7 Dec 2023

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Te Kaahu - Album Review: Te Kaahu O Rangi

18 Dec 2022 // A review by Kev Rowland

A few months ago, I was fortunate enough to review The Others Way Festival in Auckland. It is an interesting event in that it is held in venues either in or close to Karangahape Road, and I was determined to review in every venue at least once so made up a list comprising both artists I knew I just had to see (Shepherds Reign, Dance Exponents etc.) plus getting in and out of venues. Consequently, I found myself in Pitt Street Methodist Church in time to see Te Kaahu, a project by renowned pop singer Theia (Waikato-Tainui, Ngati Tiipa). To say I was stunned by what I witnessed was something short of an understatement and I was soon asking if there was an album, and if so, could I review it?

Whoever managed to book Te Kaahu into a church was inspired, as this album is full of music and performance which belongs in a place like that, full of light and room for the voices to swell. That night, Theia was accompanied by another singer and three musicians, and it was all about providing support for her incredible vocals. Here we get multi-tracked harmonies with some reverb, and an accompaniment which is designed to keep them front and centre. Performed completely in Te Reo, I must confess to not know what any of the songs are about, but they sound spiritual and if there are angels, I can imagine them singing like this, high and clean.

This album is quite unlike any other I have ever come across, and I am actually pleased that I cannot understand the words as it allows me to immerse myself in music which demands to be played on headphones when full attention can be provided to what is going on with no distractions. To say this is beautiful is something of an understatement, as it is uplifting and special in so many ways. Award-winning producer Jol Mulholland has worked with Theia to create something unique, something which she rightly describes as taonga tuku iho, something to be handed down the generations. There are plans to release this on vinyl at some point, which this fully deserves, but until then I urge all lovers of incredible spiritual singing to listen to this on headphones, on repeat. You will feel blessed that you have come across it.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

About Te Kaahu

Te Kaahu honours the craft and skill of Maori songwriting and storytelling and is the brainchild of singer and songwriter Theia (Waikato-Tainui, Ngati Tipa). Theia is a fierce proponent for the revitalisation of Maori language and culture, and through Te Kaahu she seeks to shine a light on the beauty and vulnerability in waiata Maori.

Te Kaahu’s debut album Te Kaahu O Rangi was released to critical acclaim in 2022, winning this year’s Taite Prize: Best Debut award and receiving nominations for Best New Artist at the 2022 Rolling Stone Awards; Best te reo Maori Album in the 2022 Waiata Maori Music Awards, Best Alternative Artist in 2022 AMAs; Favourite Album, Favourite Single, Favourite Solo Act and Tohu Puoro o te reo Maori at the 2022 Student Radio Network Awards.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Te Kaahu


Te Kaahu O Rangi
Year: 2022
Type: Album

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