Hailing from Easter Island, Mau Power has released his debut single, Island Home. BOB GORDON reports.
Patrick Mau Power is deadly serious when he says “hip hop saved my life.” At a time when he was lost, the genre gave him focus to get his life back on track.
“Throughout my life I have been through many trials and tribulations,” he notes. “Some of these moments have taken me down many dark roads. Hip hop was my outlet that gave me a purpose to continue on changing the path I was travelling on. It might sound like a cliché, but in all honesty if it wasn’t for hip hop, I would probably be incarcerated or dead. It has the power to get messages of hope and positivity to many generations especially the young.”
Before hip hop, Power had already bonded with the traditional Torres Straits music of his Thursday Island home. He has now infused the music of his upbringing with the hip hop that saved him.
“Music is a significant part of the Torres Strait culture,” he says. “It is one of the most important elements of documentation and of passing of history and knowledge. This is also in the case with hip hop music and culture. I was raised in an environment where music was one of the core elements of our traditional practices and cultural survival. This personal and communal expression is what music represents to me. It vital to my traditional culture and to being relevant in hip hop.”
Power recently released his first single, Island Home, written by Neil Murray for the Warumpi Band and covered by Christine Anu, who is sampled on the new version.
“The song, My Island Home, to me was a song created in the essence of belonging,” Power explains. “The original song was performed by the Warumpi Band, it was based on the connection that the lead singer had to his country.
“The remake Christine Anu did for My Island Home is an iconic Australian classic, which is recognised around the world. Christine Anu is from the Torres Straits, and she is an inspiration to all musicians of the region, including me. This version of the song resonated well with the Torres Strait people and myself. Like the original it captures the essence of belonging to a country and place. This is what the song has meant for many Australians over the years.”
Island Home is the first taste of Power’s forthcoming debut album, The Show Will Go On.
“I wanted to create a piece of music that represents the development of the life of Mau Power,” he explains. “It connects my story of survival and connection of two cultures, hip hop and Indigenous Australian culture, in particular Torres Strait culture.
“Each track is autobiographical to an extent, however it’s written so it can be identified with by anybody who has lived a little and who listens to lyrics and real life music. It was inspired by life stories of people around me, watching my community grow, learning from elders and my own personal journey into manhood.”
In respect to some Indigenous cultures in Australia, the lead singer of Warumpi Band was not named in this piece, as some cultures cannot speak the name of those who have passed on.