Te Vaka | Te Vaka

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World: South Pacific World: World Fusion Moods: Type: Vocal
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Te Vaka

by Te Vaka

The vibrant blend of traditional rhythms, indigenous instruments and captivating vocals with globally influenced contemporary sounds creates a fusion that is both fresh and original. Te Vaka’s forceful rhythms, inspired melodies, and heartfelt songwriting
Genre: World: South Pacific
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Tokelau
1:02 $0.99
2. Te Namo
5:02 $0.99
3. Pate mo tou vae
2:56 $0.99
4. Papa e
4:17 $0.99
5. Ki te la
4:26 $0.99
6. Tautai e
4:10 $0.99
7. Vaka gaoi
2:15 $0.99
8. Tagi Sina
2:03 $0.99
9. Te Vaka
3:10 $0.99
10. E Keli
3:14 $0.99
11. Ika Ika
4:56 $0.99
12. Siva mai
4:13 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"Te Vaka" is the first Te Vaka album written by Opetaia Foa'i. Opetaia is have Tokelauan and Half Tuvaluan. He was born in Samoa and grew up in a Tokelauan Community until the age of nine when the whole family moved to New Zealand. He was immersed in music from a very early age learning to play instruments from his uncles. The whole Tokelau community was deeply and spiritually involved with music (every gathering being an opportunity for people to sing together): this sparked his passion for music and is a major influence in is songwriting.



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If you are looking for something refreshingly new and bright. Rejoice, for Te Vaka is here to bring Island bliss to the heartland! Ceaselessly globe-trotting, this 10 piece ensemble is bringing the cheerful pleasures of Pacific Island Music to the world with colourful style and joie de vivre. An impeccable songwriter, Opetaia Foa’i crafts rootsy folk music sung in the Polynesian dialect of Tokelau with attractive swing rhythms performed on indigenous instrumentation, including log drum and open-tuned guitar. The songs “Papa e” and “Tautai e” don’t need English translations for one to savor the lovely male-female duets, powerful backing chorus, perky percussion, warm guitar rhythms, and beautiful melodies. Also, renowned for it’s percussive skills, the ensemble gives a dazzling virtuosic display on “Pate mo tou vae” complete with breath-expelled chants and traditional cheering. Gypsy Kings and Ladysmith Black Mambazo, move over. With such and abundance of skills and musical appeal, Te Vaka gets my vote as best new-world music group!


Reviewed in WIRED MAGAZINE USA by J.Poet
Opetaia Foa'i, group leader and main composer of Te Vaka, was born in Samoa and grew up in New Zealand. Accordingly, Foa'i’s vision of Pacific music combines elements of music indigenous to both, as well as Tokelau and Tuvalu (neighbouring Islands colonized by New Zealand), and lightly flavours them with Aboriginal and European styles.
The first sound on this disc to grab your attention is the polyrhythmic attack of Te Vaka’s percussion. Log drums and the Pacific version of the conga (originally made with sharkskins) are found throughout Oceania, and Te Vaka’s rhythms, especially on the tunes based on traditional dances, are as vigorous as anything coming out of the Africa diaspora. “Ika Ika,” in which a fisherman dreams of cooking the day’s catch, and the closing ceremonial “Siva Mai” may have echoes in the Caribbean, but it’s the scorching staccato of the log drums that makes these tracks rock. Melodically, Te Vaka is anchored by both the chiming tones of Foa'i’s inventive acoustic guitar picking (using open tunings favored by many Pacific Islanders) and the bands affable vocals, augmented here by male and female choruses that give the tunes an added spiritual depth. The group’s overall sound is soothing, full of melodies that celebrate the South Pacific’s easygoing lifestyle; yet Te Vaka also takes on the weighty subjects of economic displacement and the genocidal raids South American slavers made on Tokelau during the 1850’s.
With the exception of the current revival of the Hawai’ian slack-key guitar, most of the music that’s passed off as “Pacific”is either watered-down tourist fare or hokey, Martin Denny-inspired exotica. Te Vaka’s forceful rhythms, inspired melodies, and heartfelt songwriting offer a long - overdue, stereotype-smashing glimpse into the true soul of the South Seas. - j.poet