Loopy Tunes (Preschool) Music are Christchurch-based sister music duo, Siu Williams-Lemi and Leah Williams-Partington. The sisters are recognised for their reorua/bilingual Māori and Pasifika children’s waiata, sung in their beautifully harmonious style.
They had their start in children’s music through a weekly outreach preschool music programme they helped create, thirteen years ago, which continues still – now running six weekly bilingual music sessions during the school term.
In 2019, the sisters recorded and released their first 13-track children’s music album, “Kākāriki: Simply Us” and to date have released a total of 140 waiata. The releases also include “Whero: Kirihimete|Kilisimasi“, their first Christmas album, released in 2022, filled with uniquely bilingual Christmas waiata that are a mix of originals and translated festive classics, and their first original Tongan Christmas song, “Muimui Ki He Fetu’u“, co-written with their Māmā.
Their repertoire includes a 100-song collaborative project released in early May last year, with the ‘Pasifika Beatz’ team at Whānau Āwhina Plunket, thanks to funding from the Ministry for Pacific Peoples. This saw the duo release 10 albums in 10 different Pasifika languages, including Rotuman, Kiribati and Tuvaluan. The albums were created to support the amazing mahi the ‘Pasifika Beatz’ team do, in running preschool music programmes for Pacific Island whānau, through Auckland libraries, and more! It’s also an amazing resource that showcases the beautiful music and languages of our Pacific neighbours, and the action YouTube videos that accompany each song allows us all to learn about these languages and cultures in a fun and engaging way!
Between 2019-2020, Leah and Siu released a ‘Rainbow Book Collection’ of bilingual Māori children’s picture books, based on five of their original waiata. They also enjoyed taking Māori and Pasifika Music Time at four different schools, in Ōtautahi, in 2020, thanks to the Creatives in Schools programme. Collaborations with other Children’s Music Arists and such organisations as E Tū Tāngata, has also enabled the sisters to broaden their reach. This includes a beautiful waiata with Australian Children’s Music champion, Benny Time, where they and their combined six tamariki, plus two, all featured in a song written by Benny, called, “How Great We Are“.
The music duo enjoy running music sessions at local preschools, as well as performing at events, festivals and markets around Christchurch, and beyond! Earlier this year they toured South Canterbury, running music sessions at eleven preschools over three days, closing with a ‘Concert for Kids’ in Timaru. They also loved performing on the Aotearoa Stage at the 2023 Pasifika Festival, in Auckland, have enjoyed another mini-tour with Auckland libraries and are looking forward to several upcoming Matariki performances.
There are some awesome new waiata in the making, including a collaboration with the lovely Suzy Cato and the team at Ko Taku Reo: Deaf Education NZ. It continues to be a very busy time for the duo with even more exciting times ahead. Thankfully, they LOVE what they do, and couldn’t imagine doing anything else!!
Finalist – NZ on Air Best Children’s Music Video, for “Guardians of Papatūānuku”, 2022 Children’s Music Awards (NZ)
Funky Kids Radio Global Children’s Entertainment Awards 2021
For “Guardians of Papatūānuku”
For “The Māui Dolphin”
Semi-Finalist – 2021 International Songwriting Competition, for “The Māui Dolphin”
Finalist – Sunpix Best Pacific Language, for “‘Umukisia”, 2021 Pacific Music Awards (NZ)
Finalist – APRA Best Children’s Song, for “He Uri Ngāti Hua-Rākau”, 2021 Children’s Music Awards (NZ)
Third Place – Global Song of the Year, for “‘Umukisia”, 2020 Funky Kids Radio Global Music Awards
Third Place – People’s Choice – Song of the Year, for “‘Umukisia”, 2020 Funky Kids Radio Global Music Awards