Musician Jen Cloher Embraces Māori Heritage
With haka chants and ancient proverbs, Australian musician Jen Cloher connected deeply with Māori culture for their new album, I Am the River, The River Is Me – another personal reckoning after understanding their gender identity, Andrew Stafford writes for The Guardian.
Cloher’s mother, celebrated Māori historian Dr Dorothy Urlich-Cloher, was a Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Kahu woman from Northland. In their youth, Cloher would go back and forth from Australia, oblivious to the Māori legends their mother often hosted upstairs, quietly enjoying a gin and tonic. “I didn’t know any of that at the time, because I was a self-obsessed teenager.”
Cloher is sitting at their mother’s desk. Over Zoom, they show me a patu – a Māori weapon passed down their family line – as well as bone carvings by their uncle, Stafford writes. At that desk, Cloher began writing “an intergenerational love letter” to their wāhine Māori line.
Original article by Andrew Stafford, The Guardian, March 2, 2023.