Maori Artist Stan Walker Releases Live Version of ‘I AM’ for Ava DuVernay’s ORIGIN
Stan Walker, the acclaimed Maori artist and storyteller from Aotearoa, New Zealand, has released a new live rendition of his latest track, ‘I AM.’ This original composition was created for Ava DuVernay’s film, ORIGIN.
The journey of ‘I AM’ began when DuVernay stumbled upon Walker’s compelling interpretation of Kanye West’s ‘Ultralight Beam.’ Enthralled by his artistry, she reached out to Walker, inviting him to craft an original piece for ORIGIN, a decision that has enriched both the film and DuVernay personally.
In collaboration with co-writers Vince Harder, Te Kanapu Anasta, and Grammy-nominated Michael Fatkin, Walker’s ‘I AM’ serves as a powerful declaration of identity and heritage. Rooted in the importance of understanding one’s whakapapa (lineage) and origins, the song resonates with themes of reclaiming cultural identity and embracing ancestral connections.
Accompanying the release is a visually stunning video, co-directed by Walker and longtime collaborator Shae Sterling, which pays homage to Aotearoa’s breathtaking landscapes and Maori traditions. Filmed across various locations in New Zealand, the video serves as a poignant visual narrative, reinforcing the song’s themes of connection to the land and the importance of preserving cultural heritage.
Influenced by Isabel Wilkerson’s acclaimed book, ORIGIN delves into the complexities of history, romance, and resilience, offering a thought-provoking exploration of caste and its enduring impact on society. ‘I AM’ contributes to the film’s narrative from an indigenous perspective, emphasizing the interconnectedness of all living beings and the enduring spirit of humanity.