An “ipu” is a gourd, a container for carrying food and goods. Accordingly, ipu korero denotes a storyteller, someone who ‘carries’ stories. The ipu is also employed as a musical instrument. This album is also an ipu, a vessel from which flows the unique and evocative musical threads of two cultures, Maori and Pakeha.

The album brings together a unique ensemble of piano, cello, and pre-European Māori instruments and voice. It tells a poetic tale of love based on a story by Tungia Baker (translated into Māori by Wena Tait). The story has been set to music by Gillian Whitehead, one of Aotearoa’s most respected composers reflects:

“When I first heard Tungia’s story of Waka and Kowhai, I knew I wanted to tell it with music, weaving the voices of Māori instruments with those of cello and piano to create a soundscape which supported it. The Māori instruments are employed in sympathy with their traditional usage. The pu kaea for instance is heard only during the appearance of the war canoe, and the purerehua, which summons rain, presages the storm …” - Gillian Whitehead

Featuring Tungia Baker (voice), Richard Nunns (taonga puoro), Judy Bailey (piano) and Georg Pedersen (cello)

Produced by Gillian Whitehead and Steve Garden
Executive production by Keith Hill
Recorded by Steve Garden and mixed at The Garden Shed
Story by Tungia Baker, translated by Wena Tait
Design by UnkleFranc

This recording was made possible with support from Creative New Zealand

Released: 12 May 1998
Catalogue: RAT-D007