Bilingual duo Aro, are taking their music on the road this spring to celebrate and share the stories of our waters, in support of their latest project, & EP release ‘He Wai’. The tour intentionally coincides with Māhuru Māori and Te Wiki o te Reo Māori which celebrates the Māori language. Aro are performing across the whenua, throughout September & October, visiting coastal communities, big & small, and other intimate venues near bodies of water as part of their ‘He Wai’ National release tour.
During the spring tour, Aro will also continue on with their established education programme within schools around the country, proudly supported by the NZ Music Commission.
‘He Wai’ is the third major project out of five for Silver Scroll APRA Maioha Award and APRA Best Children’s Award Finalists – Aro. Each project has featured a new music release (an album or EP) and these new waiata are then used as a part of the education resources & programme created for schools & Kura Kaupapa Māori.
Husband and wife duo, Charles (Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa, Ngāti Te Ata, Ngāti Mutunga) and Emily Looker, proudly share a passion for the power of language and music to tell stories and remind us of our cultural identity. The moving new EP, ‘He Wai’ celebrates 5 waiata inspired and guided by our relationship to te taiao and what we can learn from it about ourselves and each other. ‘He Wai’, is the bands 3rd project, following 'Manu’ and 'He Manu Anō'.
The bands latest EP release features Aro’s signature playful and uplifting sound, using a plethora of instruments and taonga pūoro, including guitars, strings and saxophone. A multi-genre offering of storytelling pop, RnB, electronic and jazz, fusing vocals, tāonga puoro and chants, each song also thematically explores the ideas of kaitiakitanga and manaakitanga - looking after ourselves, looking after each other and looking after our environment.
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 three nationwide tours, and played to thousands at numerous festivals including Auckland Arts Festival, Wellington Gardens Magic, Auckland Folk Festival, Festival One, Okura Forest Festival, Waitangi Day Festival (Paeroa), Kauri Karnival, Flava Urban Beats and Music in Parks with several more lined up for 2021-2022. They have also been featured on RNZ, have been consistently broadcast on Māori 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 200,000 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 mātauranga Māori of our natural environment in Aotearoa New Zealand, to schools and kura kaupapa Māori. 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 2021. Aro aim to keep building on this success, and to increase the number of schools & kura kaupapa Māori visited in 2022 threefold.
In 2021, Aro will be using the stories of He Wai, of Aotearoa’s native sea/water creatures and the importance of caring for our environment, while making te reo Māori and whakataukī accessible and interesting for young people.