Queen clas­sic is a hit in te reo Ma¯ ori

Whangarei Report - - NEWS -

What hap­pens when a lead­ing mu­sic com­pany asks Whanga¯ rei’s Hatea Kapa Haka to trans­late rock group Queen’s Bo­hemian Rhap­sody into te reo Ma¯ ori?

You end up with a vi­ral Face­book video which has more than 300,000 views and more than 3000 shares.

“They told us it would go vi­ral, but we’re shocked. Straight away it went right up. It had 1000 views within the first cou­ple of min­utes, to get it up to nearly 300,000 views and that many shares — wow,” said tu­tor Joby Hopa.

The video — which fea­tures the group singing the te reo Ma¯ ori ver­sion of the song while push­ing a car down the road with in­ter­net sen­sa­tion Wil­liam Wai­irua — came af­ter Uni­ver­sal Mu­sic ap­proached Hatea back­stage at the APRA Sil­ver Scroll Awards fol­low­ing the group’s open­ing per­for­mance.

“We’ve got ar­range­ment and har­monies and all of this go­ing on so they asked us if we would be in­ter­ested in trans­lat­ing Bo­hemian Rhap­sody into Ma¯ ori and then ar­range it and learn it and then join in the video with Wiremu Wai­irua,” Hopa said.

In two weeks they had the song ready, in one af­ter­noon the group learned it, the next week they were in Wai­w­era shoot­ing the video, and two weeks later it was on Face­book.

“Bo­hemian Rhap­sody is one of the most iconic songs out there in the world — one of the most fa­mous songs in the world. At karaoke you hear lots of peo­ple butcher it be­cause it’s so hard to sing.

“Even we were a lit­tle bit ap­pre­hen­sive be­cause Queen is such an artist and (Fred­die Mer­cury’s) voice range is amaz­ing and for us to try em­u­late that, or get any­where near that was go­ing to be a chal­lenge.” The ar­range­ment was con­ducted by David Tapene, while the lyrics were trans­lated by his daugh­ter Te Amo­haere Morehu, Otene Hopa and Raniera Har­ri­son. Trans­lat­ing was all about find­ing the right words.

“You can trans­late word for word or you can see what the essence of the song is. So for the crew trans­lat­ing, it’s not ver­ba­tim word for word translit­er­a­tion, it’s feel­ing what’s the essence when Queen’s de­liv­er­ing that. It was quite hard but doable.

“We had a bit of an en­tourage fol­low­ing and they loved it.”

Hopa said the recog­ni­tion was good for the group, Pe­hi­aw­eri Marae — the group’s base, and Whangarei. While only snip­pets of the ver­sion fea­tured, the en­tire song had been trans­lated. Will we hear the full ver­sion?

“Watch this space,” Hopa said.

Hatea Kapa Haka and Wil­liam Wai­irua in the video for the te reo Ma¯ ori ren­di­tion of Bo­hemian Rhap­sody.

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