Ever wanted to hear live drum and bass in a marae? Now you can, thanks to Ōtautahi’s Dillastrate and their latest track “Ko Tātou Te Ahi”, produced by the one and only Tiki Taane.
Recorded live inside the wharenui at Ngā Hau E Whā National Marae in Christchurch, this is Dillastrate at their best: powerful bass drops, propulsive drums, electronic keys, and rapping in both Māori and English.
The anthemic single was released as part of this year’s Waiata Anthems Week compilation, and celebrates Christchurch’s people for their “resilience, mana, and ability to overcome adversity and rise above it.”
“It carries a kind of audio manaakitanga, designed to support and uplift the listener to hold their heads up high and reflect on their own whakapapa and tūrangawaewae,” Dillastrate explained.
“We deliberately chose to record the instrumentation within the wharenui in order to enhance the meaning of the waiata and capture the wairua and mauri of the wharenui on the record. The feeling of recording inside the wharenui is a feeling like no other.
“You are immediately surrounded by a deep history that affects you in ways that you can’t describe. We were humbled to record in the wharenui, as it meant that we were lucky enough to contribute a small piece to its history, and support the revitalisation of te reo Māori through our mahi.”
The accompanying music video, directed by Laura Gebbie and Dillastrate, offers a behind-the-scenes look at the recording process in the wharenui and captures the track’s explosive energy (watch below).
“By being welcomed into the wharenui by the mana whenua, the video is a visual statement of the manaakitanga that we have received as manuhiri by the rūnanga of this place,” they add. “And as the waiata is a celebration of the people of Ōtautahi, Waitaha, and Te Waipounamu – capturing the performance inside this wharenui is the best way to symbolise this message.”
Dillastrate is comprised of Henare ‘H’ Kaa and Tim Driver. Since their 2017 EP Black Diamond, they have been pushing Māori music into increasingly exciting new territory. “Ko Tātou Te Ahi” joins their other 2023 singles “I’m Crazy”, and “Way To Flow”, the latter of which is another collaboration with Taane.
On the live music front, Dillastrate are returning to the Coroglen Tavern in the Coromandel for a huge three-day New Year’s Eve party alongside the likes of CHAII and Flamingo Pier (more information here).
Dillastrate’s “Ko Tātou Te Ahi” is out now.