PONGURU (2018)

Songlines Magazine U.K. 4/5

“The dark, evocative and experimental musical landscapes create a modern context that both retains and expands the ambience of Aotearoa”

Elsewhere, Graham Reid

“The soundtrack to dreams, myths and the dark landscapes of Aotearoa” 

Avopolis Music Network, Greece, 8/10

“It’s one of the most beautiful and honest records I’ve heard this year”

Off the Tracks, Simon Sweetman

"Here they put their musical voices together and it’s a sublime fit. This shining example of “art” music won’t always be a comfortable listen,

but it’s forever destined to be a worthwhile one"

Composer, Dame Gillian Whitehead 

“I keep returning to listen to Ponguru. The sounds coaxed from bass and taonga pūoro are so imaginative, varied and totally enthralling” 

Mike Anderson, Sunday Star Times

“Genuinely engaging and imaginative”

Ponguru (sonorous, resonant, deep –toned, gruff) is a unique New Zealand recorded work of improvisations and compositions performed by ngā taonga pūoro (traditional māori musical instruments) artist Al Fraser and double-bassist Phil Boniface.

Phil Boniface and Al Fraser began performing together in 1998 while studying jazz performance at Massey University Conservatorium of Music, now the New Zealand School of Music. Al’s journey with ngā taonga pūoro began in 1999 and he is now one of the leading performers of Māori musical instruments. Phil’s direction as jazz double-bassist and composer lead him abroad. For more than a decade he was based in Canada where he played with many of the finest jazz musicians on the West Coast. With Ponguru, Phil and Al bring together the low voice of the double-bass and the many voices of ngā taonga pūoro in an exploration of timbre, space, melody and our shared musical language.

Working in collaboration with Steve Garden, this album has been released through Rattle Records. With a history of integrity, experience, as well as releasing the finest albums of contemporary New Zealand music, Rattle is enabling the work to develop, reach its full potential and join the labels discography of award winning and critically acclaimed albums.

This project has been made possible through grants from the Lilburn Trust and the Earle Trust.  


Photo by Alexis Boniface


Interviews & Reviews 

Presskit 2018

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  • March 2018 - Auckland Fringe Festival - Rattle Records Auckland Album Launch

  • April 2018 - Pyramid Club - Rattle Records Wellington Album Launch

  • June/July 2018 - Chamber Music New Zealand Tour - Matariki 2018 - ‘Te Korekore’

  • August 2018 - Arts on Wednesdays - Massey University - Palmerston North

  • September 2018 - Manawatu Concert Series - sponsored by The Earle Creativity and Development Trust

  • January 2019 - Tilde New Music and Sound Art Festival - Melbourne, Australia


Pūpakapaka, pūtōrino and pūkāea


Pūkāea 'Whero Nui'

Photos by Alexis Boniface


'Matter' performed at Pyramid Club, Wellington NZ, April 6th 2018.

Video by Ed Davis

'Korerohua' - Video by Ed Davis

'Form' - Video by Ed Davis

Check out 'Conveyance' by Ed Davis in VR here

'Space' - Video by Neil Johnstone