13 Jul 2024
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 Rakau, He Ngarara
Year: 2024
Type: Album
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

Gig Review: Crushfest @ The Tuning Fork, Auckland - 07/07/2023
07 Jul 2023 // by Kev Rowland
So it was down to Tuning Fork for the first night of the second Crushfest festival. Tonight was going to be Wellington and Auckland bands, and then some of the same will be playing at the second night in Wellington next month.
Read More...
Rain - Single Review: Love and War
15 Jun 2023 // by Kev Rowland
It has been quite a while since I last heard from Wellington-based singer songwriter Cathy Elizabeth, and back then Rain was seen solely as a studio project with Cathy being accompanied by Thomas Te Taite, who provided all the instrumentation including digital drums. Now they are a full band who have been performing live, and it is the first time they have recorded as such, with Thomas now, just providing acoustic guitar (plus engineering and producing etc.
Read More...
Lost Vessels - Single Review: All This Time
01 Jun 2023 // by Kev Rowland
I must admit I was not that impressed when I first saw Lost Vessels play at Crushfest, something they later admitted to me was the worst gig of their career, but since then they have improved in leaps and bounds. This has been noticed by others on the Auckland circuit as they are getting more opportunities with better support slots, and I was not at all surprised when they won the Ding Dong Lounge Battle Of The Bands in November last year.
Read More...
Unwanted Subject - Single Review: Sons of Savages
28 May 2023 // by Kev Rowland
I have caught Unwanted Subject in concert a few times over the last couple of years, and while they have been getting better each time I have seen them, I must admit that nothing prepared me for this, which right from the off is a monster. I have never heard them quite this is aggressive, nor as polished, and this multi-sectioned single sounds almost like a different band as they have pushed their metal roots to the max in this metalcore beast which sees them mixing and blending different genres to create something quite special.
Read More...
Gig Review: Stray Dogs @ AUX, Auckland - 26/05/2023
28 May 2023 // by Kev Rowland
So it was back to Ding Dong Lounge on a Friday night for one of their infamous Emo nights, which tonight was a three-band bill with Stray Dogs having an extended set, supported by Altaea and then up first we had Blindr, a band new to me. Blindr are a quartet featuring Bill Caldwell (vocals, guitar), Blake Woodfield (lead guitar), Jack Power (bass), and Charlie McCracken (drums).
Read More...
Gig Review: Turkey The Bird @ The Ministry of Folk, Auckland - 27/05/2023
27 May 2023 // by Kev Rowland
Back up to Auckland Guide Centre in Mount Eden tonight for my second consecutive gig (Sol suggested it was a turkey sandwich as I am at Vader tomorrow) to see Taranaki’s finest, Turkey The Bird at The Ministry of Folk. Before that we of course had Hoop, who are Al Baxter (vocals, guitar, harmonica, banjo, mandolin), Nick Edgar (vocals, guitar, ukulele, flute, harmonica), Emily Allen (violin, viola), Glenn Coldham (bass) while tonight Gary Hunt was filling in for drummer Rusty Knox.
Read More...
This Silent Divide - Single Review: Beautiful Creature
25 May 2023 // by Kev Rowland
Here we have the latest single from Wellington-based melodic hard rock quartet This Silent Divide, entitled Beautiful Creature. I really enjoyed their Tall Stories EP, and they played a great gig at Dead Witch towards the end of last year, and this would have been recorded at about the same time.
Read More...
Gig Review: Emily Rice @ Your Local Coffee Roasters, Pukekohe - 24/05/2023
24 May 2023 // by Kev Rowland
Earlier this week I had a message from Emily Rice asking me if I lived in South Auckland. When I responded I did, she asked if I would be interested in coming along to an event she was putting on in a coffee shop in Pukekohe to celebrate the release of her new single, Warenoa.
Read More...
View All Articles By Kev Rowland

NZ Top 10 Singles

  • NOT LIKE US
    Kendrick Lamar
  • MILLION DOLLAR BABY
    Tommy Richman
  • PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE
    Sabrina Carpenter
  • BIRDS OF A FEATHER
    Billie Eilish
  • ESPRESSO
    Sabrina Carpenter
  • A BAR SONG (TIPSY)
    Shaboozey
  • TOO SWEET
    Hozier
  • LOSE CONTROL
    Teddy Swims
  • DEVIL IS A LIE
    Tommy Richman
  • GOOD LUCK, BABE!
    Chappell Roan
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