Entertainment | Hip hop

Moerewa to the world – local hip-hop artist ECAL shares his home with Aotearoa

Northland musician ECAL has released his new song, Soul Food, as part of NZ Music Month, (Te Marama Puoro o Aotearoa 2024.) In this latest single, he pays homage to his hometown of Moerewa and what it means to be from the Far North.

Erima Davis (Ngāti Manu) but better known as ECAL is a Northland hip-hop artist whose latest release shows the power of whānau, relating the feeling to that of food which satisfies the soul.

“It’s all about the stories, the sharing and the whanaungatanga,” he says.

He was born and raised in Moerewa, a small community in Northland which has faced the typical small town difficulties.

He says because of the environment he was exposed to growing up, that in turn led him to hip-hop.

“Growing up in this environment, we have to deal with a lot of hurdles and adversities. So we build a lot of resilience in these communities. It’s a strong community, so hip-hop just naturally had a strong presence in communities like Moerewa.”

‘Honest and truthful’

His father, Ngahau Davis, is a well-known face in Moerewa for his advocacy for the town and his work with youth.

He says the music his son produces is something he supports wholeheartedly.

“If you sit down and you listen to the lyrics, that’s his, that’s been Erima’s way of expressing the world around him, how he sees it, the good, the bad, the ugly but being very honest and truthful to that.”

Moerewa, like many small communities across the country, was one of the towns affected by the staff layoffs in the freezing work industry in the1980s.

Ngahau says those effects still gnaw at the heart of the community.

“The impact on those families and those people have been quite horrific to be honest. And to see a lot of our whānau coming through that and taking that power back, because that for me is the big thing, it’s about understanding who you are, ko wai au and understanding the gifts you bring.”

However the artist says whānau should not stay down and out. “Rather pursue your passions with everything you’ve got.”

“Never limit yourself to anything you know. If there’s something that you want to try, give it a hundred, stick to your guns and just pursue what you’re passionate about.”