Teremoana “Four Women”

1995-teremoana-four-womenTeremoana covers Nina Simone’s “Four Women”. Unlike the original, Teremoana omits the final lines of each verse which would name the woman being sung about. Instead of the song closing with the killer line “My name is Peaches!”, it meanders off with Teremoana murmuring “What do they call me?”

Teremoana’s vocals are laiden with trilling, which has the strange effect of making the lyrics hard to understand in places, as if she’s trying to disguise the fact that it’s actually quite an angry, political song.

The video sees Teremoana dressing as the four women. There’s Aunt Sarah with big hair and a floral dress, Saffronia with smooth hair and a stylish waistcoat, Sweet Thing with a 1960s updo, and tomboy Peaches with her hair in Bjork-style mini buns. All four women have long, talonous fingernails.

It’s filmed in black and white in a stylish cabaret setting with dramatic lighting. Teremoana performs with four quite distinct characters – Aunt Sarah is stressed and shy, Saffronia is confident, Sweet Thing is seductive, and Peaches is bold and twitchy.

The YouTube uploader notes that the song suffered from lack of radio airplay due to its lyrical themes, but says, “Thank goodness a dope ass music video was created which gave it longer television air play.” And indeed the dope assness continues online.

Best bit: Teremoana’s loooong fingernails.

Director: Ross Cunningham
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… a dirty old game of cards.

Teremoana “Beautiful People”

1995-teremoana-beautiful-peoplePreviously seen as one of Moana’s glamorous Moahunters, Teremoana goes for a more casual look for her first solo single, opting for a baggy shirt and trousers as she performs the song at an outdoor concert.

The brown pride anthem (“Beautiful people – skin dark and brown”) is delivered to a large appreciative audience, cut together with shots of people out doing ordinary things, being beautiful.

To compare this with Shihad’s “Bitter” video filmed at the epic stadium experience of Big Day Out, Teremoana seems to have a better connection with her audience. We see a few New Zealanders standing with their arms folded, but there are many more who are happily dancing along.

While it’s a fairly predictable treatment for the video, it’s works. And after all of Teremoana’s work with Upper Hutt Posse and Moana, it’s cool that when she finally steps out with her own thing, she totally owns it.

Best bit: the slow-motion shot of a fisherman attending to his bait bucket.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… the ancient art of chucking paint around.