Kind words about my music... ngā kupu aroha
Huia Hamon has been making music for over a decade. Likely familiar to festival-goers, she is a bilingual performer – her first recording foray putting Te Reo Māori over drum & bass which didn’t really get due recognition at that time.
The beautiful five-track EP (with bonus single mix) is entirely conscious Te Reo over fat and lush electronic beats and beds, organic percussion, smooth harmonies. The lyrics are themed around peace, knowledge, self-reflection, and of course, how we treat the earth. The title Āio track means ‘to be at peace’, especially in relation to how we connect with our physical world.
Tu Tuia – Weave (going out into the world, but returning to your culture and maunga should you lose your way). Tuauri – Indigo (a safe space of love). Tohunga – the revered. And Ngakau Ruwha – a waiata about mental health and looking after yourself, and consulting your own “life book”. Having the singing in te reo is absolutely no barrier to non-Māori-listeners getting into the down-to-earth vibe of this gorgeous, gentle, fresh-sounding release. Warm, smooth, modern musically and lyrically. A true gift to the world.
“Aio - to be at Peace.
Aio is what we strive for in our own minds,
Aio is what nature is calling for and
Aio is what the world needs
Alright first, I'll admit my Te Reo is pretty rough for someone who calls themselves a born and bred Kiwi. I personally hate this, and really wish that we were taught te reo as a compulsory subject in school in order to preserve our countries native language.
However, this isn't a piece about me, and where I think our country could do better, instead this is a piece written for Huia, an Auckland artist, who's EP Āio has just dropped. A quick glance over Huia's artist page on Facebook makes me smile, as she lists her genre as 'World Fusion/Soul/Reggae/Acoustic/Conscious' - her band interests include 'Happiness' - and her influences are 'You... the world and beyond.'
Aio itself is an absolute breath of fresh air in today's music scene - a scene that (although I love) is often inundated with songs about getting lit, and having your heart broken - instead Huia leans more towards a perfect little blend of taking care of your inner self, and also of the natural world that we are surrounded by.
Described as 'electro-haka' - her sound is reminiscent of traditional Maori songs, but also borrows influences from several other genres. It conjures up such a beautiful peaceful feeling, that reminds me of the peace I feel wandering throughout our native land. So, I downloaded the EP to my phone, and went for a wander through the trees with my earbuds in - and whoa, that certainly taught me Āio.
Huia's beautiful little interpretation of the world around her is deeply moving, inspirational, and a reminder to look after the earth we are given - all strong values of the Māori, and all strong values that we should remember in our day to day lives. I encourage you all to give it a listen.