Disjecta Membra together with acclaimed taonga pūoro artist Rob Thorne have today released a new rendition of ‘Whakataurangi Ake’; an old waiata (traditional song) from Rereahu-Maniapoto, composed by the noted kaumatua (tribal elder), Charles Tauhou ‘Pumi’ Taituha (1930-1993).
‘Whakataurangi Ake’ has been recorded and released with thanks and acknowledgement to Jaqui Taituha, mokopuna (grandchild) of Pumi. In further recognition of Pumi’s whānau, hapū and iwi, an interview with Michel (Disjecta Membra) and Jaqui Taituha on Maniapoto FM’s ‘Pātere’ programme is scheduled for Wednesday, 23 December.
Normally, Disjecta Membra might be better known for dark, atmospheric, ‘gothic’ music. But in more than twenty years’ evolution we have also attempted to venture beyond those confines, often drawing from a rich, diverse and unique New Zealand cultural heritage in the process of carving out our own identity.
Similarly, before entering the world of taonga pūoro (traditional Māori instruments), Rob Thorne (Ngāti Tumutumu)’s musical roots lay in the experimental noise and swampy alternative rock scene of Palmerston North. That background in ‘fringe’ music, coupled with Thorne’s emphasis on bringing ancient and modern together, is what led to our seeking out his collaboration on the track.
Our treatment of ‘Whakataurangi Ake’ was initially devised as a form of welcome to visiting bands whom we were playing live support to (incl. Peter Hook & The Light, Mick Harvey & The Intoxicated Men); a re-contextualisation of the song’s frequent use on marae (tribal meeting grounds) throughout the country as a waiata tautoko (song of support) at pōwhiri (welcoming rituals).
For bandmates Michel (Ngāi Tai/Ngāti Tai) and Matthew Tāmati Scott (Waitaha), the piece took on further layers of meaning due to Michel’s grandfather and Matthew’s father having both passed away ahead of our first live performance of the waiata in 2014, supporting Melbourne anarcho-punk/deathrock band Masses.
‘Whakataurangi Ake’ is available for free download from disjectamembra.bandcamp.com, accompanied by a pdf booklet containing original artwork and graphic design by bassist and in-house designer, Isobel Te Aho-White (Ngāi Tahu), alias Izzy Joy. The track was also recorded and produced by Izzy’s brother-in-law, Bryan Tabuteau of Molière Recording.
Rob Thorne’s album, Whāia Te Māramatanga, was released on New Zealand instrumental music label Rattle Records in 2014, to widespread critical praise. He has since toured New Zealand exhaustively, more than once, and in January/February 2016 will be in Berlin, performing and recording a commissioned piece for the CMT Festival for Adventurous Music & Art.
We look forward to several collaborative projects with Rob in the near future.