Wednesday, September 22, 2021
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Listen to Lorde’s Māori Language Solar Power EP


Lorde has released an EP in which she has rerecorded five songs off Solar Power in the Māori language of Aotearoa New Zealand. According to Pitchfork, the songs were translated by Hana Mereraiha and feature Māori back-up singers. Proceeds from the EP, Te Ao Mārama, will go to two Aotearoa New Zealand nonprofits. Forest & Bird is a conservation organization, and Te Hua Kawariki Charitable Trust disperses funds to community members of four marae. Lorde explained in a newsletter that much of her journey making Solar Power was realizing how much of her personal value system is based in Māori ideas of conservation and natural stewardship: “There’s a word for it in te reo: kaitiakitanga, meaning ‘guardianship or caregiving for the sky, sea and land.’”

“I’m someone who represents New Zealand globally in a way,” she wrote, “and in making an album about where I’m from, it was important to me to be able to say: this makes us who we are down here.” It is a far cry from how the Māori language was treated in the 19th and 20th centuries. The British government set up schools for Māori children that operated from 1867 to 1969, where children were physically punished for speaking anything but English. “In not knowing, or in losing the language or the language being beaten out of you, you lose not just the language,” Hemi Kelly, a lecturer in the Māori language said on The Allusionist podcast, “but you lose that connection to who you are as a person.”



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