Ariana is a unique performer and composer of heartfelt music in both Te Reo Māori and English. She draws on folk and pop styles with a strong emphasis on Māori chant. Although now living in Wellington, her music in inspired and influenced by her Māori ancestry and the dramatic landscape of Te Waipounamu – The South Island of New Zealand.
Ariana completed a summer tour with her band Emeralds and Greenstone in February and March of this year. On February 22nd she touched the nation with her rendition of Whakaaria Mai for the Christchurch Earthquake Memorial event in Hagley Park, televised live and broadcast internationally. She also performed this year at the NZ Hat and Hair Art Awards in the Timaru Theatre Royal, and Te Papa at the Seven Sisters event as well as Pao Pao Pao at Pipitea Marae. Lately she has been recording her third solo album at The Surgery in Wellington, From Dust to Light, which she is planning to release in November.
Last year Ariana was a featured artist on the Ihimaera album with some of the country’s top recording artists. She also played the song live in the Auckland Arts Festival for the Ihimaera Show.
She also completed a nationwide tour for the month of November 2011 with two other Ngai Tahu musicians Mahina-ina Kaui and Christine White as Voices of Our Ancestors, under the umbrella of Arts on Tour NZ.
In 2010 Ariana completed a tour of New Zealand to rave reviews with singer-songwriter Hannah Howes for the “Wahine Toa” tour. That year she performed her Ohaki (multi-media) show, featuring Richard Nunns, to standing ovations in Christchurch and Nelson.
In 2008 she released her second solo album ‘Tuia’ meaning 'stitched' – a metaphor for the connections between people, within and across generations. It is a bilingual album featuring production from award-winning producer Leyton, whose sparse electronic sound provides an engaging and gorgeous background for Ariana’s beautiful voice. In 2009 her video for Tuia, made by Louise Potiki Bryant, won an international award at the imagiNATIVE film + media festival in Toronto in 2009, for best music video.
In March-April 2008 Ariana was Musician in Residence at the Centre for New Zealand Studies, at the University of London, Birkbeck, after being awarded a $10,000 Creative New Zealand grant. While in London she established music industry links and collaborated with London-based New Zealand musicians, including members of Ngāti Rānana.
In 2008 Ariana was a featured soloist in the WOW Wearable Arts Awards in Wellington, and also performed in the prestigious Pao Pao Pao event in the Wellington Town Hall. At this event, Ariana was presented with an achievement award from Toi Maori.
Since beginning her music career in Christchurch with folk duo Pounamu in 1993, to launching her solo career and releasing her debut solo album Whaea in 2002, Ariana has consistently produced beautiful and moving music that contributes to the growing corpus of contemporary Maori music.
What others have said about Tuia:
“An amazing combination of roots, electronica and soulful vocals”. Fleur Jack, Tearaway Magazine
“…a magical and at times mystical trip… like being bundled up in a big feather cloak and transported to another world”. Scott Kara, Weekend Herald
“Tikao’s cultural heritage permeates this fine album with the true spirit of Aotearoa” Seth Jordon, Songlines, UK
“Haunting and ethereal. Lovely” Lopa Kothari, BBC Radio 3, UK
“Ariana has knitted together the diverse elements of her own background to create something special” fRoots, UK
From Dust To Light
Tikao’s highly anticipated release “From Dust To Light”, is primarily inspired by the devastating earthquake in her hometown of Christhurch. “Dust rose above the city that day from crumbling buildings. As you can imagine, it not only affected us physically, but emotionally and spiritually.” Says Ariana. “From the wreckage though, people are picking themselves up, forging ahead into new growth and opportunities.”
“From Dust To Light” is more of a crossover album since “Tuia”, showcasing Tikao’s stylistic development and experimentation. This album presents crystalline vocals and spacious meditative song structures with sparse, lush instrumental enhancement. Tikao alternates from English to Te Reo – in particular her native Kai Tahu dialect from the South island.
“I write specifically with South Island Maori historical and cultural themes in my lyrics and musical language.” States Tikao. “I do not try to imitate with my musical style. I just write how the song wants to come out and try and work with the songs as individuals.”
With the assistance of Creative New Zealand, “From Dust to Light” was recorded at The Surgery, Wellington with Lee Prebble as engineer. Co-produced by Tikao, Prebble and Ben Lemi Wood, and mastered by Mike Gibson, the album is to be released on November 16th via DRM and Ode Records.