Inspired by Hall’s own personal journey, as well as the current political climate across the globe, Manawa Wera is a collection of songs that speaks directly to her views, vision and experiences.
“In these testing times which we live, and with the current social and political climate, it is essential we remain passionate and fervent of heart. To be steadfast, bold and brave irrespective of the storm. These stories are told through music that sounds like the Earth is heaving. That is the essence of this record,” says Hall.
Sonically it takes its influences from classic 1970s reggae and rock records - think Third World, Jimmy Cliff, Steel Pulse – whilst staying true to Hall’s own unique sound.
“From the outset our intention was to ensure the mana of Aotearoa reggae was upheld, preserved and given an opportunity to prosper from the perspective of a wāhine Māori,” she explains.
“These are songs of hope, faith and love, which will never go out of style. If you can feel the genuine intention of this album through its music, the reggae rhythm pulsates through your bones and the messages hit your heart - our work is done.”
The album was recorded alongside Laughton Kora and Dr Lee Prebble at The Surgery Studios in Wellington and features Troy Kingi, Rob Ruha and members of L.A.B, Trinity Roots, Katchafire and Sons of Zion. It also features the exquisite artwork of legendary artist Robyn Kahukiwa.
Ria Hall established herself as a force on the NZ music scene with the release of her debut 2011 self-titled EP. She went on to win multiple awards and critical acclaim for her genre-bending sound combining English and Te Reo Māori vocals. In 2017, her album Rules of Engagement saw her win the 2018 APRA Maioha Award for Songwriting Excellence in Te Reo Māori, and Best Female Solo Artist at the Waiata Maori Music Awards.