Sunday Star-Times - Sunday Magazine - - THE GRILL - Photo: Vic­to­ria Birken­shaw Words: Britt Mann

In 1965, Imelda Mar­cos be­came the First Lady of the Philip­pines.

In 2010, Fat­boy Slim and David Byrne re­leased an al­bum chart­ing her rise and fall.

In 2018, Ria Hall is one of five fe­male vo­cal­ists bring­ing the al­bum – and Mar­cos’ story – to life on stage.

The al­bum and the rock mu­si­cal – which also stars Jen­nifer Ward-Lealand, Colleen Davis, Vil­lette Dasha, and Sarah Nes­sia – take their name from the words Mar­cos, a glam­orous klep­to­crat known for her thou­sand-strong shoe col­lec­tion, once said she wanted in­scribed on her tomb­stone: Here Lies Love.

When Hall speaks to Sun­day, the award­win­ning record­ing artist of Ng i Te Rangi/ Ng ti Rang­inui de­scent is in the fi­nal throes of an Aus­tralasian tour with fel­low artist Rob Ruha. From Thurs­day, she’ll be bathed nightly in light from a disco ball, on stage at Auck­land’s Q Theatre.

“It’s one of those sto­ries that re­ally should be a movie,” Hall, a self-pro­fessed his­tory lover, says of the up­com­ing show. “It kind of makes me fizz, be­cause it’s a real story.”

It’s not the first time she’s worked with fel­low te reo M ori speaker Ward-Lealand, a per­form­ing arts poly­math she calls, “an avid pro­fes­sional”. Nor is it Hall’s first mu­si­cal. The artist’s own work has flavours of roots, reg­gae, hip-hop and soul. She says she has re­spect for the disco genre: its in­flu­ence on R&B, and the singers and sto­ries be­hind it.

The 35-year-old is not, how­ever, a dance­hall queen. “If you were talk­ing to me like, 10 years ago – per­haps,” she says, chuck­ling. “Not these days.”

North Is­land / South Is­land Kapa haka / Reg­gae

Go solo / Col­lab Live gig / Stu­dio ses­sion Night­club / Restau­rant Disco ball / Salt lamp Cyndi Lau­per / Florence Welch En­vi­ron­ment / Econ­omy Dance / Sleep

Hip-hop / Disco-pop Sum­mer by the beach / Win­ter in the moun­tains Cray­fish / Choco­late fish

Christ­mas / Birth­day

Here Lies Love plays at Q Theatre in Auck­land from Novem­ber 22 to De­cem­ber 8. See qthe­atre.co.nz for times and tick­ets.

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