Aro consists of husband and wife Charles (Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa, Ngāti Te Ata, Ngāti Mutunga) and Emily Looker.
Blending Emily's honey-voiced jazz with Charles' full throated percussive sound with shades of haka, Aro's storytelling performance adds up to a warmth of experience, wholly original, anchored in Aotearoa New Zealand, that leave all who are present with the feeling of having been let in on a special secret.
The bilingual, Tāmaki Makaurau based duo share a passion for the power of language and music to tell stories and remind us of our cultural identity. The pair have become well known for their multi-genre offering of storytelling pop, RnB, electronic and jazz, fusing vocals, tāonga puoro and chants, exploring the ideas of kaitiakitanga and manaakitanga - looking after ourselves, each other, and our environment.
The pair were finalists (top 20) for the 2023 Silver Scroll Awards, have been finalists for the Maioha Award at the Silver Scrolls (2019), finalists at for the APRA Best Children’s Song Award for their waiata Korimako (2020) and Kia Mau (2023), and they were finalists for Best Māori Group at the Waiata Māori Music Awards (2022).
The duo's past albums have received support from Commercial and student radio nationwide, National press coverage, National TV performances and airplay and online coverage/support, this along with their huge nationwide fanbase has resulted in combined album/single streams in excess of 1million.
Aro have been performing nationwide in Aotearoa since 2017 when they were established after meeting while both studying Music at Auckland University. The pair have completed four nationwide tours, and played to thousands at numerous festivals including Auckland Arts Festival, Cuba Dupa, Festival of Lights (Taranaki), Festival of Colour (Wānaka), Wellington Gardens Magic, Auckland Folk Festival, Festival One, Okura Forest Festival, Waitangi Day Festival (Paeroa), Kauri Carnival, Flava Urban Beats and Music in Parks. They have also been featured on RNZ, have been consistently broadcast on Maori Television, and have been featured on and performed on radio & TV stations across the country. Consistently growing their audience over the past few years, the pair have reached over 650,000 streams over their waiata on Spotify, and have released several music videos which have been broadcast nationwide.
As the band have a strong focus on tamariki and encouraging young people to be proud of who they are and their unique identities, in 2018, Aro developed an education programme delivering workshops, informed by matauranga Māori of our natural environment in Aotearoa New Zealand, to schools and Kura Kaupapa Maori. They have taken this resource to communities around Aotearoa with their past projects, and will continue to build on this with 'He Wai', visiting coastal communities in particular in 2021. Feedback from the past workshops was immense and overwhelmingly positive, resulting in the 2020 & 2021 education programmes growing year on year and taking place with the support of Creative NZ in 2020 and the NZ Music Commission in 2021. Aro aims to keep building on this success, and to increase the number of schools & Kura kaupapa Māori visited in 2023 threefold.