“Blending Emily’s honey voiced jazz with Charles’ full throated percussive sound with shades of haka, Aro’s story telling performance adds up to a warmth of experience, wholly original, anchored in Aotearoa, that leave all who are present with the feeling of having been let in on a special secret. On Waitangi Day 2019 Aro released their debut album Manu – a bilingual – te reo Māori & English, 10 track album transcribed from the melodies and rhythms of Aotearoa’s native birds, playing on their characteristics, and some of their significance for Māori to convey messages about life. Aro shared this album nationwide from Russell to Stewart Island with 25 shows, and are now working on a follow up EP called ‘He Manu Ano’, featuring 5 more songs inspired by the birds.”
If you would like to purchase a physical copy of Manu, email firstname.lastname@example.org for the payment & postage details. (CD is $20 + Postage)
If you would like to purchase a physical copy of the lyric booklet, email email@example.com for the payment & postage details. (Booklet is $5 + Postage)
Click here to view and/purchase an original wood cut screen print of the manu featured on our album by Manu Berry
About The Album
‘Manu’ (bird) is a bilingual – te reo Māori & English, 10 track album transcribed from the melodies and rhythms of our native birds, playing on their characteristics, and some of their significances for Māori to convey messages about life. Aro have successfully written a ‘Kiwi-esk’, contemporary pop-RnB album, which is due for release on February 6th, Waitangi Day 2019. Following on from the official release party in Auckland, Aro will be touring the country with 23 shows at carefully selected venues from March to May 2019.
The kaupapa of this project is to address identity. The narrative throughout the album is about trying to find one’s place in the world, using the birds’ characteristics and some Māori myths about the birds to present this idea. This album is for anyone, but particularly young people, and is an encouragement to be proud of who we are as Māori and as New Zealanders. Aro hope to have a positive impact on young people facing mental health challenges, as both core members of Aro know, by both statistic and experience, the impact this is having currently in Aotearoa. By sharing the knowledge of these birds and these stories, through songs that are memorable with words that are encouraging and fun to sing, this uniquely ‘Kiwi’ album can help young people feel proud of who they are.
The essence of the native birds of Aotearoa has been captured in the narrative of each song through vocal hooks, Māori rhythms, chants, and expressive instrumentation. This form of innovation is a traditional Māori method of composing, being literally inspired by nature, borrowing both sonically and visually from our environments.
Aro are a Kiwi husband and wife duo, Charles (Ngāpuhi) and Emily Looker (nee Rice). The pair met at Te Whare Wānanga o Tāmaki Makaurau (University of Auckland), both studying for a Bachelor of Music (Pop), and discovered that they shared a passion for the power of language and music to tell stories, create community and remind us of our cultural identity. Charles is also a qualified teacher of te reo and kaupapa Māori through Teach First NZ, and has been steeped in Māori culture all his life, with te reo being his first learnt language.
Manu was recorded and engineered by Vivek Gabriel at Gabriel Audio
Mastering by Nathan Tiddy
Produced by Aro and Vivek Gabriel
Music and lyrics are by Aro
Album artwork (below) by Manu Berry – Woodcut Prints
Birds featured on the album below (not in order):