TE VAKA : Live In Concert DVD
By Gareth Shute
Te Vaka is a group of around ten musicians gathered from the various Pacific Islands. Fronting the group is Samoan-born Opetaia Foa'i whose family emigrated to New Zealand when he was nine. He has personally made an enormous contribution to our musical heritage, especially with Te Vaka. The band were based in Auckland for nearly a decade until recently relocating to Sydney. International interest in the group has seen them travelling widely across the globe over the last five years. The central attraction of the group is their blend of traditional Polynesian musical styles combined with elements of popular Western music. Their second DVD brings over 100 minutes of live footage from two live shows - one in Samoa (September 2005) and another in Tahiti a month later. There are also a couple of music videos and some behind the scenes footage from the Tahitian tour. The live show itself switches between musical performances and other sections of modernised traditional dance. The music is acoustic driven, but backed by smooth electric guitar and funky bass. The rolling log drum rhythms come to the fore during the dance sections and it is here that the group are most able to show their unique talents. Personally, I was less taken by the syrupy ballads and slow R&B moments, but for fans for Pacific and world music this DVD will likely be a worthwhile investment.