Ruia: 12.24 Tekau ma rua, rua tekau ma wha (Tangata)

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Ruia: Piki Kake Ake
Ruia: 12.24 Tekau ma rua, rua tekau ma wha (Tangata)

I had thought the excellent Tangata label was defunct, but this beautifully packaged album suggests otherwise -- and the soulful reggae-flavoured music by singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Hareruia "Ruia" Abraham should ensure the label prospers on the back of this warm and engaging collection.

Ruia (who has previously released two albums of Bob Marley songs in Maori) has a melodic, confident and utterly engaging voice -- but as much of the appeal here lies in the arrangements for the large band which includes seasoned players such as drummer Richie Campbell, Chris Macro (of Dubious Brothers) on programmes and Whirimako Black offering backing vocals on the Kekeke Kooo.

There are subtle hints of traditional waiata and it is entirely sung in te reo, and everywhere there is pride, assurance and a sure sense of the song.

Pretty special.

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