On May 15, to coincide with New Zealand Music Month, Whanganui band Baseland released their debut single and music video Tanerore.

The song is inspired by traditional moteatea (chant, sung poetry) and incorporates taonga puoro (traditional Maori musical instruments) with western instruments and musical forms. The band formed two years ago when they were approached as individual musicians to create a set for International Jazz Day celebrations that incorporated taonga puoro and te reo Maori. The group have been writing and performing together since then and, at the end of 2019, went into the studio to record three of their songs.

After a busy summer, the songs were finally ready for release, just in time to coincide with lockdown. With time on their hands, uncollected recycling and offcuts of timber, husband and wife team Elise Goodge and Brad McMillan decided to put their time to creative use, putting the band together in miniature for a video shoot.

They spent weeks creating miniature guitars, a keyboard, drum kit, amps and sets. They used found items in their house including plastic milk bottles, meat trays, parts from an old computer, toilet rolls and whatever else they could repurpose for their miniature band.

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As a prolific toy and figure collector, Brad was willing to repurpose some of his dolls to stand in for the band members and Elise put her sewing skills to use, making costumes.

Elise and Brad, who have worked in the film and television industries in the past, relished the challenge of making the video, drawing on Thunderbirds and '90s music videos as inspiration.

"Firstly we wanted the video to look fun because we were having so much fun making it. We only had 720p digital cameras to shoot with, so it was always going to look a bit home-made," says Elise.

"Creating a narrative with limited resources was also going to be tricky so instead we went for a '90s music video feel. In the '90s, music videos were always a bit random and moody, that's part of what made them memorable."

Tanerore is a call to the deity of dance. It features extensive use of two fairly modern Maori instruments, the putangitangi and the papa.

The putangitangi is a clay flute invented by Hirini Melbourne, Richard Nunns and Brian Flintoff during the early days of the taonga puoro revival movement. The paipa (clay pipe) was adopted by Maori as an instrument when they saw Europeans discarding their broken smoking pipes in the early days of colonisation.

To Maori, they looked like flutes and, as it turns out, they sound like them too. "Both of these instruments speak to adaptation and experimentation," says Elise, "which is also the essence of impromptu movement and dance."

The music video for Tanerore is available to view and listen to now on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jl2UQVxXHvk

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