After enjoying a completely sold out Australian tour, announcing his return to the east coast for October’s Lost Picnic festivals and revealing a summer run supporting Florence + The Machine, Marlon Williams simply isn’t stopping.
With his sophomore record Make Way For Love continuing to impress internationally too, the crooner recently had time to head back to New Zealand, where he linked up with The Pou Tiriao Singers for a gorgeous reimagining of the album’s title track.
Directed by Tim McInnes, “Make Way For Love” as reworked here, is gentler in its delivery and with the layered tones of the choir, the essence of the song harks back to the works of Pasifika singers prominent through the late 50’s into the 60’s and 70’s.
“From the genesis of this song’s journey, it gently but surely revealed its form to be a Maori waiata (song).” Williams says. “The strum, the sentiment, the mauri. Lamentably, everything but the reo. So when the idea of doing a unique performance was brought to me by Amazon, I got straight on the blower to my pal Zion Tauamiti. I knew Zion was running a Maori and Pacifica youth community choir in East Christchurch, an area absolutely put through the wringer and hung out to dry in post Earthquake Canterbury.”
“Zion was super keen to have the choir involved. We got together for one rehearsal and the strength of the unified sound was overwhelming. They treated my like one of the crew and when it came time to pool some money for petrol to get home and I reached for my wallet, Zion turned to me and told me in no uncertain terms, to stay out of it; I was manuhiri (a guest), and that was that.”
The choir, made up of Tauamiti, Raewyn Hodge, Tuhekeao Williams, Hora Nicholas, Nikora Nitro, Elishia Manihera, Vai Punivai, Isla Martin, Adonai Schwenke and Biancha Biddle, were dealt a blow when Tauamiti suffered a heart attack that left him in a coma quite recently. As Williams explains, this video is proof of their unified strength in rallying behind him during this period of recovery.
“Being the lion of a man that he is, Zion woke up and is now, thankfully, in the process of recovery. This video and the beautiful people gathered in it are a testament to Zion’s limitless energy, compassion and pure love for his people.”
Check it out below.