ARAHI (Arahi Whaanga of Rongomaiwahine descent) is releasing his new single Te Hekenga.
He has teamed up with William Devine (Fane Flaws, Tropical Downbeat Orchestra) on bass and Iraia Whakamoe (The Nudge, Fly My Pretties) on drums, as Te Tokotoru. The trio bursts onto the scene with decades of collective musical experience.
Te Hekenga speaks of a new generation of Māori, coming through and navigating their tikanga in a modern world.
“First of all, my sister wrote the lyrics to Te Hekenga, and we sort of brainstormed over it, but then she took the lead, which turned out great.” Whaanga says. “And really, on the surface, it’s Te Hekinga, the descendants talking about those that have come before us, and how they’ve created a path for us to be where we are today.
He says his earliest influences come from the likes of the ‘King of Rock n Roll’.
“I guess maybe the earliest one was ... my dad was into Elvis, and just seeing that. The music side isn’t really present in my songs but just seeing him do that stuff was like, ‘Man, that’s pretty cool, I want to do that’.”
With Arahi on lead guitar and vocals the Tokotoru trio has a broad style of music with a focus on classic hard rock.
“I get really bored, I do one thing, I’m done, get out of here, I’ll go way over to the other side and go, oh, maybe I’ll do that, and then I’m just back and forward. I went way down the folk route of Dylan, Neil Young and all that stuff, and swung all the way back the other way into the heavier rock stuff. With this new group, Te Tokotoru, that’s doing just pretty classic hard rock.”
Whaanga says Tokotoru is on a te reo Māori journey of discovery and wants to see te eeo being used in more genres of music.
“There’s a tendency for Māori te reo songs to fit a few genres or boxes, you know, and I just really want to see that just branch out completely and be like everything, you know, just something for everyone.”
The Te Hekenga tour continues to Whāingaroa, Friday, October 13 - Te Awanga Hall, Te
Matau-a-Māui, Saturday, October 14 - San Fran, Te Whanganui-a-Tara. Tickets available from Banished.