Lorde releases mini-album in indigenous te reo Māori language

Lorde recorded five songs in the indigenous language. Credit: PA

The singer Lorde has released a surprise mini-album in te reo Māori, an indigenous language of Aotearoa New Zealand, describing the experience and project as "the beginning of a journey".

The 24-year-old New Zealander re-recorded five of her tracks from her "Solar Power" album in te reo Māori.

Speaking to pop culture website The Spinoff, Lorde, whose real name is Ella Yelich-O'Connor described the process and mini-album, called Te Ao Mārama (world of light) as "powerful," and "emotional."

Lorde's heritage is not Māori and she does not speak the language.

She told The Spinoff that she consulted a wide a range of people, including Māori elders, considering a view held by some that te reo Māori should be spoken only by Māori.

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She said: "It wasn’t something that was a big part of my life, and it was something that I had sort of sadness and a little bit of guilt around.

"It’s kind of scary to start any journey, but I guess that’s my thing; I am at the very beginning, and this project is a starting point.

"It felt really big when we were doing it. It was heavy. It was really emotional. I’d never had any writing or recording experience like it. It was really powerful.”

Lorde performIing on ABC's "Good Morning America" at Rumsey Playfield/SummerStage in Central Park, August Credit: AP Images

There are some Māori artists and songwriters that have large followings in New Zealand, but it is rare to hear indigenous languages on commercial radio in the country.

Lorde told The Spinoff that she rarely heard the language whilst growing up, and was unprepared to record the mini-album before receiving help from indigenous Māori people.

The proceeds of the sales of the album will be given to two New Zealand charities, Forest & Bird and Te Hua Kawariki Charitable Trust.