As a musician, I am well aware of the challenges that face performers when trying to create atmosphere, connection with the audience and a pure sound. The Modern Maori Quartet (MMQ) did just that in just over 1 hour and 15 minutes leaving the bursting at the seams Banquet room wanting more of their amazing sound.
Commencing the show with Float On and a personal chat from each member, allowed a glimpse of what was to come, a cheeky group of Maori lads that definitely know their craft. James Tito, Matariki Whatarau, Maaka Pohatu and Francis Kora make up this modern day cultural explosion that takes the audience for a lesson in Maori life and language.
Providing their own guitar backing joined by a very able percussionist Matariki (Rick) on a Cajon Drum box, MMQ were able to create a full and varied feel throughout the night. MMQ stepped through a number of Motown hits and even dropped in their own version of Lordes’ Royals.
There was just enough comedy, culture and banter with the enthusiastic and animated audience to link together their vocal artistry, which was as smooth as a silk and harmonically precise. MMQ told the audience that being in the Cabfest was like a massive garage party in New Zealand. Since arriving home I have moved all the cars outside and am waiting with fingers crossed for them to arrive.
Finishing their show with a medley of hits including Elvis – That’s alright Mama; The Jackson Five – Rockin’ Robin; Jackie Wilson – Reet Petite; and Hound Dog – the audience realised that MMQ were about to leave the building. A reference to their signed CD sales caused quite a stir and a queue at the end of the night.
For the author, it is groups like MMQ, that put in the hard work, develop a unique product and have personality and flair without the need to be crass, that are a benchmark for CABFEST. The vocal possibilities with an act like this are exciting and I encourage them to explore more genres of music that could showcase their style and access even bigger audiences.
Selfishly I would like them to have touched on some of the jazz classics but perhaps they will do that tonight in my garage.
Modern Maori Quartet
Banquet Room – Adelaide Festival Centre, King William Road, Adelaide
Performance: Sunday 10 June 2018 – 7.30pm
Image: Modern Maori Quartet (supplied)
Review: Stephen Foenander – courtesy of All about Entertainment