Lorde Releases EP of Songs from 'Solar Power' Sung in Māori
Hear five tracks reimagined in the language of Indigenous New Zealanders on 'Te Ao Mārama'
Published Sep 09, 2021Lorde has followed the release of her third album Solar Power with a companion-piece EP entitled Te Ao Mārama. The collection features five cuts from the album — including the title track and "Stoned at the Nail Salon" — sung in te reo Māori, the Indigenous language of New Zealand. She's also timed the release to coincide with the Te Wiki o te Reo week-long celebration of the language.
While the elder stateswoman of pop isn't Māori herself, she worked with elders and translators (like fellow musician Dame Hinewehi Mohi, who sings on "Hua Pirau") to guide the process [via The Spinoff.] In fact, idea actually stemmed from Lorde's best friend's aunties, Marion and Sandra Wihongi, whom she's calling the project's "unsung heroes."
The artist introduced fans to the project in her newsletter, writing:
Many things revealed themselves slowly to me while I was making this album, but the main realization by far was that much of my value system around caring for and listening to the natural world comes from traditional Māori principles. 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. 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 [Mereraiha]'s translations for "Te Ara Tika / The Path" and "Hine-i-te-Awatea / Oceanic Feeling" in particular take my g-d breath away.
Lorde takes her inadvertent Kiwi ambassadorship seriously and Te Ao Mārama is a beautiful testament to the place she calls home.
You can stream the EP on your platform of choice below.
In addition to gracing the Exclaim! cover, Lorde also appears in the new issue of Vogue this week, and you can watch her mashup Britney Spears' "Break the Ice" with "Fallen Fruit" in a new performance video filmed at the New York Botanical Gardens.