During her show at London’s Alexandra Palace earlier this week, Lorde was joined by fellow New Zealander Marlon Williams for a duet sung entirely in Māori.
The pair performed her Solar Power track, “Stoned At The Nail Salon”, in the Indigenous language of New Zealand. Late last year, Lorde released a surprise EP composed of Māori versions of Solar Power songs, her first release in Te reo Māori.
Titled Te Ao Mārama, the EP saw the singer collaborate with Sir Tīmoti Kāretu, Dame Hinewehi Mohi, Hana Mereraiha, and Hēmi Kelly, and contained the Māori version of “Stoned at the Nail Salon” (‘Mata Kohore’).
With Solar Power being heavily focused on the environment, Lorde explained in a newsletter at the time that she felt it was appropriate to translate the album into te reo in acknowledgement of principles such as kaitiakitanga: “I’m not Māori, but all New Zealanders grow up with elements of this worldview,” she said.
“Many things revealed themselves slowly to me while I was making this album, but the main realisation by far was that much of my value system around caring for and listening to the natural world comes from traditional Māori principles. There’s a word for it in te reo: kaitiakitanga, meaning ‘guardianship or caregiving for the sky, sea and land’.”
It’s not the first time Lorde and Williams have performed together. In March 2021, Lorde joined her fellow Kiwi onstage at Auckland’s Hollywood Avondale for a surprise duet. The pair performed Bruce Springsteen’s “Tougher Than the Rest”, taken from his 1987 album Tunnel of Love.
Williams, meanwhile, recently announced his new album, My Boy, with the album set for release on September 9th via Dead Oceans. Williams dropped a new song, “Thinking of Nina”, to coincide with the album news, accompanied by a music video directed by Sports Team.
In a press statement, Williams explained his new album draws from a handful of “male shapes”. “Growing up an only child, I had to outsource my brothers and build a world around me,” he said. “So while masculinity is a big theme, it’s really subsumed by broader explorations of vitality, and the social and cultural value placed on legacy.”