Te Vaka “Pate Pate”

2001-te-vaka-pate-pate“Pate Pate” is an ode to having a good time dancing to the sweet rhythms of the pate log drum. Sung in Tokelauan (a rarity in the world of NZ On Air video funding), it’s an upbeat and highly danceable number. According to Wikipedia, the song was “number one in the South Pacific”, but, uh, citation required.

The video is on-the-road footage of Te Vaka touring Europe. There are even some shots of a WOMAD gig, so I’d guess this is life on the world-music circuit.

The group have made good use of their travels, fitting in a lot of sightseeing (and video making) in their downtime. We see them wobbling in comedy-size clogs in Amsterdam, checking out the sights in Glasgow, doing the tourist thing in Piccadilly Circus, strutting in front of the Eiffel tower, enjoying sunny European canals and dancing wearing a coconut bra.

And we also see them gigging, playing to large festival audiences. Everyone’s up and dancing to this exciting musical group from the other side of the world.

Phil Collins set the bar pretty high with his video for “Take Me Home”, shot in different locations around the world as he was touring. Te Vaka obviously have a much lower budget than ol’ Phil, and their video has more excitement to it. Rather than making a deep statement about travel, the video captures the thrill of a band who are touring Europe. Seeing the two Te Vaka girls dancing in front of Madame Tussauds, it has a sense of, “Can you believe it? We’re actually in London! This is awesome!”

Best bit: the alarming early shot of a festival performer with large fake boobs.

The video can’t be embedded, so head over to YouTube to watch it.

Director: Julie Foa’i
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… red light special.

Te Vaka “Lua Afe”

1998-te-vaka-lua-afeOceanic group Te Vaka, who have been working solidly and touring since the mid ’90s, had only two music videos funded by NZ On Air. I figure this is more about their personal style of performance. They’re the sort of band that tours extensively around the world and doesn’t need music videos or radio play to sell albums.

And indeed “Lua Afe” – “Two Thousand”, a celebration of unity for the new millennium – isn’t the sort of song you’d expect to hear on New Zealand commercial radio. It’s an almost acoustic piece, built around staunch pate drumming and men chanting, with only the merest hint of disco bass and electronic beats.

The video, directed by Angela Sparks, is “filmed in Auckland regional parks” (possibly Kare Kare, if a YouTube tag is correct) and it manages to give Auckland’s coast a slight tropical feeling.

Filmed in a warm, golden light, attractive young men and women give the camera dramatic glances. There are also scenes of Samoan pe’a tattooing, with close-ups of the inky stick tapping into the skin.

There’s a mysteriousness to the way the video has been shot, with lots of close-ups never letting us get a broad look at the action. This draws the viewer in. It feels we’re less watching from a distance and more that we’re actually part of the celebrations.

Best bit: the dirty dancing that sneaks in.

Next… a bunch of cool guys.