18 Sep 2019
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Aro - Gig Review: Aro @ The Jam Factory, Tauranga – 30/03/2019

31 Mar 2019 // A review by Corinne Rutherford

It was a glorious evening in Tauranga last night, the sun set in a stunning blaze of glory casting an orange glow over the village. As people started to arrive to see Aro, we all gathered on the deck to watch the beautiful sunset accompanied by Canadian geese in perfect formation flying above us. It was a magical start to the magical evening.

I want to mention that Aro had an impressive range of merch available last night, which also included a translation booklet from Te Reo Maori to English of the lyrics for Manu, the album Aro have been promoting with a mammoth tour through the entire length of the country. The booklet helped immensely with the accompanying story telling which Charles provided and included stunning artwork by Manu Berry.

Aro, who are husband and wife team Charles and Emily Looker (nee Rice) were also joined last night by a friend called Callum, he has just in the last 48 hours re-branded himself under the name of Od.Cassidy (formerly Rewind) and is definitely someone to keep an eye on. Emily and Callum opened the evening with a set of original songs which they sang beautifully. Emotionally charged lyrics delivered from the heart. Callum's soft, faultless guitar playing and warm vocals complimented Emily's sweet vocal tone perfectly. It was a fabulous opener for the stunning performance which followed.

The album Manu meaning bird “is a bilingual – Te Reo Maori & English, 10-track album transcribed from the melodies and rhythms of our native birds”. This is a remarkable album.

Charles and Emily delivered us a selection of songs with alluring vocals and humorous storytelling which had the crowd completely engaged. Each song was educational and delightful and certainly brought the birds characteristics to life. The Kereru song was particularly memorable, what a lovely story that cheeky bird told of the tempting berries.

The set weaved effortlessly between Te Reo Maori and English. Charles playing guitar and Emily a whiz on the looper. They delivered a stunning set. The narrative provided by Charles throughout the evening was informative and entertaining. The inclusion of the Taonga and the accompanying story which Charles told us of the various traditional Maori instruments used on the album had the audience absorbed. The couple combine a wonderful jazzy/pop sound with delightful harmony.

I had the honour of reviewing Manu when it was first released, I said that the album is lively and cheerful yet at the same time inspiring and engaging. That is exactly what Aro delivered in their performance.

As the evening drew to a close and the last song played out, I witnessed something I have never seen before at The Jam Factory or at any intimate event in recent memory. A standing ovation, a testament to the stunning performance from this duo. Needless to say, we got one more song before the night ended, but the audience could have happily stayed on and listened to more if we could of.

If you ever get a chance to see Aro perform, go and see them. Keep an eye out for the wonderful Od.Cassidy, and listen closely to the melodies, rhythms and stories of Aotearoa's native birds. They have significant messages for all of us.

 

About Aro

‘Aro mai, Aro atu, aroha’
To face, to be faced, to love.

Aro are a blend of stories in song expressing the people, the culture and the land of Aotearoa.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Aro

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