TE VAKA PROFILED, AT AUDIOCULTURE (2017): Pasifika to the world

 |   |  1 min read

TE VAKA PROFILED, AT AUDIOCULTURE (2017): Pasifika to the world

The acclaim for Opetaia Foa’i of Te Vaka for his music on the soundtrack to the animated Disney film Moana – which topped the Billboard soundtrack and children’s charts, and went to No.2 on the main US charts – is a story many decades in the telling.

For those who haven’t followed Te Vaka, it may seem like an overnight success, but they’ve long been a twist on the famous ad slogan: They are “world famous … except in New Zealand”.

Until the success of the Moana music, which went to No.1 on the New Zealand charts, Foa’i and Te Vaka have rarely been part of New Zealand’s musical landscape. Certainly they have lived in Australia for quite a while but in New Zealand – where they have been critically acclaimed but rarely performed as they spent so much time touring overseas – their music was barely acknowledged in their early years.

“Maybe it was too familiar in this area,” said Opetaia in 2002. “People would go, ‘Huh, what do you want to do that for?’ That was the attitude here.”

But Moana has changed all that.

“I think this [film] will awaken some sort of sense of pride in people,” he told the New Zealand Heraldlate last year at the film’s launch. “And hopefully they will go, ‘Oh, I need to go back and reconnect and put my feet on the land and discover, find out about my roots.’ ”

And those roots reach across many Pacific cultures, entwined by language, custom and heritage from Hawaii to Aotearoa New Zealand.

Opetaia Foa’i – chosen by Disney after they heard the band’s many albums – seems an almost obvious pick as the one to bring authentic Pacific beats, harmonies and language to the blockbuster project.

The story of the pan-Pacific sound of Te Vaka began . . . 

To read the full article on Te Vaka's remarkable journey go here to audioculture.co.nz.

Audioculture is the self-described Noisy Library of New Zealand Music and is an ever-expanding archive of stories, scenes, artists, clips and music. Elsewhere is proud to have some small association with it. Check it out here.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Absolute articles index

THE ROLLING STONES LIVE IN CHICAGO (2002): Men of Stone

THE ROLLING STONES LIVE IN CHICAGO (2002): Men of Stone

From the back row of Chicago's United Centre, about four storeys above the stage, Mick Jagger - not the biggest of men anyway - is the size of a matchstick held at arm's length.But even without his... > Read more

DAVE LISIK INTERVIEWED (2011): Ancient, contemporary and to the future

DAVE LISIK INTERVIEWED (2011): Ancient, contemporary and to the future

Even a cursory glance at the website for Canadian-born, American-educated and Wellington-resident composer/musician Dave Lisik is impressive for his work ethic. Aside from noting him being a... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . STRAWBERRY WALRUS: Let me take you down . . . and down

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . STRAWBERRY WALRUS: Let me take you down . . . and down

The jury will be out on "the worst album ever" until the judge directs it on exactly how we define the word "worst". For many "worst" would immediately be... > Read more

THE POWER OF SPEECH: A Short Story in a Strange Tongue

THE POWER OF SPEECH: A Short Story in a Strange Tongue

I recently spent a rather distressing luncheon engagement with a moderately well-known author. Aside from hearing much invaluable gossip about better known writers than my friend, I was also... > Read more