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Kirimamae (Phyllis WILLIAMS) 1963  

Eminent Member

Kia ora Williams whanau,

Extracted from Te Ao Hou magazine, 1963.

Kirimamae (Phyllis Williams) and the Alex Lindsay Orchestra of Wellington have combined to produce a second recording of Maori songs with strings. This should prove even more popular than the earlier record (Kiwi EC-20, reviewed in an earlier issue of Te Ao Hou), containing as it does such well-known but seldom recorded songs as ‘I Runga Nga Puke’ and ‘Taumarumaru’. Ngata's ‘Haere Mai Ra e te Kawana’ is a stirring reminder of a great occasion in modern Maori history.

The highlight of the record for me, however, is Phyllis Williams's version of the Tuwharetoa poi chant ‘He Oriori’. In a rich evocation of the quality of voice used by the kuia of olden times when singing laments and chants, and backed by a haunting viola obbligato, Phyllis Williams makes the chant a beautiful blend of the ancient and the modern.

Mrs Williams's interest in Maori music dates from her childhood at Tolaga Bay, thirty miles north of Gisborne, on the East Coast. She was attracted by the songs of the Maori workers on her father's sheep station and set to work to collect and learn them for herself. Much later she was tutored and instructed by such experts as the late Sir Apirana Ngata, Bishop Herbert Williams and Materoa Reedy. Her collection of waiata became one of the most extensive of its kind.

Unfortunately it was burnt when the old Williams homestead at Matahiia Station was destroyed by fire. Gradually however Mrs Williams re-established her collection and added to it.

Picture of Phyllis.

Noho ora mai whanau.

Edited by - Ira on Feb 07 2007 3:01:09 PM

Posted : 07 February, 2007 2:59 pm