Summer serenades, sunshine, and song from a modern Maori showband sealed a round of concerts in Masterton at the weekend.
The inaugural Summer's End Cushion Concert kicked off the sonic weekend with a setlist of twilight performances in the Masterton Town Square from Wairarapa acts including Courtney and Mike, Hemi Walker, Martin & Sons, Masterton secondary school band Halafaxa, and performers from the UCOL Wairarapa contemporary music programme.
The Summer's End Cushion Concert performances continued on Saturday afternoon with Wairarapa schoolgirl Jade Bradnock, duo Stefan Kingsford Brown and "Dr Rob" Maunsell, Jason Ireland and Emily Norman, Bob Cooper-Grundy and Kate Marshall, and Vicky Clarkson.
The two-part concert was free and organised through the Wairarapa Youth Council and Connecting Communities Wairarapa.
The Modern Maori Quartet completed the musical weekend fare with their slick suit, tie and collar performance, drawing a crowd of more than 120 concert-goers who applauded, whistled and danced amid a Las Vegas nightclub atmosphere recreated at the Masterton Town Hall on Saturday night.
The quartet featured Toi Whakaari New Zealand School of Drama graduates James Tito, Matariki Whatarau, Maaka Pohatu and Francis Kora and the audience seemed to delight in a supremely professional act brimming with humour and four-part harmonies.
The quartet breathed new life into classic te reo Maori songs and Maori showband numbers from the 50s and 60s and their almost two-hour reportoire also embraced original music and a te reo version of Lorde's hit Royals.
Last year the four performers, who dubbed themselves the Maori Ratpack, toured internationally for the first time, to seven countries including Malaysia, Singapore, Hawaii and Rarotonga -- picking up the Sharq Taronalari World Music Festival award for most daring and emotional song when they also appeared in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
The Wairarapa ki Uta Wairarapa ki Tai kapa haka group, comprising students from Kuranui College, St Matthews Collegiate School, Te Wharekura o Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Wairarapa, Makoura College, Chanel College and Wairarapa College, helped host the show as a fundraiser and offered a spontaneous haka in praise for the event., and
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