Modern Maori Quartet: That’s Us! review at Assembly George Square, Edinburgh – ‘fiercely individual sound’
A series of productions from New Zealand is taking place at the Edinburgh Fringe this year and included is the Modern Maori Quartet, a four-piece, close-harmony vocal group with its roots set firmly in Kiwi soil.
That’s Us! is an introductory concert for the group’s first gig in the UK and judging by the reaction of the audience, it’s unlikely to be the last.
With a strong yet insistent acoustic guitar backing, the initial resemblance is that of a mariachi band. When the lights go up however, the image is smart, stocky and smiling. The set is a blend of rock’n’roll classics arranged as a four-part harmony, combined with a selection of traditional Maori sounds.
There are mash-ups of I Want To Know What Love Is and Rock The Boat that sit easily alongside a ballad about the importance of womanhood in Maori culture.
Amid outrageous flirting, the banter is loosely educational, introducing the public to important words in the Maori dialect, including family, love and, of course, applause. Accompanying the epic sounds created by this group is a series of dance moves, reminiscent of a gentle but no less striking haka.
That’s Us! may not be cutting edge but it is a welcome addition to an easy-listening playlist.