06 February 2006

Monday's mp3: Bob a la Maori

Kia ora!

Today marks two significant dates in global culture: the birthday of one Robert Nesta Marley, and Waitangi Day.

Bob Marley, born on this day in 1945, needs no introduction and little elaboration. His life as a musical prophet is recognized worldwide; his songs have been recorded by everyone from the Benin's Gangbe Brass Band to Pearl Jam.

Waitangi Day is less globally recognized. It marks the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi (in Maori, Te Tiriti o Waitangi) between the British and some Maori leaders on the North Island of what would become known as New Zealand. The agreement has that colonial ring of familiarity to it - big on promises, short on delivery. This was not lost on the signers, including Maori chief Nopera Pana-kareao. On the day of the signing, he said "The shadow of the land goes to Queen Victoria but the substance remains with us." One year later, he found a different reality: "The substance of the land goes to the Europeans, the shadow only will be our portion."

To mark these two evens musically, what could be more perfect than a Bob Marley cover in Maori? Ruia & Ranea Aperahama are twins at the forefront of New Zealand's reggae sub-culture. Along with originals, they've released two albums of Marley covers, sung in Maori.

This song is from The Waiata of Bob Marley Vol. 1, which received a 2002 Tui Award for Best Maori Language Album but is apparently out of print, as it's no longer listed at maorimusic.com

[mp3] Ruia & Ranea: "Arohaina Ra Koe (Could You Be Loved)"

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