October 21, 2019
Tommy Taurima a master of melody
Songwriting legend Tommy Taurima has died, but his songs will live on.
Mr Taurima died on Saturday aged 83.
A member of the Church of Latter Day Saints, he worked for many years at the Polynesian Cultural Centre in Hawaii.
Ngāti Kahungunu kaumātua Piri Sciascia says he forged strong friendships in Hawaii and contributed to cultural revival there.
He says songs like Kotiro Māori are still sung from Muriwhenua to Murihiku and across the Pacific, and epitomise Mr Taurima's sophisticated yet simple approach to songwriting.
"Beautiful music, beautiful harmonies, sweet, he would place a lead group, usually a women's group above and below it, often the men a tenor part or fit in where you can, he concentrated his voices around the women, and so a lot of his songs are pitched high with a beautiful melody," Mr Sciasica says.
Tommy Taurima is being taken today to Kahungunu Marae in Nūhaka, and his funeral service is tomorrow.
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