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Dave Dobbyn - Single Review: Nau Mai Ra (Welcome Home)

26 Sep 2017 // A review by Paul Goddard
When the opportunity to review this single came up I almost passed it by. This wasn't about discovering a new song (or so I thought). We all know Dave Dobbyn's Welcome Home it has even been described as New Zealand's unofficial anthem.

As someone who moved to New Zealand 15 years ago, I did connect with the original song and its message when it was first released back in 2005. The heart of the song struck a chord with me as I moved to New Zealand from the UK to settle and create a better lifestyle for myself and my family. I wanted to embrace New Zealand culture and become a part of it. I have no regrets.

This new version of the song is released to coincide with Maori language week and features backing vocals from Maimoa. It makes sense that we finally get the translated version. There is, as always, a drive to keep the native language alive. I get it, I respect it. As a country, we should embrace the Maori language as it is part of what makes us unique.

I also understand the argument that the language has little use outside of New Zealand and our schools are better focusing on teaching Chinese, French or Spanish if we really want our kids to improve their global mobility options. However, listening to the song I realised how important language is and how communication through song is such a great way to keep a language alive and share those words.

One thing that really stands out is the passion and commitment in Dave's vocals. The natural poetic flow of the Maori language enhances the song and the vocals. There is no doubt in his commitment to this version of the song. It did give me goosebumps.

Will it have the desired result of connecting with an audience who can keep the Maori language alive? To be honest I am not sure. If the language isn't passed down to the youth of New Zealand then it will ultimately, eventually die. I doubt this version will get anywhere near the airplay or coverage of the original either which is a shame.

I think the recent release of Ru Ana Te Whenua by Alien Weaponry is an example of how we keep the language alive with the youth of New Zealand. There are other musicians as well.

The technique of learning language through song is fundamental in keeping a language alive so fair play to Dave and every other musician who has done this. If you liked the original English version then make sure you listen to Nau Mai Ra. I actually prefer it and I am glad I didn't pass it by.



Review written by Paul Goddard
 

About Dave Dobbyn

Dave Dobbyn is regarded as a national treasure in New Zealand. Wherever Kiwis gather around the world, it is likely to be songs by Dave Dobbyn they sing when thinking of home.

In 2001, after almost 30 years as a musician and songwriter, Dobbyn was given a rare, lifetime achievement award by the New Zealand recording industry. Instead of a speech, the managing director of Sony New Zealand just read out a long list of song titles - Beside You, Be Mine Tonight, Language, Outlook for Thursday, Loyal, Whaling, Kingdom Come, It Dawned On Me, Guilty, Devil You Know, Slice of Heaven, Magic What She Do, Oughta Be in Love …

These songs, written by Dobbyn, had moved people throughout the country. They were songs they had danced to with their first lover, songs they have married to, songs that made them laugh and cry or even played when burying their loved ones.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Dave Dobbyn

Releases

Beside You
Year: 2009
Type: Album
Anotherland
Year: 2008
Type: Album
Available Light
Year: 2005
Type: Album
Hopetown
Year: 2000
Type: Album
Overnight Success
Year: 1999
Type: Album
The Islander
Year: 1998
Type: Album
Twist
Year: 1994
Type: Album
Lament For The Numb
Year: 1993
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Loyal
Year: 1988
Type: Album
Footrot Flats
Year: 1986
Type: Album

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