Lorde has dropped surprise EP Te Ao Mārama, a collection of five songs from her new album Solar Power sung in Māori, the indigenous language of New Zealand. Proceeds from the EP will be donated to the New Zealand-based charities Forest and Bird and the Te Hua Kawariki Charitable Trust. Listen to it below.
In a newsletter to fans, Lorde exlained her decision to release the EP and her relationship to the Māori language. “Many things revealed themselves slowly to me while I was making this album, but the main realisation by far was that much of my value system around caring for and listening to the natural world comes from traditional Māori principles,” she wrote. “There’s a word for it in te reo: kaitiakitanga, meaning ‘guardianship or caregiving for the sky, sea and land.’”
She went on to add: "I’m not Māori, but all New Zealanders grow up with elements of this worldview. Te ao Māori and tikanga Māori are a big part of why people who aren’t from here intuit our country to be kind of ‘magical,’ I think. I know I’m someone who represents New Zealand globally in a way, and in making an album about where I’m from, it was important to me to be able to say: this makes us who we are down here. It’s also just a crazy beautiful language—I loved singing in it. Even if you don’t understand te reo, I think you’ll get a kick out of how elegant my words sound in it."
The lyrics on Te Ao Mārama were translated by Hana Mereraiha while Dame Hinewehi Mohi & Sir Timoti Kāretu receive thanks for "overseeing" the project in its credits.