Te Vaka: Olatia (Warm Earth/Ode)

 |   |  <1 min read

Te Vaka: Olatia (Warm Earth/Ode)

This formerly Auckland-based and socially-conscious group have now relocated to Australia, but Te Vaka rarely played in New Zealand anyway. Theirs was always a bigger calling and they spend much time at world music festivals or in the Pacific where their emotional heart remains.

Singer-songwriter Opetaia Foa'i has a real gift in bringing together traditional songs and contemporary pop styles (the man writes what should be hit after hit, but radio doesn't play them) and while there is considerable Pacific warmth in the music there is also a sadness is many songs for what is being lost in this region.

He writes mainly in the language of Tokelau, where his father is from, and sometimes in Tuvaluan and Samoan, and his subjects are about environmental issues such as global warming, or the the need to take care of culture in the face of political and social pressures.

On this, their fifth album, Te Vaka confirm they are the most important voice out of the broader Pacific region and that multi-instrumentalist Foa'i remains a potent songwriting force.

I don't much like the spoken bit by the child in Ki Te Fakaolatia/To The Rescue, but that seems a minor complaint in the face of this typically excellent album.

 

Te Vaka won best group and best album for Olatia at the 2008 Pacific Music Awards held in Auckland. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

Anoushka Shankar and Karsh Kale: Breathing Under Water (Manhattan/EMI)

Anoushka Shankar and Karsh Kale: Breathing Under Water (Manhattan/EMI)

This soundtrack suffers only major drawback in my book: the presence of Sting on the song Sea Dreamer. Is there a more irritating singer on the planet? (Yep, the yelper in Yes. The screacher... > Read more

Malouma; Nour (Harmonia Mundi) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Malouma; Nour (Harmonia Mundi) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

The shrink-wrap that this exceptional album came in provides the clue: "blues woman mauritanienne, transcende les frontieres musicales". And Amen -- or more correctly Allahu Akbar -- to... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

DIANA VREELAND; THE EYE HAS TO TRAVEL, a doco by LISA IMMORDINO VREELAND

DIANA VREELAND; THE EYE HAS TO TRAVEL, a doco by LISA IMMORDINO VREELAND

Oscar Wilde once observed that fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable we have to change it every six months. And the cynical observer of the egos and absurdities in the fashion world would... > Read more

Rory Block: Shake 'Em on Down (Stony Plain)

Rory Block: Shake 'Em on Down (Stony Plain)

Singer-guitarist Rory Block learned directly from Mississippi John Hurt, Son House, Bukka White and others and here – through originals and retooled covers – acknowledges the great... > Read more