continental drift pt. 3- new zealand

today we are catching the drift in new zealand (playlist here, listen to the episode here). new zealand is an island country in the southern hemisphere made up of over 700 consistent islands! the official languages of NZ are Te Reo Maori and New Zealand sign language, though English is the predominant language.

Maori music, pre-colonization, was microtonal, featuring a repeated melodic line and focusing on a central pitch. It was made with “taonga puoro” (translated to “musical treasures or heirlooms”), hollowed out wood, stone, whale ivory, and bone (even human). Richard Nunns and Hinrini Melbourne (both of Maori origin) have been bringing back taonga puoro, going on tour to showcase the range of traditional maori instruments. Many modern NZ artists pay tribute to the Maori culture and language, including Lorde, who remade some of her songs from latest album Solar Power in Maori.

Maori segment:
(intro segment): Hua Pirau / Fallen Fruit // Lorde
Taku Putorino // Hirini Melbourne, Richard Nunns, and Aroha Yates-Smith

The “first” pop song to come out of NZ was called “Blue Smoke,” popularized by Pixie Williams and written by Ruru Karatiana. Karatiana wrote it in 1940 on troopship Aquitania, and says of the song, “We were on the ship off the coast of Africa. A friend drew my attention to some passing smoke. He put the song in my lap.”

Early pop sample:
Blue Smoke // Pixie Williams

Rock developed in NZ in the 60s, and hit its stride in the 70s. The record label Flying Nun was very influential in the indie sound of NZ rock. Flying Nun is known for establishing “Dunedin sound,” exemplified in the songs below. Dunedin is a college town in NZ. Dunedin sound is characterized by droning/jangly guitars, indistinct vocals, and lots of reverb. It draws influences from punk rock, pop, and psychedelic music.

Dunedin sound segment:
Made Up In Blue // the Bats
Cruise Control // Headless Chickens
Safety in Crosswords // Look Blue Go Purple

2000-2010 segment:
Lydia // Fur Patrol
Kenya Dig It // The Ruby Suns

The Beths: how New Zealand's favourite pop-rock group made self-doubt their  brand | Music | The GuardianThe Beths are a modern indie band from Auckland, NZ. The lead singer, Beth Stokes, says of the song “Jump Rope Gazers,” “at the core of it, I was picturing the kind of skipping rope where there are two people, one on each end. I think it evokes a distance and hints at being connected and being separated as well.”

Modern indie segment:
Jump Rope Gazers // The Beths
9:30 // Imperial April
Lucky Girl // Fazerdaze
Cool for a Second // Yumi Zouma
Amsterdam // There’s a Tuesday
A Leo Underwater // Daffodils