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.