Al was born and raised in Dunedin where he learnt drums, taught himself guitar, and played in bands. He moved to Wellington in 1994 to study jazz guitar at the Massey University Conservatorium of Music, and attained a Bachelor of Music in 2000.
Since 1999 he has been a practitioner of nga taonga puoro – researching, making, and performing with the instruments. His musical ability, artistic creativity, and respect for Te Ao Maori has brought him many opportunities to collaborate with some of Aotearoa's finest artists across various musical genres, artistic disciplines, and within a diverse range of creative, cultural, and educative communities.
Al has elegantly woven toanga puoro into many projects that are recognised as being at the forefront of New Zealand arts practice and puoro Maori, through collaborations with artists such as Dr Richard Nunns, Trinity Roots, Motu Oiléain, STROMA, Bridget Douglas, NZ String Quartet, David Long, Natalia Mann, and the NZ Symphony Orchestra, and in settings that span jazz and improvised music, ambient and environmental music, film, dance, Maori and classical musics, the visual arts, and numerous recordings.
He has been a member of collaborative music projects including Tahu, The Woolshed Sessions, Oro, Shearwater Drift and Ponguru. Al was a Wild Creations Artist Resident in 2011, a Churchill Fellow 2016 and a researcher with Otago University and Hokotehi Moriori Trust 2017-2019.
To listen to Al Fraser, head over to the Songbroker Search Engine.