John Mayer kicked off his 2019 solo world tour in Auckland, New Zealand on Saturday night (March 23). The singer-songwriter and guitarist honored the victims of the Christchurch terrorist attacks by welcoming a group of traditional Maori singers for a rendition of “Whakaaria Mai” or “How Great Thou Art.” The song is sung at traditional Maori--the indigenous Polynesian peoples of New Zealand--ceremonies honoring those that have passed on.
As Jambase reported, Mayer sang a portion of the song in English and then gave Maori singer Bella Kalolo the spotlight to sing a verse of the song in the traditional Maori language of te reo. Mayer’s Maori guests also performed a traditional Kapa Haka dance. Watch footage of the performance above and below.
As the New Zealand Herald reported, Mayer thanked the audience for “coming out under such heavy circumstances.” He added, “It means a lot to me.” Mayer also dedicated one of his own tunes to New Zealand and the Christchurch victims. "I've been thinking about you non-stop,” Mayer told the crowd. “I didn't expect to play this song tonight, but it's one from our heart to yours.” Mayer then played “The Heart of Life” from his 2006 album Continuum.
John Mayer’s solo world tour comes to the States in the summer of 2019, including a headlining spot at the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Experience on Saturday, Aug. 31 with singer-songwriters Luke Combs and ZZ Ward. Purchase your tickets here.