us some of the stellar compositions she discovered...

1. Matariki - Koan
(Matariki, 2009 )

Starting off we have this down beat instrumental track from an international band called, Koan. Daniel Roeth and William Grey, are a duo based in Moscow, Russia. I don’t know what their connection to Matariki is (I did try to find out) but it must have made a profound impression because they called the album Matariki as well. It seems like they have been solidly producing electronic music since the 90s, playing outdoor festivals and big sweaty tents with lasers. I can totally imagine being down in da club and doing some kind of spacial contemporary movement to this. Expect some pretty deep ambient modern chill out vibes and a mandolin with a wee bit of delay. 

2. Matariki - Ariana Tikao
(Tuia, 2008)

Upon my research I came across this talented beauty, Ariana Tikao. Her 2007 album “Tuia" features a waiata about the Matariki constellation being the mark of the new year. What struck me about it was her use of repetitive lyrics and haunting melodic harmonies. I feel like it captures the prominent atmosphere of Winter Solstice. It got me thinking about the frosty mist that appears on winter mornings, that show Vikings and the musical workings of Fever Ray.

3. Matariki - Various Artists
(Whiri Tū Aka, 2013)

Producer and Musician Mina Ripia (WAI), took the initiative to gather strong wahine vocalists to feature on a devised acapella compilation of songs, to challenge Maori songwriting in it’s purist form. Without the accompaniment of musical instruments and using multiple fluid harmonies, the soundscape they produce cradles the stories within the waiata.
“Whiri Tū Aka” features ngā manu tioriori:
Gaynor Rikihana (WAI ); Kirsten Te Rito; Betty-Anne Monga (Ardijah) and Lisa Tomlins.
It’s incredible.

4. Papatuanuku - WAI
(WAI 100%, 2000)

The album WAI 100% is an important step toward the experimental contemporary sound of Māori music. It incorporates dark heavy beats with Te Reo Māori and has a special place in my heart. The song choice 'Papatūānuku' is totally within the context of the theme. By acknowledging Matariki, I must pay some attention to our Whaea Whenua, Papatūānuku as well. This waiata is about her relationship with Ranginui the Sky Father. A little back story: In the beginning, it was a time of complete darkness. Ranginui and Papatūānuku used to hold each other in a tight, loving embrace. Their children lived in that darkness between them and as they grew stronger, some of the children succeeded in separating their parents. Some say that the god of the wind Tāwhirimātea was against their separation, ripping out his eyes in anguish and throwing them into the sky. Those bolts of lightning are believed to be Matariki. It is a sad tale because Papatūānuku and Ranginui still yearn for each other to this day, sometimes we see his tears when the rains falls. Maori Mythology is rad. Enjoy.

5. Matariki - Toni Huata
(Hopukia, 2012)

This haunting mixture of soprano harmonies takes me outside of our Earth's atmosphere, and into the cool weightless vacuum of space, where Matariki live. Toni Huata lifts her voice to the heavens, naming each star. I love the control she has in her voice, as it firmly glides between each note. Matariki has a vast array of origin stories across the many Iwi nations of Aotearoa. I came across the Ngati Toa belief that the Matariki constellation is a family. It is said that Matariki is the mother of six daughters: Tupu-a-Nuku; Tupu-a-Rangi; Waitī; Waitā; Waipuna-a-Rangi and Ururangi. These stars annually descend from the heavens to visit their tūpuna wahine (grandmother) Papatūānuku, the Earth Mother. They help her prepare for the new year ahead. If I met a star goddess, it would be like this waiata: Beautiful, scary and completely at their mercy. 

Soccerpractise will be launching Matariki at Silo Park on 30th June, head over here for more details, and head over here to soak up their latest single 'Amene'.


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Matariki Festival - Soccer Practise
Fri 30th Jun
Silo Park, Auckland