3 Jul 2022
UsernamePassword

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking

Aro - Single/Video Review: Tohora

09 Mar 2022 // A review by Kev Rowland

When it comes to describing the music of husband and wife Charles (Ngapuhi, Te Rarawa, Ngati Te Ata, Te Ati Awa) and Emily Looker (nee Rice), AKA Aro, I have long lost all rationality as I love what they do so very much indeed. I was devastated (as were they, to be honest) when their national tour was cancelled last year when we went into lockdown, as I have not heard anyone quite like them. They are both bilingual, and songs are often performed in a combination of Te Reo and English, and that is the case here. Emily takes the lead on this one, with her wonderfully clear vocals contrasting to the almost dance beat we get underneath, which in some ways has more in common with her solo work as Emily Rice. But Charles often joins his voice with hers, adding a wonderful high undertone which takes their vocals in a new direction.

The EP they released towards the end of the year, He Wai, was one of my favourites of 2021, making #3 in my own personal Top 10, and Tohora is the final track on that. It tells the story of how the whale is depicted in Maori legends, as a guardian, much like some people can be in our lives. The song is inspired by the story of kauri and the whale, and the voices and music take us back in time, to a much simpler world. The introduction is incredibly evocative, with calling pipes, gentle chords, and their voices blending and intertwining. From here Emily takes the lead, singing now in English, but the pipe and gentleness is still there before her and Charles are back in Te Reo. For the next verse she is back in English, but now there is a bass and some beats and electronic sounds taking it in a different direction before they lift their voices together. There is always a lightness within their music, plenty of space, so much so that one can walk inside and rest against the notes as they gently pass by. In many ways, their music is so grounded in Aotearoa that they become part of it, and I cannot imagine music quite like this being produced anywhere else.

A wonderful song like this needs an incredible video to match, and we have just that, providing the perfect combination of audio and video. We see Emily in the sea, and Charles in the forest, and then we cut away to two brothers, one in the water beckoning to his brother to leave the beach and come to him. Kauri declines, so Tohora comes onto the land to play, before returning to the sea and inviting Kauri to join him. They go under the waves, but Kauri is threatened by a fierce shark but is saved by Tohora who protects him. The brothers realise they cannot stay together, so Kauri goes back onto the land, and Tohora dives into the sea.

The story is incredibly powerful, and ties in so well with song that one can would think they had been crafted together. It takes us back to a different time, a different world even, one which it is good to remind ourselves of. This is a wonderful artistic endeavour which is very special indeed.

Watch the video here

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )
 

About Aro

Aro consists of husband and wife Charles (Ngapuhi, Te Rarawa, Ngati Te Ata, Te Ati Awa) and Emily Looker (nee Rice). The pair share a passion for the power of language and music to tell stories and remind us of our cultural identity. The duo were finalists for the Maioha Award at the Silver Scrolls (2019) and the APRA Best Children’s Song Award for their song Korimako (2020).




Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Aro

Releases

He Wai
Year: 2021
Type: EP
He Manu Ano
Year: 2020
Type: EP
Manu
Year: 2019
Type: Album
Van Jams
Year: 2018
Type: EP
Aro
Year: 2017
Type: EP

Other Reviews By Kev Rowland

EP Review: Ange.Mac + Shaun Garea
03 Jul 2022 // by Kev Rowland
What we have here is the debut collaboration from Ange.Mac and Shaun Garea.
Read More...
Gig Review: Pale Flag @ Dead Witch, Auckland - 01/07/2022
02 Jul 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Tonight, I was supposed to be at The Tuning Fork for Ekko Park and Jordan Luck but the dreaded Covid had cast its spell and the gig was cancelled earlier in the week. I did a quick check to see what was on at Dead Witch and discovered there was a four-band bill and knowing three of them I could see it was going to be a good night so decided to head that way.
Read More...
Ayla Wesley - Single Review: Say To Me
30 Jun 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Normally, when I am reviewing singles for MNZ the turnaround time we work to is 7 days and it is not unusual for me to work on far tighter deadlines than that, but Ayla was incredibly well organised with the promotion for her second single, and I have been playing this for the last 3 weeks at least. In that time it has become a real earworm, and I have even found myself singing it as I walk around (not a pleasant experience for anyone in the vicinity, let me assure you).
Read More...
Ed Waaka - Single Review: E Kura
30 Jun 2022 // by Kev Rowland
It did not take long for me to fall in love with this song, probably the first 30 seconds I guess, as there is something about it which grabs hold the listener, puts them in a safe place, and lets the singer bare their soul. Soul, yes, this is full of it in a musical sense as well as an emotional one, and when I discovered he was singing about the upcoming birth of his first daughter, whether he would be a good father, and the need to reconnect to his Maori heritage it made a great deal of sense.
Read More...
Danica Bryant - Single Review: Crush
30 Jun 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Here we have the lead single from Danica Bryant’s forthcoming EP, Ego Death, and if this is fully representative, then that is something to look out for. For a young artist she has already had considerable success, mentoring with Bic Runga while also gaining a support slot for Elton John on his ‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road’ tour, and while she has already tasted success on the NZ Hot Singles Chart, I am sure this is going to head the same way.
Read More...
Tia Ward - EP Review: Me and Me Too
30 Jun 2022 // by Kev Rowland
This is the debut EP from Hawkes Bay singer Tia Ward, following on from two singles which were released ahead of time, Under Wraps and Paint Dry, both of which are included here. The first thing which the listener notices are her vocals, which are both understated yet firmly to the fore.
Read More...
Dark Divinity - Single Review: Left For Dead
30 Jun 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Formed in 2017 by drummer Ian Moir, melodic death metal act Dark Divinity have been through quite a lot in the last five years, as not only have they supported the likes of At The Gates, The Haunted, The Black Dahlia Murder and Psycroptic but have already released an EP, some singles and have of course been running the gamut of line-up changes. The most recent of these has seen the departure of singer Jolene Tempest and the return to a male singer in Jesse Wheeler, with the line-up completed by guitarist/bassist Paul Stewart and guitarist Jiji Aligno.
Read More...
Tryonics - Album Review: Fragmented
29 Jun 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Tryonics is the solo project of Hap Richardson, formerly of My Little Pony, Go Victim and Freezer Child. It is completely a one-man affair as Hap not only provided all the music and vocals but also recorded and mixed it as well.
Read More...
View All Articles By Kev Rowland

NZ Top 10 Singles

  • GLIMPSE OF US
    Joji
  • RUNNING UP THAT HILL (A DEAL WITH GOD)
    Kate Bush
  • AS IT WAS
    Harry Styles
  • GO (GODDARD. REMIX)
    Cat Burns
  • VEGAS
    Doja Cat
  • JIMMY COOKS
    Drake feat. 21 Savage
  • BIG CITY LIFE
    Luude And Mattafix
  • I AIN'T WORRIED
    OneRepublic
  • FIRST CLASS
    Jack Harlow
  • ABOUT DAMN TIME
    Lizzo
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem