Combining drum and bass with waiata Māori

By Tema Hemi

For over a decade, Huia Hamon has been one of the country's premiere Māori music artists.  She has delivered two solo albums, produced the award-winning Tātou Tātou E Collective and has performed at many festivals, bringing her blend of English and te reo Māori music into the mainstream.  Hamon recently collaborated with Rei and the duo have just released their latest single, Te Pukumeke.  

Deep bass with conscious and political lyrics in te reo Māori, it's the sound of contemporary Aotearoa NZ music.

Hamon says, "Drum and bass is really influential for us ... it has a real broad audience and its fun and up-beat- and tamariki love it too."

Te Pukumeke is the second single release from TOKA, the latest three track EP from Hamon's project, Baitercell.  It's a full te reo Māori E.P with a focus on environmental issues.  

Hamon says, "Really all the songs are about being connected and conscious of the environment around you so that's what Te Pukumeke is, it's a process song.  The majority of it is the way the dairy industry works and what's happening and we all know, we see it on the news all the time."

Award-winning Māori music artist Ranea Aperahama says the culture of Māori music has changed and more artists are moving towards digital platforms and resources to compose and create their music. 

"As we are talking about the future direction of Māori music from here onward ... there are many new faces that are now producing good music, the old guard has changed and now we are seeing the fruits of the next generation of composers.  It's like the world, it's forever evolving."

Hamon says her reo journey has influenced her music and helped her to gain more of an understanding of the world around her. 

"I'm on a real journey to learn te reo Māori as much as I can and I've been really loving working with amazing kaiwaiata and writers, I've worked with Ruia Aperahama who really helped me to kick of that first album, 'Ako ki te reo Māori' and I've also worked with Louise McIvor and Charles Royal- and now I'm working with Rei."

Hamon says that the up-and-coming Māori artists she has connected with are more accustomed to te reo Māori- the future is bright for Māori music in drum and bass.