RNZ Concert is proud to present Whānau: Voices of Aotearoa, far from home, a beautiful performance of Aotearoa and Pacific songs, hymns and lullabies by some of our best opera singers, live at the Royal Albert Hall. Listen on the radio from 6 pm Sunday 29 November, or here, now:
* find the song list and performers at the bottom of this page.
Twenty-one singers, pianist Bradley Wood and conductor Tianyi Lu had all made the call to leave NZ and forge international careers based in the UK. But Covid has meant few performances - and therefore little income - since March. Most cannot afford to come home. Instead, they gathered together to create this socially distanced fundraising concert and love letter home just before London’s current Covid-19 lockdown.
The welcome is given by the Ngāti Rānana London Māori Club.
The red grand piano featured in the video belonged to Elton John, who toured with it extensively before donating it to the Royal Albert Hall. The hall allowed Whānau Voices to use the venue free of charge.
"We are so excited to be sharing this event for the first time with Aotearoa and the rest of the world, says organiser and sort-after soprano Madeleine Pierard. "This concert is a labour of love, of loss, and of a need to find our whānau in this sea of uncertainty. It is a beautiful reflection of the music and culture we hold dear and while it’s a gift for the world and for Aotearoa, it was an incredibly healing and profound experience for all of us involved. One that I am incredibly proud to have been part of.
"It has been a trying time for so many over here, but particularly artists, as theatres have been almost entirely dark since March, with very little hope of returning audiences in the near future. The donations from this concert will all go towards helping our Kiwi artists recover from this devastating loss of our livelihood. We are so touched by the donations we have already received - so many are from New Zealand - and we know viewers will be able to see and hear how much of an emotional and beautiful event it was, showcasing music some of our most gifted professional and rising young singers, most of whom hadn’t had the chance to sing publicly for months."
While the performance is free for all to enjoy, you may contribute directly to these artists through their website whanaulondonvoices.com.
NGĀTI RĀNANA LONDON MĀORI CLUB: Pōwhiri - Ngāti Rānana London Māori Club
RICHARD PUANAKI: Ka Waiata - Choir
FA’ATUI FUIMĀONO: Tōfā mai feleni -Isabella Moore (soprano), Madison Nonoa (soprano), Benson Wilson (guitar)
PRINCESS TE RANGI PAI arr. Diane Cooper: Hine e Hine - Madeleine Pierard (soprano), Choir
BUB BRIDGER/ROSS HARRIS: Wild Daisies (1) Wild Daisies - Carleen Ebbs (soprano), Bradley Wood (piano)
BUB BRIDGER/ROSS HARRIS: Wild Daisies (2) Gossip - Kamilla Dunstan (mezzo-soprano), Bradley Wood (piano)
BUB BRIDGER/ROSS HARRIS: Wild Daisies (3) The Swans - Madeleine Pierard (soprano), Bradley Wood (piano)
BUB BRIDGER/ROSS HARRIS: Wild Daisies (4) In the City - Sophie Sparrow (soprano), Bradley Wood (piano)
BUB BRIDGER/ROSS HARRIS: Wild Daisies (5) Summer's Coming - Rhonda Browne (mezzo-soprano), Bradley Wood (piano)
TRADITIONAL arr Steve Rapana: Lota Nu’u - Christie Cook (mezzo-soprano), Choir
LILBURN: Flowers of the Sea, from Sings Harry - Harry Grigg (tenor), Bradley Wood (piano)
LILBURN: The Hollyford Valley, from Elegy - Benjamin Reason (baritone), Bradley Wood (piano)
LILBURN: Reverie, from Elegy - Kieran Rayner (baritone), Bradley Wood (piano)
TRADITIONAL (Translation by Mele Lufilufi): Efiafi, peau ongo'i vale - Filipe Manu (tenor, ukulele)
P.H. TOMOANA adapted for Whānau London Voices: Pōkarekare ana - Choir, Julien Van Mellaerts (baritone), Filipe Manu (tenor), Isabella Moore (soprano), Madison Nonoa (soprano)
HAMILTON: 'Sure on this shining night' from This Shining Night (Night Songs II) - Jonathan Eyers (baritone), Clinton Fung (baritone), Bradley Wood (piano)
MCLEOD: Tyger, Tyger' from Through the World - Claire Egan (soprano), Bradley Wood (piano)
FARR: Kiwi, from Ornithological Anecdotes - Julien Van Mellaerts (baritone), Bradley Wood (piano)
KATHERINE BELL: Te Mea Nui - Leila Alexander (soprano), Choir
HENARE NGAERA O'KEEFE: My Best Friend, for Pam O'Keefe - Phillip Rhodes (baritone), Bradley Wood (piano)
TRADITIONAL NGĀTI KAHUNGUNU LULLABY arr Robert Wiremu: Te Oriori o Nohomaiterangi - Benson Wilson (baritone), Bradley Wood (piano)
A RITCHIE: Ataturk Memorial from Gallipoli to the Somme - Sophie Sparrow (soprano), Choir
TRAD arr. Paraire Tomoana and Carl Doy: Tarakihi - Marlena Devoe (soprano), Phillip Rhodes (guitar), Benson Wilson (percussion), Bradley Wood (piano), Choir
CLEMENT SCOTT (Māori words by Maewa Kaihau) arr Madeleine Pierard: Pō Atarau: Now is the Hour - Phillip Rhodes (baritone), Choir
Conducted by Tianyi Lu