In 1995 Mahia Blackmore appeared in the title role in an Auckland production of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. An obvious choice, really. Who else could have taken the role of the pioneering black American performer and recording artist, billed as “Mother of the Blues”?
Mahia Blackmore is a New Zealand equivalent of Ma Rainey, born over a half century later and Māori rather than black American but also big in voice and body. Rainey’s ‘Hear Me Talking To You’ is still a staple part of Blackmore’s repertoire.