Te Vaka: Amataga/The Beginning (Border)

 |   |  1 min read

Te Vaka: Tike Te Galu
Te Vaka: Amataga/The Beginning (Border)

Now billed in small print as Opetaia's Te Vaka – after their leader, singer and songwriter Opetaia Foa'i – this expat pan-Pacific group with roots in Tuvalu, Samoa, Tokelau and the Cook Islands emerged here 20 years ago.

But for the past decade have been based in Australia while taking their gently hypnotic and often socially aware music to world music and cultural festivals around the globe.

This, their eighth album, once more offers appealing, exotic-sounding Pasifika music full of joyous shouts and lively percussion (Siva Mamalu/Majestic Dance) as they bring the warmth and concerns of Pacific peoples to their elevating, pop-framed and acoustic-based sound.

This engaging, effortlessly melodic music with messages of love for family and respect for the world we have been given (“Put back more than you take” on the title track) is hard to deny, and the lament for the missing on the Malaysian Airlines' flight (Tolu Fitu O/370) is heartfelt.

Although the support for the peoples of West Papua on Papua I Sisifo/West Papua comes off more a campaign slogan rather than a fully realised song in the comparison with others here.

Foa'i is however an astute producer: The rhythmic backdrop of Sasa Le Vao/Cut the Grass is a widescreen swishing sound evoking a scythe, and there are the interwoven rhythms of log drums on the terrific Tike Te Galu (which sounds ripe for an electronica remix).

And it all comes with chiming guitar parts which often have a gentle, oceanic surge about them.

As always with Te Vaka this is recommended, not just for the uniqueness of their cultural voice and the matters they address, but the classy and world class music which woes you into their world.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

Various Artists: Rumba Blues (Rhythm and Blues Records/Southbound)

Various Artists: Rumba Blues (Rhythm and Blues Records/Southbound)

From the same label which has brought the superb 4-CD sets of rhythm and blues (here) comes this equally excellent 26-song collection of post-war material which had soaked in a Latin rumba-shuffle... > Read more

Chinbat Baasankhuu: The Art of the Mongolian Yatga (Arc Music)

Chinbat Baasankhuu: The Art of the Mongolian Yatga (Arc Music)

For those who haven't been paying attention, the Mongolian yatga is like a cross-border cousin to the Korean gayageum, Japanese koto and Chinese gu-zheng. We're joking of course. You're... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

BARRY HUMPHRIES ON THE RECORD: The early life of an agent provocateur

BARRY HUMPHRIES ON THE RECORD: The early life of an agent provocateur

At his first Pan-Australia Dada exhibition, Barry Humphries had packages printed up bearing the name Platitox, which allegedly contained a poison to put in creeks to kill the platypus, that... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: Dr John; The Original Album Series (Rhino)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Dr John; The Original Album Series (Rhino)

The Dr John of today -- 71 in November -- is in many ways a very different musician to the one which emerged in the late Sixties, and that's probably a good thing. If he'd kept on styling... > Read more