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New Zealands King Kapisi and Wai hits New York

Author: Diego Pablos
Monday, June 30, 2003
King Kapisi and Wai are making their way to New York. These acts stand out as some of the best New Zealand has to offer, as well as a microcosmic glimpse of something much larger: New Zealand Sounds.

King Kapisi is one of the most successful rappers in New Zealand history. Considering he's also a multi-instrumentalist who creates nearly all of his own music, that's quite a feat. Born Bill Urale, the exceptionally talented Samoan musician has been plying his trade in the Hip-Hop realm for more than ten years, getting his start with a group called Gifted And Brown before hitting the solo trail. He found coveted recognition in 1999 with one of his first solo singles, "Reverse Resistance," which received the Australasian Performing Rights Association Silver Scroll Award for Songwriter Of The Year. Kapisi's recent sophomore disc, 2nd Round Testament, stands poised to push him into the heavyweight ring of the world.

Then there's Wai. The most unique of all the artists from a global perspective, the expanded duo combines a modern dance aesthetic and grooves with the ancient sounds of the Maori people. As evidenced by their astounding first full-length, Wai 100%, the group takes elements as widely untapped as body slapping and the sounds of nature itself and mixes them with chants, beats and vocals that explore the full range and depth of Te Reo Maori — the language of the Maori people. Singer Mina Ripia's voice is nothing short of astonishing; the music she makes with partner Maaka McGregor and others is like nothing you've ever heard before. But once you do hear it, it's a sound you simply won't be able to get enough of.

So clear your schedule now: you won't want to miss either one of these special cross-continental gatherings. They'll be certain to remind you that, while it may be a small world after all, there's room in it for more music than you could ever possibly imagine.

Central Park
July 13
Beginning at 3 p.m.
Free event billed under the New Zealand Sounds banner.

Then, on the following day, the acts will all be on-hand to recreate their individual atmospheres at local hotspot Pianos, starting with New Zealand drinks and delicacies starting at 7 p.m., followed by performances on the hour from 8 p.m. on.