The stellar line-up includes Sons of Zion, Tomorrow People, Three Houses Down, House of Shem, Ria Hall, Majic Paora, Che Fu, Katchafire, 1814, Chad Chambers, NRG Rising and Tasty Brown, who are recording a remake of the Herbs' classic song, Sensitive to a Smile for charity.
The track will be showcased on Aotearoa Reggae All Stars, a Matariki music special that will screen on Maori Television at 9.30pm on Friday, June 21 – the same day the Sensitive to a Smile remake will be released on iTunes.
All proceeds from the single will go to Mana Ririki, a charitable organisation that advocates for Maori children and violence-free parenting that was set up in 2007 after the tragic death of Nia Glassie.
The Aotearoa Reggae All Stars project is the brainchild of Rio Panapa (Sons of Zion) and Avina Kelekolio (Tomorrow People), who wanted to highlight the issues around child abuse and bring their fellow reggae artists together to raise awareness.
Rio says the response has been amazing: “Everyone we approached has wanted to get on board and support the kaupapa.
“Times have changed where things that used to be tapu to talk about are gaining more awareness in society, and that is what we hope to achieve with this record - to raise awareness about violence towards children.”
Avina says he hopes the project will get through to all New Zealanders. “A lot of child abuse affects our people, Maori and Pasifika - and they are the biggest reggae fans so we thought we could try to make a positive change through our music.”
Mana Ririki executive director Anton Blank says the charity is thrilled to see the community taking action to prevent child abuse.
“It is our vision that within two generations Maori child abuse will be eliminated so that Maori children can enjoy a family life that is free from violence.
“We want to reach young Maori parents with our violence-free messages,” he says. “Aotearoa Reggae All Stars will take us into a new sphere of communications – popular music. And they will touch many Maori whanau with a message of hope.”
The Aotearoa Reggae All Stars television special, produced by Toa TV (CODE) for Maori Television, will also give viewers a behind-the-scenes look into the making of the single and music video.
The hour-long musical extravaganza will feature interviews and other songs by the reggae artists as well as interviews with Mana Ririki ambassadors Awen and Natasha Guttenbeil.
Former Herbs member Dilworth Karaka will talk about the award-winning original song Sensitive to a Smile (NZ Music Awards Album of the Year, Best Video of the Year, Best Songwriter 1987).
Aotearoa Reggae All Stars premieres on Maori Television on Friday, June 21 at 9.30pm. The Sensitive to a Smile remake will be available on iTunes on the same day. All proceeds go to Mana Ririki.
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