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Whirimako Black

Composer, Performer, Māori Composer


Whirimako, of Ngai Tuhoe, Ngati Tuwharetoa, Ngati Ranginui, Kahungunu, Te Whakatohea, Te Whanau-a-Apanui, Te Arawa, and Ngati Awa descent, has performed throughout the country and has six solo albums to her credit in just the last seven years.

Her debut album, Hinepukohurangi: Shrouded in the Mist , despite being independently released, won Best Māori Language Album at the 2001 NZ Music Awards and is now approaching gold sales status. A track Whirimako recorded for concept album 1 Giant Leap called The Way You Dream was subsequently licensed for worldwide use in the movie The Bulletproof Monk and has since appeared on several compilation albums.

Whirimako recorded and released herself a second album Hohou Te Rongo: Cultivate Peace in 2003. She says the inspiration for this album came from her daughter, Mihi Ki Te Kapua. "My whanau (family) are my puna - my source," she explains. "Each whanau member has a quality and values that fits in with me. In each area, they come through and tautoko (support) me. We all love music and I value all their opinions."

On her third album Tangihaku Whirimako Black is presented in an intimate recording with acoustic guitarist Joel Haines (brother of NZ jazz star Nathan Haines) and her long-time collaborator Justin Kereama on taonga pūoro (traditional Māori instruments).

Her fourth album was Kura Huna (May 2006). This extraordinary and evocative soundscape featured her voice and internationally renowned oboe player Russell Walder.

Her ground-breaking bilingual jazz album, Soul Sessions was the fastest-selling New Zealand jazz album of 2006 and earned her a spot as a finalist in the Best Jazz Album category at the 2007 New Zealand Music Awards.

A follow-up album, Whirimako Black Sings continued the successful recipe from Soul Sessions of taking jazz standards and giving them new life with her stunning vocal performances and Māori language translations. This album also subsequently became a finalist in the 2008 NZ Music Awards for Best Jazz Album.

In 2008 she toured with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO) and top kiwi dub outfit Salmonella Dub in an exciting show called Feel the Seasons Change. The show combined modern music and production values with the ancient arts of taonga pūoro, te reo Māori and the NZSO’s classical tradition. She then featured in a musical collaboration with a group of world-renowned Gaelic musicians that toured NZ and performed at WOMAD. Whirimako also performed on her own with the NZSO twice, did three shows at the Southern Hemisphere’s top world music festival THE DREAMING, several jazz festivals, the Anzac commemorations at Gallipoli and shortly leaves for a tour in Asia.

Whirimako Black has receved a number of awards for her music: – NZ Order of Merit (2006) for services to Māori music – NZ Music Award (2001) – Best Māori Album – APRA Maioha Award (2004) for her songwriting in te reo Māori – Te Waka Toi Award (2004) for her contributions to contemporary Māori music

Composed (71)

Performances (1)

Matariki Starlight Jazz Concert

‘Matariki Starlight Jazz Concert’ is being presented to you as part of Auckland’s Matariki Festiv...