Aro: Manu (Aro)

 |   |  1 min read

Miromiro
Aro: Manu (Aro)
The premise here may sound a bit twee – 10 songs about New Zealand native birds, at some remove from Dudley Benson's art music we would add – which were written by Aro (Charles and Emily Looker) while they were traveling the country in their mobile home.

Sound a bit close to the ever-favourite Kiwi acoustic strum on a beach in summer?

And yes, there are some songs are bit like that. In a couple of places you feel this is maybe aimed more at pre-teens than adults (Kaka, the catchy acoustic strum of Riroriro which sounds ripe for a beach in summer) and the link with the birds sometimes seems very tenuous: the soulful r'n'b Kakariki, the affirmation of Weka which says “I learn from doing and if I fail the first time I'll try again”

But . . .

Frequently enough there's something very appealing going on here, notably in the songs in te reo Maori like the opener Korimako which bounces along on a Caribbean vibe with a little African guitar in the mix. It's a smart opener because it immediately undercuts expectation of something like Jack Johnson's inoffensive vibe with a local twist about birds.

In fact the musicianship through out – haunting and interlocking vocals, stick percussion, evocations of taonga puoro, touches of Latin rhythms – is clever and diverse, and there's a bit of humour scattered about: the slightly woozy Kereru which about them getting drunk on berries.

Piwaiwaka is a beautiful acoustic waiata with a lovely run-out passage at the end, Miromiro (“hold onto love”) is an ear-catcher and the metaphors show a keen intelligence at work behind these.

So although native birds have provided the genesis of this album the lyrics depart into relationships and such, and the music reaches wide into some interesting and diverse areas.

Quite uplifting and different.


ARO, MANU TOUR

Feb 24th| Bunker Unplugged | Auckland

March 1st| D’vine Oasis Community | Russell

March 2nd| Whangarei Quarry Gardens |

Whangarei

March 3rd| Song Conversations | Mangawhai

March 9th| Pompallier Diocesan Centre | Auckland

March 22nd| Luke’s Kitchen | Kuaotunu

March 24th| Eggsentric | Cooks Beach

March 29th| The Refinery | Paeroa

March 30th| Jam Factory | Tauranga

April 5th| Common Room | Hastings

April 6th| Joseph St Kitchen | Palmerston North

April 7th | Raumati Social Club | Raumati South

April 11th| Le Cafe | Picton

April 14th| Fairfield House | Nelson

April 18th| Barrytown Hall | Barrytown

April 20th| Cork Bar | Wanaka

April 21st| Sherwood | Queenstown

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music at Elsewhere articles index

Uncle Earl: Waterloo, Tennessee (Elite)

Uncle Earl: Waterloo, Tennessee (Elite)

This all-women quartet open this diverse, rootsy and often surprising 16-track collection with a kick-arse bluegrass track which is a real attention grabber. And there are others like it scattered... > Read more

Vetiver: The Errant Charm (SubPop)

Vetiver: The Errant Charm (SubPop)

Although on the receiving end of polite but unimpressed reviews in some circles, there's no denying the quiet charm of this album which suggests last light in California and the sun glinting off... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

KIKI GYAN (1957-2004):From dancefloor to death's door

KIKI GYAN (1957-2004):From dancefloor to death's door

Although we can agree there are certain qualitative assessments which can be made about disco tracks, at core the function of the music was clear: get people on the dancefloor and keep them there.... > Read more

JOHN MAYALL IN THE SIXTIES: And Another Man Done Gone . . .

JOHN MAYALL IN THE SIXTIES: And Another Man Done Gone . . .

When veteran British bluesman John Mayall played the Civic in Auckland in 2010, the concert was both disappointing and crowd-pleasing. Disappointing because, although professionally executed, it... > Read more