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

Joe Driscoll and Sekou Kouyate: Faya (Cumbancha)

Joe Driscoll and Sekou Kouyate: Faya (Cumbancha)

Talk about your global village . . .  Joe Driscoll is a US-born UK-resident who raps, loops, does beatbox and comes from somewhere between flat-tack folk and hip-hop. Sekou Kouyate from... > Read more

ETRAN FINATAWA INTERVIEWED (2006): From sands to stadiums

ETRAN FINATAWA INTERVIEWED (2006): From sands to stadiums

Etran Finatawa have band members from two nomadic groups from around Niger, and play music which sounds like the raw electric blues from Chicago in the Fifties and Sixties. Their electrifying music... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

BELLE AND SEBASTIAN CONSIDERED (2013): A journey of light and shade

BELLE AND SEBASTIAN CONSIDERED (2013): A journey of light and shade

In a world awash with attention-demanding acts like Beyonce, Nicki Minaj, Queens of the Stone Age and so on, it's inevitable that many artists – the more discreet ones usually – go... > Read more

John Key Trio: Back and Forth (Odd)

John Key Trio: Back and Forth (Odd)

Because there is so little money to be made out of releasing a local jazz album, you are surprised to find anyone bothering at all. And that may explain the nine year gap between this by... > Read more