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Tom Knowles - Single/Video Review: My People

01 May 2023 // A review by Kev Rowland
It does not take very much to recognise one of Tom Knowles’ main inspirations, as this has the stamp of Troy Kingi all over it, although one must say this is delivered with a much broader sense of humour. It is interesting to hear just how light-hearted this is, as the chorus has “My People Once Were Warriors”, a reference to what is widely regarded as the finest New Zealand film ever made, a violent and incredibly disturbing movie which included Cliff Curtis amongst its cast. The song is reggae lite, with a smooth pop hook, and is incredibly infectious so that when listening to it the only thing to do is to sway along with the groove and sing.

However, although there are some wonderfully serious touches and nuances within, some of the keyboard sounds are deliberately quite dated, and I am not sure the last time I heard a kazoo solo anywhere (possibly The Axis of Awesome?). The video follows a similar theme, filmed in dramatic black and white, starring the tamariki of Bohally Intermediate School Kapa Haka group, along with Tom performing either seriously or to get a rise out of the watcher.

"I wrote this song to celebrate my people and their strength, resilience, and our whakapapa," Tom said. "I want to inspire others to connect with their cultural roots, and to find pride and joy in who they are and where they come from." Certainly, “joy” is a great way to describe this song which I thoroughly enjoyed, and I am sure many others will as well.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About Tom Knowles

Tom Knowles is an all ages, multi instrumentalist, actor and singer- songwriter from Aotearoa, more recently blending his unique style of reggae with elements of pop and rock to create a sound that is both captivating and authentic. Epic layers of harmony, walls of sound, silky smooth baselines, smokey vocals catchy ear worm hooks and plush percussion will have you bopping, moving and grooving.

He has featured in numerous films and television shows, and he has performed at some of the world's most exciting venues and festivals, including the Darwin Arts Festival, the San Diego Fringe festival, with an Orchestra at Covent Garden In London, he has toured to Mexico, and was part of the headlining act for the Big Gay Out, NZ Cabaret Festival and the Cubadupa festivals in New Zealand.

Knowles has also received critical acclaim for his work, with reviewers praising his ability to craft thoughtful and emotionally resonant songs that connect with audiences of all ages and highlight what it is to be human.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Tom Knowles


Atarangi: Morning Sky
Year: 2023
Type: Album

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