Maori first for harpist

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Virtuoso musician Katie Targett-Adams plans to sing in Maori for the first time when she performs in Queenstown. 

The world-renowned Scottish singer, songwriter and harpist will add Aotearoa’s mother tongue to her impressive repertoire of foreign language numbers for the charity fundraiser concert at Thomas Brown Gallery, near Arrowtown. 

Targett-Adams has performed for Queen Elizabeth at the opening of the Scottish Parliament and in Beijing’s Great Hall of the Forbidden City during a glittering career. 

And with a degree in modern and medieval languages from Oxford, performing in Gaelic, Mandarin, Spanish, German, French, Italian, and now Maori, is a labour of love. 

Targett-Adams says: “The fun part about singing in different languages is that it requires you get behind the national psyche of another culture and that in turn makes you interpret and perform the song differently. 

“I almost prefer singing in another language to English because you have less of a personal connection to the words and this allows you to concentrate on the feeling and dynamics of the music itself. In Italian the songs have a lot of swells and dramatic moments, in Chinese the songs can really be very delicate, and in French there’s that element of romance to explore.” 

Targett-Adams has released six albums to date and is credited with reviving interest in the Celtic harp, or clarsach. The 32-year-old lives in Hong Kong with her Kiwi husband but has a home at Lakes Hayes and plans to settle here one day. 

The Thomas Brown Galley concert, raising funds for charity Cure Kids, will feature music from a plethora of different cultures. 

“I will be starting off in Scotland where I come from and singing in Gaelic and Scots before setting off through Europe for some classical music, the States for some light jazz, South America for a touch of bossa nova, ending up in New Zealand, of course, with my first Maori song. 

“In concert I like to take the audience on a geographical journey but also on a musical journey, embracing as many different genres as I can. Normally when you conjure up images of a harpist, you imagine them in an orchestra waiting patiently until their big glissando moment comes up. The harp, however, can be more flexible than people think.” 

The gallery itself, on Speargrass Flat Road, will provide a welcome change from Targett-Adams’ usual mega-venue concerts. 

“I’m looking forward to the rare chance to sing without microphones since the acoustics inside the gallery are fabulous with its high ceilings and stone walls and floors. I’m also looking forward my first Kiwi audience. 

“An intimate setting such as the Thomas Brown Gallery is the most enjoyable type of venue as you can connect and interact with the audience much more easily than when you are on a large stage and more detached from the audience.” 

Catch Katie Targett-Adams at Thomas Brown Gallery, Arrowtown, this Saturday from 7pm. Tickets are $85