Topic: Politics

The power of integrating indigenous traditions with modern music

By Taroi Black
  • Auckland

An award-winning music group A Tribe Called Red is infusing modern day music with traditional aspects of the first peoples of Canada are about to kick into high gear here in Aotearoa. However, it's their spin on traditional music that has got people talking.

The band consists of two singers Ehren Thomas and Tim Hill and they'll perform live in Auckland this weekend for the first time.

Ehren "Bear Witness," Thomas says, “It's been a dream so far. This has been a long time coming for us. We've been trying to make this trip for years.”

The infusion of hip-hop and traditional pow wow drums has brought together a unique sound with a traditional chant.

Tim "2oolman" Hill says, “You can see a shift in time - where people are.”

Their take on contemporary music has attracted a large Māori following.  

“We've heard particularly from indigenous people here. It got to the point where we meet people from around the world who are from here who will be like, "why haven't you guys come?" Thomas said.

A Tribe Called Red will perform live at the Auckland Arts Festival amongst local artists, Tiki Tāne and Ria Hall.

However, award-winning artist, Rob Ruha is also interested in meeting them. 

“He's an amazing singer/songwriter. When he’s able to shape into two different genres like that whether it will be like a movie score or jazz it makes the collaboration there are about to do more exciting,” Hill said.

Their schedule for 2018 is booked out, as they take their music right across the globe.