The project contains new versions of five songs from Solar Power sung entirely in Māori, the indigenous language of New Zealand. To guide the project, Lorde brought in Dame Hinewehi Mohi, who recruited Sir Tīmoti Kāretu (one of the country’s foremost language experts), Hana Mereraiha, and Hēmi Kelly to serve as translators.
All proceeds from Te Ao Mārama will go to the New Zealand–based charities Forest and Bird and the Te Hua Kawariki Charitable Trust. In addition, all proceeds from Lorde’s merch store through Saturday at midnight ET will go to the Lilith Fund to support the fight for reproductive equity in Texas.
“Many things revealed themselves slowly to me while I was making this album, but the main realisation by far was that much of my value system around caring for and listening to the natural world comes from traditional Māori principles,” Lorde wrote in her newsletter about the EP. “There’s a word for it in te reo: kaitiakitanga, meaning ‘guardianship or caregiving for the sky, sea and land.’ I’m not Māori, but all New Zealanders grow up with elements of this worldview.”
She went on to explain why the project was so important to her:
“Te ao Māori and tikanga Māori are a big part of why people who aren’t from here intuit our country to be kind of ‘magical’, I think. I know I’m someone who represents New Zealand globally in a way, and in making an album about where I’m from, it was important to me to be able to say: this makes us who we are down here. It’s also just a crazy beautiful language — I loved singing in it. Even if you don’t understand te reo, I think you’ll get a kick out of how elegant my words sound in it. Hana’s translations for ‘Te Ara Tika / The Path’ and ‘Hine-i-te-Awatea / Oceanic Feeling’ in particular take my g-d breath away.”
Since dropping Solar Power last month, Lorde has stayed busy with appearances on Good Morning America and Late Late Show with James Corden. Earlier this week, the pop star released a medley of Britney Spears‘ “Break the Ice” and her own Solar Power cut “Fallen Fruit.” Her massive world tour in support of the album kicks off in February. Pick up tickets at Ticketmaster or on the secondary market now.
Te Ao Mārama Artwork:
Te Ao Mārama Tracklist:
01. Te Ara Tika / The Path
02. Te Ao Mārama / Solar Power
03. Mata Kohore / Stoned at the Nail Salon
04. Hua Pirau / Fallen Fruit
05. Hine-i-te-Awatea / Oceanic Feeling