Whangarei Musician Strives to Achieve Unity Through Music

The title of Whangarei musician Brownie King's first song out on CD sums up his attitude to life; Kotahitanga (Unity).

Brownie a.k.a Dalbert John King has completed his first studio recording thanks to a series of grants from Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua. He hopes Kotahitanga will become a song that people will sing along to and that will encourage unity amongst people.

"I want to use music as a medium to promote unity amongst all. Great musicians such as John Lennon achieved this with songs like Give Peace A Chance that unified millions," he says.

Brownie King comes from a musical family. Both his parents were musicians and his mother Mavis Toka, was an accomplished singer, while his Uncle Sonny Toka was a great slide guitar player.

"I like to draw on many influences in my music, from Spanish sounds, to the mandolins of my 'tarara' relatives to the Hawaiian sounds of slide guitar as well as including many genres from jazz, soul, blues, to reggae, funk and hiphop."

Brownie is continuing to work on his first album, Cultured Rhythms, a collection of 24 songs.

He pays tribute to people who have supported him as a musician, in particular 'Mama' Izzy Wellington who encouraged him to be a lead singer through the band Pumanawa that nurtures young musicians.

Kotahitanga was recorded at Music Mayhem in Kamo by sound technician Brett Caves.

Female vocals on the song were performed by Karlina Oppert.

Brownie King will be donating royalties he earns to a range of charities including the Cancer Society, Nga Morehu Whai Ora (Maori Mental Health), Diabetes work and initiatives to develop Te Reo Maori.