The Most Beautiful Song in the World (NZ, non-Ceph)

Nov 20, 2002
This one's for Steve-O' and Tintenfisch, though it has nothing to do with Cephs:

On New Year's Eve 1999-2000, when millennium celebrations from around the world were being televised, one of the offerings -- which must have taken place in New Zealand -- featured Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, accompanied by a chorus, singing what I believe to be the most beautiful song in the world, though I had never heard it before and had no idea what it meant or what its title was (I assumed that it was in Maori). There were no subtitles and no commentary by either the local or the NZ announcers. It drove me crazy -- I just had to know what that song was.

For three years and nine months, I never heard that song again in any form, nor any mention of Dame Kiri singing it at the millennium celebration. I'd just about given up hope -- and then this week, a friend sent me a CD he'd burned of 25 folksongs from around the world by various artists. The 21st song was listed as "Pokarekare Ana" performed by the Maori Cultural Group. As soon as the track began, I knew I'd finally found it again -- the most beautiful song in the world! Dame Kiri wasn't on this recording, but it still captured the magic of the first time I'd heard it.

Apparently the history behind "Pokarekare Ana" is just as beautiful. Here is a website all about it with some short clips (the one of Dame Kiri is solo -- in the actual performance, the chorus joins in on the second verse):

NZ Folk Song * Pokarekare Ana - lyrics - translations

If you fall in love with it as I did and would like to learn it, here is a printable songsheet, complete with music, lyrics, and translation:

NZFolksong * Printable Songsheet * Pokarekare Ana

I know that taste in music is very subjective, but throughout my life I've heard thousands of songs, of dozens of genres, and none -- not even "Greensleeves" -- has haunted me as much as this incomparable Maori love song.

Just wanted to share a bit....
:biggrin2: It's one of our national anthems down here Tani .... I don't think there'd be a Kiwi out there that couldn't at least hum along to it .... and even I know a few words; it is a gem, as is Kiri!
Hiya Tani, it's a lovely song but once you've heard it hundred gazillion times........................As for Dame Kiri what a voice, I once heard her sing with the national youth choir AMAZING!!!!! and yes they sung Pokarekare ana it is pretty special!

Jean said:
As for Dame Kiri what a voice, I once heard her sing with the national youth choir AMAZING!!!!! and yes they sung Pokarekare ana it is pretty special!


Yes, Jean, that sounds similar to the performance I heard. Absolutely incredible! I'm going to try and find the CD it's on, and perhaps save up for it with my Amazon or B&N coupon points.

You are so fortunate to have heard her perform live! Does she still appear in operas and/or concerts, or has she retired?

Kia ora from Brooklyn,

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