‘Maiea’ (pronounced May-ear-ah) is a call for peace; an incantation in archaic Māori language to ancient deities and gods to soothe and calm a troubled
mind. ‘Maiea’ is the fifth track from the upcoming album Ono by Moana & The Tribe. Due for release in 2023, Ono comprises six unique songs that celebrate te reo and raise the visibility of endangered languages through collaborations
with indigenous vocalists.
The reo lyrics to ‘Maiea’ were penned by Scotty Morrison, with music written by Paddy Free and Moana Maniapoto. The Gaelic language of Scotland is courtesy of Megan Henderson, lead singer and violinist for award-winning Scottish band Breabach.
Moana and Megan first met as part of Boomerang, a collaboration between their respective bands and indigenous Australian artists including Shellie Morris, Casey Donovan and Djakapurra Munyarryun. Twenty-one artists hunkered down at the Muriwai Surf Club near Moana’s home to write and arrange songs before testing them out on the locals.
“At first I couldn’t see how we might pull this collaboration off,” recalls Moana. “We’d done lots with indigenous Australians but were wary of the bagpipes, didn't know much about Scotland either.”
Copious amounts of kai and kōrero helped bridge the gap.
“That’s when we heard their stories of the Scottish being colonised by the English, struggling to keep their language
alive – and that the bagpipes were a form of protest. Suddenly, we understood how bagpipes and haka could work together.”
The video for ‘Maiea’ was filmed in Aotearoa-New Zealand by Vinnie Carter (Vido Productions). Vinnie has produced, directed and edited four music videos from ONO. It was shot in and around Tāmaki Makaurau-Auckland. Cameraman Paul Jennings filmed Megan Henderson outside Glasgow.
The video features Manawanui Maniapoto-Mills, Moana’s 13-year-old daughter; a budding actor who has made appearances in Beyond the Veil (2022), The Wilds (2020) and Ways to See (2019).
Boomerang launched at Womad NZ 2014 and has played the Sydney Opera House, Heb Celt (Isle of Lewis) and during the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
Megan Henderson’s voice is a scene stealer. Given Ono is a celebration of indigenous languages, she is an obvious choice to collaborate on ‘Maiea’. Her hauntingly beautiful
lyrics complement the incantation delivered by Scotty Morrison as they both draw on the ancestors to placate and calm.
2022 marks the release of Megan’s debut solo album, Pilgrim Souls, after releasing five records with her band Breabach. The solo work is an instrumental and vocal suite inspired by the work of fellow Fort William native Christine Clark.