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Prince Tui Teka

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One of a very few New Zealand artists that made the leap from pub performer to household name, Tui Teka specialized in a fairly domestic style of song that incorporated covers of international performers, comedy, local sounds, and Polynesian soul. Initially performing in Sydney with the Maori Volcanics for 6 years, Teka made the leap to "Prince" with his move to the Maori Troubadors. It was as a solo artist however, Teka made his greatest impact. He specialized in pubs and nightclubs in Sydney and throughout Southeast Asia, with a flamboyant style evoking elements of Elvis or Tom Jones in the same era (rhinestone jackets, capes). Teka's musical style was similar, with contemporary covers of Elvis' later works, Freddy Fender pieces, and country-western ballads. Returning to New Zealand in 1981 (and his hometown of Tokomaru Bay), Teka began a more successful recording career in tandem with his wife Missy Teka, who he had married in 1976. The Tekas incorporated movie appearances and a TV variety show into their performing schedule, and achieved a major hit with E Ipo (a love song from Tui to Missy). Though best remembered for live performances, only a few albums were recorded during Teka's lifetime. Numerous compilations have hit the market for years following Teka's death in 1985, as well as posthumous honors for his music and as a pop culture icon. ~ Adam Greenberg

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