Folk, world and roots music industry representatives, record labels, managers, agents, festival bookers and artists gathered in February 2019 for a music industry conference for Folk Alliance International (FAI) held in Montréal, Canada.
At the FAI conference was also the world’s first International Indigenous Music Summit (IIMS).
Māmā Mihirangi & The Māreikura, an all-female Māori trio led by Mihirangi of Ngāti Rākei and Ngāti Waikorara, were invited to perform at the conference through a scholarship as official showcase artists that was supported by the New Zealand Music Commission. Over 2,500 artists performed at the FAI Conference in over 4000 Showcases. Songlines Magazine (UK) listed Māmā Mihirangi & The Māreikura as one of the top 3 live performances to have been seen at the conference.
The first International Indigenous Music Summit was an invitation-only, global event that focused on Indigenous realities within the music industry. Many Indigenous Peoples and their allies were invited from around the globe, coming together to discuss their respective journeys and experiences as Indigenous artists, and what challenges have been, and continue to be for Indigenous artists on the International market. It was also a great place for networking and sharing resources for their respective industry territories with the opportunity to present the importance of awareness and solutions to those from the mainstream industry who attended.
Mihirangi was invited by the organisers as a key panellist, and although many others were invited, Mihirangi was the only Māori representative able to attend. Having these two events alongside each other allowed for thousands of musicians to have access to a wide variety of Indigenous music and artists, further their understanding of other cultures and for the international music industry to listen and learn from their discussions.
Māmā Mihirangi & The Māreikura are an all-female Māori world-roots production, led by internationally renowned artist/activist and “Queen of Loops”, Māmā Mihirangi. Mihirangi was a 'New Zealand’s Got Talent’ finalist in 2012, known for introducing the country to the art of live looping. Her new show includes the addition of two female kapa haka dancers, the Māreikura, who perform women’s haka, waiata-a-ringa, mau-rakau, taiaha and poi. Mihirangi’s waiata has a strong kaupapa around empowering women, inclusivity and the role of Indigenous People’s in environmentalism.
At the FAI Conference, their showcase had the international music industry in tears emotionally applauding their performance, “This profound group…important voices doing incredibly powerful work” shared Piper Hayes. Their showcases became packed rooms with Canadian magazines writing descriptions such as,
I left feeling more womanly and confident in response to their expression of ancient power - Americana Highways.
A female trio whose show was fierce and thrilling… a sonic cyclone of song and dance - The Transcript-Oklahoma.
As a result of their showcase, the Director of the Byron Bay Bluesfest has booked MM&M as headliners alongside artists such as Jack Johnson, Ben Harper, Norah Jones and Hozier.
Mihirangi has long been a strong advocate for the environment, indigenous rights and equality.
With a strong belief in encouraging social and indigenous values into legislation. Mihirangi utilised all her resources to create a music tour of Canada in 2018 that focused on establishing an International Indigenous Language Exchange program as a one-year family swap.
She also became a member of the Executive Committee of The Alliance of Guardians of Mother Nature (AMNG). Travelling to Brazil in 2017, along with 30 tribes from the Amazon and Indigenous Leaders, Shamans and Chiefs from around the world, the 200 strong members of the AMNG came together for what is known as, ‘The Great Assembly’ to write The Declaration of the Alliance of Guardians and Children of Mother Earth, a global call to the UN, the world States and humanity for the preservation of life on the planet and future generations.
Mihirangi hopes to bring the next ‘Great Assembly’ to New Zealand in the near future.