Australia’s Queen Of Loops Brings Maori Culture To Dog Mountain

Māmā Mihirangi & the Māreikura are performing at the Levit AMP Music Series at Dog Mountain in St. Johnsbury on Sunday.

ST. JOHNSBURY — In three years of Levitt AMP St. Johnsbury Live Music Series productions, performers from Scotland, Italy, Kenya, Morocco, Cuba, and Australia have treated audiences to mariachi, bagpipes, swing, vaudeville, big brass, and Brazilian cowboy music.

But Sunday’s show at Dog Mountain in St. Johnsbury promises something new.

“It seems safe to say that none of us has seen anything like the show scheduled for Sunday,” noted information provided by Catamount Arts. “Māmā Mihirangi & the Māreikura are a fierce female trio combining traditional Māori chants, pulsing rhythms, soaring melodies, and authentic haka for a thrilling spectacle that’s taken the world by storm.”

Artist/activist and “Queen of Loops” Māmā Mihirangi & the Māreikura weave ancient chants with intricate harmonies, traditional & contemporary instruments, beats & deep bass. The Māreikura are traditional dancers who combine women’s haka, traditional weaponry and Māori martial arts for a contemporary cultural performance.

“With grace, fierceness, warmth and humour, Mihirangi’s lyrics celebrate the values, lore, medicines and customs of her lineage and culture, uplifting her audience with her infectious laughter and fearless authenticity,” stated the Catamount Arts release.

“It’s clear that Mihi places great importance on having a genuine connection with her fans,” writes Katherine Quinn for BMA Magazine Australia, “using her lyrics to communicate subjects that are important to her and central to Maori culture.”

In addition to the band’s free Levitt AMP St. Johnsbury Music Series performance on Sunday, Māmā Mihirangi & the Māreikura will teach a Women’s Haka Workshop on Monday, Aug. 19, at the Comfort Inn. The Women’s Haka is a traditional dance that expresses a woman’s sacred potency and power. Workshop participants will learn the calls and steps of the dance as well as their history, tradition, and protocols. The same workshop held recently in Montreal got nearly a thousand RSVPs on Facebook, necessitating a venue change to accommodate hundreds of women.

After a highly successful first tour in Canada in 2018, Māmā Mihirangi & the Māreikura were invited to perform at the world’s largest folk, roots and world music conference in February, where Songlines magazine (UK) listed them as one of the event’s top 3 must-see performances.

Opening for Māmā Mihirangi & the Māreikura are Sara Grace & SoOts. An original cast member of Anais Mitchell’s “Hadestown,” Sara Grace is known for her percussive guitar style, stirring vocal delivery, and sly wit. Drummer Andrew Suits rounds out the duo’s funk-soul sound for a live performance that promises to pack Dog Mountain’s grassy dance floor.

Māmā Mihirangi & the Māreikura will be at Dog Mountain on Sunday, August 18th, as part of the 2019 Levitt AMP St. Johnsbury Music Series, which takes place Sunday evenings from 4-7 p.m. through Sept. 22. The concerts are free, family-friendly, and dogs are welcome. Parking is on-site (with handicapped parking available), and carpooling is very much encouraged. Food and drink is available for sale thanks to Kingdom Taproom, providing beer and wine, and local food vendors including, new this year, Calex, the ambulance service that recently branched out to the burgers-and-fries business. No outside alcohol is permitted.

The Levitt AMP St. Johnsbury Music Series is supported in part by the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation, a private foundation that empowers towns and cities across America to transform underused public spaces into thriving destinations through the power of free live music. Levitt’s 2019 concert season is in full swing, with over 500 free Levitt concerts taking place in 26 towns and cities coast to coast. With an eclectic mix of talent on every Levitt stage, there’s something for everyone to enjoy, from acclaimed emerging artists to seasoned musical legends. For more details, visit www.levittamp.org.

For a complete listing of bands scheduled to appear this year at Levitt AMP St. Johnsbury, or to learn more about Māmā Mihirangi & the Māreikura’s Women’s Haka Workshop on Monday, visit www.catamountarts.org.

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