On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenging of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post everyday (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…
Ana Hato (with Deane Waretini) – Pokarekare Ana (1929)
The next leg of our journey is a long flight from Cuba all the way to New Zealand and a spot of Maori music. I had the privilege of visiting New Zealand in 2008 and went to the Maori centre of Rotorua during my trip. I took in some of the culture and even enjoyed an evening dinner with Maori singers and dancers performing for those gathered. Naturally, the appearance of a traditional Maori song on this list was most welcome.
This version of Pokarekare Ana is performed by Ana Hato and Deane Warentini and was recorded way back in 1929. The song itself is another one about love and sung in the Maori language. I’ve looked at a translation and it evokes some evocative imagery of turbulent waters being calmed by the presence of a young woman and the writer’s pen no longer has the paper to convey his love but his feelings are undiminished.
I did enjoy Pokarekare Ana but it didn’t have the same vibrancy as the songs I heard performed live in Rotorua. It is an early recording of course without many of the benefits of technology we have today. It’s been more than a decade since I was surrounded by Maori culture and though this hasn’t been my favourite song on the list so far, it did take me back to the memorable days I had in Rotorua.
Favourite song so far: