7 cool things that WAI.TAI would like to share


1. The band's debut EP has surpassed over 3/4 million plays on Spotify - so far. Buy EP here. 2. The band has played at all the big folk festivals in Aotearoa, New Zealand, and several of the very, very cool small regional ones. See what gigs are coming up here. 3. Three of the band's original compositions have been used in five international performances and videos. Listen to some of the EP here. 4. WAI.TAI is collaborating with an international musician and they aim to have 2-3 new tracks by next year. Send us your email and we'll put you on our mailing list for when they're released. 5. WAI.TAI started in 2013 and has had a fluid membership with around 20 amazing musicians participating all over the country. 6. Following the band's first EP it is now working on the next recordings. Send us your email and we'll put you on our mailing list for when they're released. 7. Two tracks from the first EP are being taught in schools. Buy EP here.




What is WAI.TAI Maori-World fusion music?


WAI.TAI is a unique, contemporary, originals band comprising a fluid line up of seasoned musicians that create authentic music from right here in Aotearoa. The band merges it with music from all over the world and seamlessly infuses it with Te Reo Maori language. The results can be in one moment contemplative, and the next upbeat with driving rhythms. The band literally takes you on a musical journey from the Pacific to Europe, to the Middle East, across the African and Asian continents, and to the Americas - with the music from Aotearoa at its core. Alongside a strong selection of originals, the sets also include re-mixes and sometimes 'te-reo-fies' familiar standards from the 60s, 70s and 80s that you'll already know! Like Ray Charles, Hirini Melbourne, Bob Marley, Steve Earle, Fat Freddys Drop, the Mamas and Papas, and Dread Beat Blood. The story-telling part of the performance is told by the band's Orator - mischievous and mysterious - leaving audiences on the edges of their seats waiting for the next tale with its musical accompaniment. Go see where the next gigs are near you.




What does WAI.TAI sound like?


"... heavy on gorgeous vocal harmony and luscious strings, grounded by a tight rhythmic banjo" - Regional News Connecting Wellington, 2019. The musicianship is superb. It's full on rhythms and harmonies. Imagine an eclectic mix of contemporary folk, soft rock, and traditional world music, like a hundred flavours of the world all skilfully combined into a single concert. It's largely acoustic and never predictable, drawing the listener in and seeing them out again safely onto solid ground. Percussion is almost always hand drums, intonations, emotive, driving or subtle - following the music wherever it goes. Every instrument is chosen for its role and the range of instruments is always interesting. The result is no fluff music that is fresh and exciting - a superb mix of originals and surprising re-arrangements of music that audiences thought they knew - until they went to a WAI.TAI concert! Check out the reviews here or listen to some tracks here.




Who has influenced WAI.TAI?


Musical director Robyn Kamira was tutored by adored Maori folk singer songwriter and taonga puoro tohunga, Hirini Melbourne (Tihore mai te Rangi). Hirini shared the the deeper knowledge of the Maori world through his music, and created it to be shared. She also grew up with the music of much loved activist and Jamaican folk singer Bob Nesta Marley (No Woman, No Cry), who also wrote some of the most romantic love songs ever (Turn Your Lights Down Low ...) - both musicians are huge influences in the musical approaches and kaupapa that she has created with WAI.TAI. In addition, the silky smooth vocals and beautiful songwriting of Maisey Rika, who mixes both Te Reo Maori and English lyrics seamlessly, has influenced. Maisey's thoughtful and profound music, shows that she is never afraid to go to the challenging subjects - a barefoot songstress who is closer to Papatuanuku than any high-heeled singer could ever be. Robyn's father Piripi/Phil (Popeye) Campbell was in a 50's/60s rock 'n roll band in Wellington called the Supersonics, an exceptional guitarist and multi-instrumentalist musician, and a key influence in her earliest years. She grew up at the feet of her elders, influenced by their music that was designed to bring joy and inclusiveness to everyone in the room - the so-called Maori Guitar Party (yes it is a thing). She spent around 14 years with national competition kapahaka groups learning how to use her guitar to get 40-odd performers on key and on time. Today, that strong rhythmic playing is a feature of the music - at times driving and at others, as subtle as a drop of water. Finally, in the last five years she met a community of musicians that travel around the country sharing and collaborating on all manner of acoustic and folk music, and creating safe and generous spaces for her to develop her craft. She formed WAI.TAI in 2015 writing and arranging specifically for the group with their first EP 'Hoea' (2016), and keeping in mind Hirini's kaupapa (vision) to make traditional knowledge visible and accessible through music. Go see where the next gigs​ are near you.




What does 'wai-tai' mean?


Wai-tai is the traditional Maori term for ocean water. Here in Aotearoa (New Zealand), it is where the southern-most ocean currents converge. Eventually all peoples around the world are connected by the oceans and waterways. The music honours our connections to each other.




Where is WAI.TAI?


While musical director Robyn Kamira is Auckland based, the band WAI.TAI has a fluid membership which means the line ups vary, bringing the right musicians and instruments together for any occasion and any location. Musicians are based around Aotearoa (New Zealand) with 2 or 3 overseas. The band performs anywhere.




Who are the musicians in WAI.TAI?


WAI.TAI is a collective of musicians who come together in different combinations under the musical direction of Robyn Kamira (Ngati Whatua, Te Rarawa, Te Aupouri, Ngapuhi).

The line-ups vary and musicians for each concert are selected to ensure that the best mix of instruments and styles come together for the occasion.
The range of iwi affiliations amongst the musicians include Ngati Whatua, Te Rarawa, Ngati Raukawa, Ngati Tamatera, Te Ati Awa, Ngai Tahu, Ngapuhi, Te Aupouri, and many more. Their international affiliations include American, English, Rarotongan, Israeli and more. Excellent musicians and spoken word artists have played on WAI.TAI stages and in the recordings. They include Nigel Gavin (maestro guitar, New York), Charles Royal (guitar, bass, Ngati Raukawa, Ngati Tamatera), Marama Davidson (Spoken word, Ngapuhi, Te Rarawa), Kera Washington (African diaspora percussion, Boston), Te Auripo Kamira (vocals, small percussion, Te Rarawa, Te Aupouri), Kirsten Taylor (vocals), Victoria Vigenser (vocals, dulcimer, bodhran), Eamon Nathan (percussion, Ngapuhi), Micheal Young (bass, Texas), Krissy Jackson (fiddle, Te Rarawa), Yair Katz (percussion, Israel), Ora Hohaia (vocals, Taranaki), Leonie Matoe (vocals, spoken word, Taranaki), Wayne Morris (percussion), Janet Muggeridge (mandolin, vocals), Luther Hunt (percussion, Te Ati Awa), Andrea Reid (tin whistle, dulcimer, vocals), Paul Hewitt (drums, Ngati Rarotonga), Antony Royal (bass, narration, Ngati Raukawa, Ngati Tamatera) & Robyn Kamira (vocals, guitar, banjo-uke, banjo, stomp box, Ngati Whatua, Te Rarawa, Te Aupouri). Go see where the next gigs are near you or book us.





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