Opera House Headliner


Experience a voice ‘that is reassuring not only in its accomplishment but in its ability to interpret, emote and inspire’ (TimeOut).

One of Aotearoa’s most distinctive soul singers, multi-award winning Whirimako Black brings her rich and versatile sound to the Wellington Jazz Festival, taking you to the ‘heart of a song, [bringing] that soft but strong and supple voice into focus on the familiar melodies’ (Graham Reid, Elsewhere).

Hailing from Mātaatua, Horouta, Te Arawa and Aotea waka and raised in the Ruatoki Vallery, Whirimako has been awarded Best Māori Album, Best Jazz Album, a Silver Scroll for Best Māori Composition, and in 2006 was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Māori music.

Whirimako’s career spans eight albums across te Reo Māori and English, recording everything from covers of jazz standards, U2 and Stevie Wonder to Ngāi Tūhoe waiata and her own compositions, all in her signature, velvety smooth style.

Performing sumptuous soul renditions of favourites such as "Cry Me a River/Tangihia He Awa," "Summertime/He Raumati," and "Dance Me Till the End of Love" as well as original and traditional waiata, including "Hohou Te Rongo" and "Te Mauri o Nga Waka," Whirimako will be joined by a line-up of some of Aotearoa’s top jazz musicians for this special one-off performance. Experience her ‘spirit, passion, confidence on stage’ (Scoop) and celebrate a legendary talent of Aotearoa jazz.

Joining Whirimako on stage will be:

Ben Hunt - Trumpet
Eilish Wilson - Saxophone
Louisa Williamson - Saxophone
Hikurangi Schaverien-Kaa - Drums
Johnny Lawrence - Bass
Eugene Fuimaono - Guitar
Daniel Hayles - Piano

Haere mai, whakarongo mai ki tēnei manu tīoriori o te wao nui a Tāne. He tohunga ki te waiata, he tohunga ki te whakangahau, ā, inā ngā mahi kua oti i a ia, ngā tohu kua riro i a ia. Nō ngā waka o Mātaatua, o Horouta, o Te Arawa me Aotea. I tipu ake ki te whārua o Ruatoki. Ko te reo rōreka o Aotearoa tēnei te whakatairanga nei, ko te reo whakaweawe o Whirimako Black.

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