29 Nov 2020

Live: Whānau Voices of Aotearoa, far from home

From Music Alive, 6:00 pm on 29 November 2020

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.

* 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.

The Whānau: voices of Aotearoa, far from home fundraising performance in support of top NZ singers who are under-employed in the UK due to Covid-19 is now available to stream on iTunes and Spotify (etc).

The album can also be purchased and downloaded directly from the website www.whanaulondonvoices.com with all proceeds go directly to the artists.


Photo: Whanau Voices London / screengrab

"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."

Related stories from RNZ:

  • Find out more with our introduction to Whānau Voices of Aotearoa, far from home
  • Baritone and organiser Julien Van Mellaerts talks about having covid and how this performance came about
  • New Zealand-Tongan tenor Filipe Manu calls home and tells Jim Mora what he misses, and what he loves
  • WATCH: NZ singers perform ‘Ka Waiata ki a Maria’ live at London’s Royal Albert Hall
  • While the performance is free for all to enjoy, you may contribute directly to these artists through their website whanaulondonvoices.com.

    Music details:

    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/DENIS GLOVER: Flowers of the Sea, from Sings Harry - Harry Grigg (tenor), Bradley Wood (piano)
    LILBURN/ALISTAIR TE ARIKI CAMPBELL: The Hollyford Valley, from Elegy - Benjamin Reason (baritone), Bradley Wood (piano)
    LILBURN/ALISTAIR TE ARIKI CAMPBELL: 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/BLAKE: Tyger, Tyger' from Through the World - Claire Egan (soprano), Bradley Wood (piano)
    FARR/MANHIRE: 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

    Film by TallWall Media: Simon Wall & Louis Carraz Sound by Orientis Recording Services: Simon Vout, Janice White.