After debuting atop the iTunes charts in Australia and New Zealand (right behind Kelly Clarkson), Māori singer/songwriter Ria Hall’s long-awaited debut album Rules Of Engagement gets visual treatment for its “Black Light” single, featuring Electric Wire Hustle front man Mara TK. A tribute to the work of famed New Zealand visual artist Ralph Hotere, “Black Light” is the second music video from Hall’s album.
Rules Of Engagement is available worldwide via Loop. Though inspired by a significant time in New Zealand’s history, the soulful and compelling project delivers a universally uplifting message to oppressed people around the world, and a timely call for unity to countries with historical inequalities.
To coincide with the release of Rules Of Engagement, Hall has teamed up with award-winning visual artist Tracey Tawhiao to craft the stage set for the live Rules Of Engagement show, as well as a mobile art exhibition. Based on the album and its artwork, the exhibit is planned to travel to the U.S in early 2018 after making its rounds in Tauranga and Auckland. This comes on the heels of Ria’s performance in Washington, D.C. for the opening of the Tuku Iho exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, which celebrated traditional art from Hall’s rich Māori culture.
About Rules Of Engagement:
Drawing on themes of love, war, revolution and change, Ria Hall’s Rules Of Engagement album is a concept project inspired by New Zealand’s Battle of Gate Pa in 1864. Featuring production by Electric Wire Hustle, Kings, Laughton Kora, and more, the album is an epic collision of traditional ways of thinking and modern musicianship, aiming to create an honest dialogue about both the good and bad aspects of the history of Hall’s cultural background.
Tinged with woozy rhythms of trip-hop, and the elasticity of funk emboldened by Hall’s soulful vocals, the album aims to uphold the integrity of Māori culture amidst historical inequalities and a recent resurgence of Hall’s native language Te Reo Māori, which is used throughout the album. Archival recordings from 1968 of Hall’s great-uncle, Turirangi Te Kani, add a level of personal authenticity to the album, as well.
With historical parallels of racial inequalities in New Zealand and the U.S., and the current conversations about race, Hall’s music speaks to global issues that are universal. Nearly five years in the making, Rules Of Engagement serves as the full-length follow-up to Hall’s 2011 self-titled EP.