Ariana Tikao: Whaea
By Liz Barry
This te reo album is a celebration of Tikao's own motherhood, drawing attention to the role of motherhood in society and calling on the support of the Maori godesses to nuture mother and child, as well as future generations. Tikao draws upon contemporary music styles such as hip-hop and dub, but places a strong emphasis on Maori chant and traditional sounds. Featured on the well presented album are many of Christchurch's top musicians, as well as Nelson-based Ricahrd Nunns, a pioneer in the rebirth of taonga puoro, traditional Maori instruments. Brian Hodges produced, engineered and mastered the album at Christchurch's Manaaki Studios. It is also good to see new label Maorimusic.com provides artists such as Tikao with a quality distribution network and promotional backup, something long overdue for te reo Maori artists by conventional labels. Whether tracks from 'Whaea' get airplay on commercial radio remains to be seen, but talent like Ariana Tikao certainly deserves to be heard across Aotearoa.