Te Vaka

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Te Vaka
Origin New Zealand
Genres South Pacific Fusion
Years active 1995–present
Labels Warm Earth
Website www.tevaka.com
Members
  • Opetaia Foa'i
  • Joe Toomata
  • Douglas Bernard
  • Olivia Foa'i
  • Matatia Foa'i
  • Etueni (Edwin) Pita
Past members
  • Sulata Foai-Amiatu
  • Alana Foai-Auimatagi
  • Vai Mahina
  • Melodee Panapa-Leilua
  • Jeff Harris
  • Talaga Sale
  • Neil Forrest
  • Simona Hope
  • Tremayne Lihou

Te Vaka is an Oceanic music group that performs original contemporary Pacific music or "South Pacific Fusion". The group was founded in 1995 by singer and songwriter Opetaia Foa'i in New Zealand. They have toured the world consistently since 1997 and have won a number of awards including "Best Pacific Music Album" award for their albums Tutuki (2004) and Olatia (2007) from the New Zealand Music Awards and "Best Pacific Group" in the 2008 Pacific Music Awards[1] According to the BBC, they are "the world's most successful band playing original contemporary Pacific music."[2]

History[edit]

Te Vaka is a group of musicians and dancers from various Polynesian backgrounds including: Tokelau, Tuvalu, Samoa and New Zealand formed in 1997, under the leadership of award-winning songwriter, Opetaia Foa'i. That year, they released their eponymous debut album through ARC Music, a UK/European record company. The album gained immediate success and recognition, being distributed to over 80 countries. Their follow-up album, Ki Mua, was released through Warm Earth Records, and went #1 on world music charts and mainstream radio in the South Pacific.

In 2002, the band released their third album, Nukukehe. The album gained the group a nomination in the New Zealand Music Awards and the BBC Radio 3 Awards for World Music. Their next albums entered the European World Music Charts, as well as winning numerous awards.

Through their career, Te Vaka has performed extensively around the world, performing in London’s Royal Festival Hall and Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club, as well as headlining music festivals throughout Europe like WOMAD. They have also performed at the APEC ministerial dinners and America's Cup events in Auckland, the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, the Rugby World Cup in Paris[3] and the Olympic Games in Beijing.

In 2010 and 2011, the band completed two tours in North America. That same year, Te Vaka released their seventh album, Havili.

In 2015, the band was selected by Walt Disney Pictures to contribute to the soundtrack of the 2016 animated film Moana.[4]

Musical style[edit]

Te Vaka uses traditional musical instruments from the Pacific region like pate (single and double log drums), pa'u (indigenous goat skin conga), and bass drums.[2]

Most of their songs are written in Tokelauan language, reflecting the heritage of band founder, singer, and main songwriter, Opetaia Foa'i. Foa'i was born in Western Samoa, to a Tokelauan father and a Tuvaluan mother, and raised in a Tokelauan community in New Zealand. He has said that the inspiration for his music comes from his multi-cultural upbringing. However, some songs are also written in Samoan and Tuvaluan languages, which are the native tongues of most of the other band members.

As a result of this mixture of sounds and diversity of influences, their music has been referred to as "a truly pan-Pacific sound".[2]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Nominee/work Award Result
2002 BBC Radio 3 Awards for World Music Nominated
2003 Te Vaka BBC Radio 3 Awards for World Music - Audience Award Nominated
Nukukehe New Zealand Music Awards - Best Roots Album Nominated
2004 Tutuki New Zealand Music Awards - Best Pacific Music Album Won
2005 Opetaia Foa'i Senior Pacific Artist Won
2008 Te Vaka Pacific Music Awards - Best Pacific Band Won
Te Vaka Australian Songwriters Association Awards - Best Live Performance of the Night Won
"Tamahana" Australian Songwriters Association Awards - International Won
2010 Haoloto New Zealand Music Awards Nominated
Te Vaka Pacific Music Awards - Best Pacific Group Won
Haoloto Best Pacific Language Album Won
2011 Haoloto Hawaiian Music Awards - Polynesian Won
2012 Havili Pacific Music Awards Nominated
"Lovely World" ISC Awards - World Music Nominated

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

DVDs[edit]

  • 2003 Live at Apia Park
  • 2007 Live in Concert 2006[5]

Singles[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ pacificmusicawards.org.nz[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ a b c Lusk, Jon. "Te Vaka". BBC.co.uk. Retrieved 4 April 2008. 
  3. ^ nzmusician.co.nz (Rugby World Cup) Archived 27 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 28 September 2009.
  4. ^ Tapaleao, Vaimoana (2015-08-17). "NZ-based group joins next big Disney movie". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2016-12-05. 
  5. ^ amazon.co.uk Retrieved 30 September 2009.

External links[edit]