New Zealand musicians: Maori songs, opera, Robert Burns, and Scottish fiddle
Writers and photographers across the world are joining in to celebrate the country and people of New Zealand. The people of New Zealand are making a special effort to let you to know that the best way to help them recover from the earthquake in Christchurch a month ago is to come for a visit, to explore their land of ancient and modern cultures, high mountain and crashing surf.
As you are planning that trip and taking it, you’ll want to explore music to go along. Consider these two artists, from perhaps rather differing parts of the musical spectrum.
Kiri Te Kanawa grew up on the north island of New Zealand. Her heritage is both Maori and English, and she was adopted as an infant into a Maori family. Not always, perhaps, the background you might expect for a woman who would go on to make an international reputation performing the works of Mozart and Puccini at the world’s top opera houses. That is exactly what Te Kanawa has done, however, building a career that has made her one of the world’s most well loved sopranos. She has created a foundation to assist musicians from New Zealand in realizing their dreams, as well. Te Kanawa’s classical music performances are widely available on record, and harking back to her early days playing clubs in New Zealand, she’s recorded show tunes, as well. For this trip, however, a recording that goes even deeper into Te Kanawa’s history is what I’d suggest: her album called Maori Songs.
Jamie McClennan grew up in New Zealand as well, playing the fiddle in the style of his Scottish heritage. Traveling the world with his music and adding guitar and other instruments to his songbag, he came to base himself in Scotland. With a nod to those world travels he called his first solo album In Transit. You may hear hints of those travels in the music there. Adoon Winding Nith finds McClennan in a duo format with Scots singer Emily Smith, recording lesser known gems as well as a few well known pieces from the works of Scotland’s national Bard, Robert Burns. McClennan also produced and plays on to Smith’s latest release, Traiveller’s Joy, about which you’ll learn more up ahead along the music road.
Whether your taste runs toward classical music, sounds of New Zealand's first peoples, inventive fiddle music, or music from Scottish tradition -- or perhaps all four -- you will find good companions among this music for your New Zealand travel plans.
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plan your trip or start your dream of one at New Zealand’s official tourism site