Te Vaka: Havili (Spirit of Play/Triton)

 |   |  1 min read

Te Vaka: Taku uo pele
Te Vaka: Havili (Spirit of Play/Triton)

Te Vaka have refined and defined a particular kind of pan-Pacific pop with its roots in tradition but driven by ringing folk-rock guitars as much as percussion, and on this melody-stacked album writer-singer Opetaia Foa'i and band seem to have hit a new peak.

It is almost as if their relocation from New Zealand to Australia has pulled them back to what they did best, but also that they have been reinvigorated by their new environment (which accounts for the didgeridoo on Luga ma lalo).

With log drums alongside a standard drum kit, electric guitars beside acoustic, and children's voices as well as hefty male chanting, these 13 tracks -- recorded in just three weeks in Australia and Auckland -- have a vibrancy and freshness which leaps off the disc.

Logo te pate has urgency and a terrific chorus, Moemiti delivers with a slightly off-beat funk edge, the scene setting instrumental Tuamalo sounds like it was recorded right on a Pacific beach before the rains came, and Lovely World is gentle folk with soulful singing by Olivia Foa'i and an arrangement which allows for cello, violin and cannoning drums.

Tamaiti uma -- with the children's voices behind Opetaia's yearning vocals - manages to avoid the tweeness which the sound of little kids can often dictate.

Punctuated by percussion interludes and ending with the reflective Kofu o lakau, this album (their seventh?) finds Te Vaka at a musical peak and Opetaia's universal concerns -- positivity and hope, the loss of friends, the gift of family -- make this a heartfelt album on every level.

Summer always seems at hand when Te Vaka are around.

Like the sound of this? Then check out this.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music from Elsewhere articles index

WOMAD ARTIST 2013; MARTIN PERNA OF ANTIBALAS INTERVIEWED (USA/Africa)

WOMAD ARTIST 2013; MARTIN PERNA OF ANTIBALAS INTERVIEWED (USA/Africa)

They might have come thundering out of Williamsburg, a suburb on New York City, but the big ensemble Antibalas have a mainline connection to the sounds of Afrobeat (particular that of it's... > Read more

La Chiva Gantiva: Pelao (Crammed Discs)

La Chiva Gantiva: Pelao (Crammed Discs)

With horns and electric guitars, this outfit which was formed in Brussels by expat Colombian percussion players bring as much funk and Fela Afrobeat as they do rocked-up South American sounds... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE BARGAIN BUY: Nirvana; In Utero

THE BARGAIN BUY: Nirvana; In Utero

Has it been almost 25 years since this, Nirvana's final studio In Utero? After the unexpected success of Nevermind, Kurt Cobain wanted to re-establish their outsider and gritty position and so... > Read more

BRIAN ENO: THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH (2011) (Sexy Intellectual/Triton DVD)

BRIAN ENO: THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH (2011) (Sexy Intellectual/Triton DVD)

Despite the title here being appropriated from David Bowie, this does seem a fair description of Brian Eno, the self-described "non-musician" who made his name in Roxy Music as the... > Read more