Moana and the Tribe: Toru
By Mike Moroney
By Moana's own admission, this is not a dance album, rather it's your "thinking person's chill-out album." That's not to say there is no groove here - quite the contrary, some beautiful R&B feels mixed with Indian and Arabian influences picked up from visits to the Buddha Bar in Paris. It puts contemporary Maori music on the world stage in a seamless and unapologetic way. Moana Maniapoto has always had a talent for extracting the best from collaboration with other artists, artists as diverse as Richard Nunns and Dalvanius. Special mention should also be made of the inclusion of a vocal track from the late Hirini Melbourne. The CD also has one of the most attractive covers I've seen with beautiful classical photography throughout. There's nothing lightweight about Moana's songs, they all have a philosophic depth - like you've just been listening to something important and formative. I've had 'Toru' in and out the CD player for over a month now and never tire of it.