Monday, March 21, 2011

New Zealand musicians: Maori songs, opera, Robert Burns, and Scottish fiddle

What sort of music do you connect with New Zealand?

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 krir maori songs coverexactly 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 jamie mcclennan celtic 2011 copyright kerry dexternational 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.

you may also wish to see
Music Road: New Zealand: music for a trip
Sustainable living, do it yourself ideas and adventures, and thoughts on New Zealand life from Frugal Kiwi
plan your trip or start your dream of one at New Zealand’s official tourism site

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


Anonymous NoPotCooking said...

I would love to visit New Zealand, and experience some of this music while there!

2:31 PM  
Anonymous Melanie @ Frugal Kiwi said...

Glad to see your musical addition to the Blog4NZ event. I don't think I've seen any other music posts! Dame Kiri is certainly one of our biggest musical exports, but we have a strong tradition of Irish and Scottish music here as well, as you've mentioned. Thanks for adding your musical strains to the Blog4NZ event.

2:33 PM  
Anonymous Alexandra said...

Thanks for this introduction. New Zealand did not conjure up any type of music for me, so you have now remedied that situation.

3:10 PM  
Blogger Anjuli said...

It is good to know more musicians- and in connection with New Zealand.

8:40 PM  
Anonymous MyKidsEatSquid said...

I'm looking up more on Kiri now, here music--and background--are just fascinating.

10:35 PM  
Anonymous Jane Boursaw said...

Thanks for this! I never really thought about music associated with New Zealand (other than the Lord of the Rings soundtrack!). Good to get a bead on it.

12:44 AM  
Anonymous Casey@Good. Food. Stories. said...

Sounds like a veritable melting pot of musical styles and cultural heritage!

4:45 PM  
Anonymous Donna Hull said...

I enjoy learning about a country's music scene and heritage. Thanks for teaching me about New Zealand's musical heritage.

9:46 PM  
Anonymous Kris @ Attainable Sustainable said...

I'd love to hear some of that fiddle music!

12:46 AM  
Blogger kerry dexter said...

if you follow the links in this post, you'll find places where you may hear Jamie's music. also, you may wish to go directly to his or Emily's websites: and

6:23 PM  
Anonymous Vera Marie Badertscher said...

Thanks for this post. We were so surprised in staying at rural B & Bs that the inevitable music on the record player (yep, still a little early for everybody to have CDs) was opera, and of course Dame Kiri was the big fav.
Our other delight was to listen to Maori music and to jazz (opera was also very much present) at the biennial Arts Festival in Wellington (a city underrated by New Zealanders, we found.)

5:21 PM  

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