- 09 Sep 21
'Te Ao Mārama' will benefit two New Zealand-based charities.
Kiwi musician Lorde has unveiled a brand new EP of five new Solar Power recordings, sung in Māori - the indigenous language of New Zealand.
For Te Ao Mārama, lyrics from Lorde's third album were translated by Hana Mereraiha and feature background vocals from Māori singers. All proceeds from the album will go to the New Zealand-based charities Forest and Bird and the Te Hua Kawariki Charitable Trust.
“Special thanks to Dame Hinewehi Mohi & Sir Timoti Kāretu for overseeing the project,” the credits note.
“Many things revealed themselves slowly to me while I was making this album, but the main realisation by far was that much of my value system around caring for and listening to the natural world comes from traditional Māori principles,” Lorde wrote in a newsletter. “There’s a word for it in te reo: kaitiakitanga, meaning ‘guardianship or caregiving for the sky, sea and land.’”
"I’m not Māori, but all New Zealanders grow up with elements of this worldview," the 24-year-old, real name Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O'Connor, wrote.
"Te ao Māori and tikanga Māori are a big part of why people who aren’t from here intuit our country to be kind of ‘magical,’ I think. I know I’m someone who represents New Zealand globally in a way, and in making an album about where I’m from, it was important to me to be able to say: this makes us who we are down here. It’s also just a crazy beautiful language—I loved singing in it. Even if you don’t understand te reo, I think you’ll get a kick out of how elegant my words sound in it. Hana’s translations for Te Ara Tika / The Path and Hine-i-te-Awatea / Oceanic Feeling in particular take my g-d breath away."
Surrounding the release of Solar Power, Lorde has covered Britney Spears, performed in Central Park, went day drinking with Seth Meyers, appeared on the 'Hot Ones' wings challenge on YouTube and was a guest for a full week of James Corden episodes. Her tour in support of the album begins in February.
"In attempting to find some kind of meaning in the nature around her, Solar Power finds Lorde leaping away from the artificial glare of the spotlight," Hot Press' Lucy O'Toole wrote in her album review. "It’s by no means a clear-cut, full-circle moment, but it offers some sense of closure to a journey that shines in contradictions – balancing polished production against organic, even messy, meandering."
Revisit the Hot Press August 2021 cover story featuring Lorde here.
Listen to Te Ao Mārama below: