About Jaqualyn Taimana Williams

New Zealand musician and songwriter Jaqualyn Taimana Williams is a multi-racial (Māori, Celtic, Scandinavian) person, a mother of four and a registered Kindergarten teacher.

At age 50, she has now released her powerful, exhilarating and engaging 16 track rock/pop album Statues Of Liberty in October 2019. Recorded at Kog Recording Studio with the track production expertise of Tim Skedden (The Feelers, Babysitters Circus) and the mastering skills of Chris Chetland, this collection of songs represents the best and most popular works emerging over decades of songwriting and performing.

A gutsy artist whose lyrics track her inter-human battles and emotional depths over many years, Jacqui says: “It’s a triumph for me, a body of work that is truly dynamic and diverse and plays through beautifully as a whole album.  I’m also excited about the five new edgy rock/electronica singles we have in the pipeline as a follow-up.” 

While plans for a nationwide tour have been shelved, lockdown has enabled progress towards a new children’s bilingual collection.

Tracks from the current bilingual children’s album are starting to get radio airplay and there are constant heartwarming compliments from teachers and parents who have the Waiata Tamariki CD and booklet.  Jacqui performed live at Urban Flava, a Music For Parks event in South Auckland just before the lockdown.

In 2015, Jacqui recovered from a partial mastectomy at North Shore hospital to create the eight-song bilingual children’s album Waiata Tamariki with Ian Rushton at Blacksands Studio. In this album, Jacqui combines her professional teaching skills and knowledge with her natural songwriting talents to create a teaching resource for language learners in Aotearoa.

“I do this as a language learner as much as a teacher.  I was not brought up in a Māori-speaking home and I’m far from a te reo expert.   What I am is a good learner of language.  I create these songs to help myself and others learn te reo.  With short, repeated simple phrases and words and the English translation already within the song, I can help listeners (children, teachers, parents) to say/sing and understand the Māori words.  Research shows that using the medium of song to help people learn te reo actually works.”  

Working with music education experts, ONZA and mentored by Senior Auckland University lecturer Robyn Trinick, Jacqui is delivering teacher workshops based on retelling Māori legends through sound and movement. The bilingual songs are especially useful in this context and as a result, the next children’s album will feature a track called Te Ika a Māui co-written by kindergarten children and recorded to extend their musical learning journey.

Jacqui’s music career began at age 18 in 1987 at the Arts Centre in Christchurch fronting a covers band formed by University students. She ended up playing keyboard, vocals and guitar professionally in Christchurch’s top hotel bands and duos. Over the years she gradually stockpiled an extensive range of catchy and punchy original songs, comedy songs, songs written in te reo Maori and bilingual songs for children.

As a student of performing arts at Hagley Theatre Co in 1995, Jacqui began to be hired as a singing jester on bus trips. This led on to the development of stand-up comedy routines and a context to perform comedy songs. She has performed Kitty O’Brien’s and The Temple in Auckland, Bath St Bar in Dunedin and the Wunderbar and Dux Lux in Christchurch.

In the female acoustic duo  The Mona Lisas, she toured Germany in 1998 with a collection of original folk/country recordings. Her rock-style band Mothership was played regularly on Cry music TV, and later her multi-cultural line-up Manu Taniwha was aired on TV2’s Ground Zero music show in 1999.

In 2005 Jacqui’s song Buying Heaven was included on a CD NZ Music Month which was produced and sent out free with The Christchurch Press. Five years later, Jacqui celebrated the production of a homemade compilation of her recordings over two decades, Crowning Jewels with a live show at Fat Eddie’s. Her final performance as a Christchurch resident was Lunchtime in The Square, Christchurch 2011.

Following the earthquakes, Jacqui moved to Southland and won the Female Solo section of the 2011 Glen Country Music Club’s annual Talent quest. She has played at Speight’s Alehouse and Waxy O’Shea’s Irish Bar in Invercargill and performed an acoustic originals show at The Church in Dunedin as part of the 2011 Fringe Festival. Jacqui has performed to raise funds to help relief efforts in the Philippines, opened the Queens Park Waitangi Day concert in Invercargill and played a set for the Relay For Life Cancer Society event.

” It’s been a geographical journey as much as anything else. Māori people reading my introduction would notice my mihi is a unique mix of iwi, of places, mountains and rivers that I feel connected to because I have lived for a reasonable amount of time in four different regions.  I have songs written in Christchurch, Invercargill, Auckland and my home town is Whakatane. Since discovering my Māori heritage I also now link to Waikato and the East Coast. My identity – who I am and where I come from is integral to all my creative works.  Its a really good feeling to have at last created two high-quality albums reaching across demographics that I can proudly share.”

 

 

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Feedback from live shows:

           “Loved your songs – especially Helicopter”  Phil,  fellow entertainer at Music In Parks 2020

Edgy, authentic and funny”  Sasha, attendee 2019 Album Release, Auckland

“Very entertaining …showed immense talent, original and varied … very funny”” – Margaret Sewell, Sewell Glover and Barristers and Solicitors, Christchurch.

“A very versatile entertainer” University of Canterbury magazine

 

Feedback from Waiata Tamariki:

“Great, catchy songs” Cath Martin (teacher) “My boys are playing it over and over” Maria Holden (mother and ECE worker)

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