The tune for this song is possibly familiar to many of my readers. It’s Il Silenzio, an instrumental composed by the Italian jazz trumpeter Nini Rosso, which is itself an adaptation of the opening to Tchaikovsky’s Capriccio Italien. The Bridge is the first song in te reo Māori (the Māori language) to gain a number 1 spot on the NZ hit parade. This it achieved in April 1981, knocking John Lenon’s Woman from the top ranking. The Bridge ranked number 1 on April 5, 19 & 26.
The Bridge was sung by Deane Waretini and the lyrics were written Waretini’s cousin, George Tait. The bridge in question represents two ideas. One is the Māngere Bridge which was under construction at the time (completed in 1983), linking opposite sides of the Manukau Harbour and two distinctly different urban settings. The other refers to the linking together of Māori and Pākekā cultures.
Unusual for the period, the single was self-financed by Waretini and he was so cash strapped that he paid the backing group in KFC. He then used guerrilla marketing to get the record on air and into the hands of the public, even recruiting a newspaper boy to sell copies to passers by. The techniques succeeded in getting the attention of CBS, and as they say, the rest is history.
I’m not usually a fan of the trumpet as it often sounds harsh to my ears. But I find they are beautiful in this melody, perhaps because it was composed by a trumpet player? And they balance the rich voice of Deane Waretini perfectly. Enjoy!
Taku aroha – i aue, i aue Ki nga pou1 o te piriti Āki, pakia mai rau E nga tai kaha ra e Pukepuke, i aue Nga roimata e aku kamo I rite ki te ngaru Whati mai, whati mai I waho e, whati mai. My concern is for the piles of the bridge, Constantly pounded by the strong tides. The tears well up in my eyes They are like the waves that break without …e nga tai kaha ra e Pukepuke, i aue Nga roimata e aku kamo I rite ki te ngaru Whati mai, whati mai I waho e, whati mai.
22 Sep, 2022 at 4:40 pm
That was another gem Barry – I found that if you endure another youtube ad, it’s followed by Dean Waretini singing another beautiful song on the Prince Tui Teka show, accompanied by another trumpet. Music I was completely unaware of.
22 Sep, 2022 at 4:50 pm
I’d forgotten the Prince Tui Teka Show. That brings back memories. Perhaps another source for Musical Mondays 😊
I’m pleased that you’re enjoying the discovery of some new music
22 Sep, 2022 at 5:01 pm
What would be the approx. date of the Prince’s show?
22 Sep, 2022 at 5:07 pm
The early 1980s if my memory serves me correctly. It had a variety show format – music, dance, comedy.
23 Sep, 2022 at 5:07 am
I’m assuming that the Prince was/is Maori – was the show watched by a broad spectrum of people, or mainly Maoris?
24 Sep, 2022 at 11:41 am
The plural of Māori nouns is the same as the singular form, and that still applies when they become part of New Zealand English, so the plural of Māori is Māori.
Prince Tui Teka was popular with all sectors of New Zealand society. The were no Māori language television channels in those days and main stream channels vied for audience numbers especially at peak times. If he wasn’t universally liked, he wouldn’t have had the opportunity to host a variety show on television networks.
24 Sep, 2022 at 2:03 pm
Once again those of us who live elsewhere have to be impressed with New Zealand.