New Zealand pop star Lorde has embarked on a new musical journey with the release of a five-track mini-album in Maori, despite not speaking the indigenous language.
The new mini-album titled “Te Ao Marama,” which means “world of light,” features five songs re-recorded from the 24-year-old artist’s latest album, “Solar Power.” The songs are performed in te reo Maori, the indigenous language of Aotearoa New Zealand.
The project, says the artist, was first inspired by her best friend’s aunties and she took the idea further after consulting her friends, colleagues and elders. However, the fact that she is not fluent in the language posed a challenge. She has only learnt a few songs in te reo Maori from school.
“It wasn’t something that was a big part of my life, and it was something that I had sort of sadness and a little bit of guilt around,” Lorde tells pop culture platform the Spinoff.
“It’s kind of scary to start any journey, but I guess that’s my thing; I am at the very beginning, and this project is a starting point.”
Lorde says she has been mulling over the idea of how to be an “ambassador” of her country, and this project has emerged to be a new chapter for her musical career.
“It felt really big when we were doing it. It was heavy. It was really emotional. I’d never had any writing or recording experience like it. It was really powerful,” she says.
Lorde worked on the project with the help of translators as well as Māori singer Hinewehi Mohi, who believes that integrity of a project like this is key.
“As we break down all those fears that people might have, then we’ll get an amazing perspective of ourselves and how we fit into the world, and you won’t see any more placards saying ‘stop ramming Māori down our throats’. Eventually,” she says.
Proceeds of the album sales will go to two local charities, Forest & Bird and Te Hua Kawariki Charitable Trust.