For me this is a major work-in-progress; an acknowledgement of my pākeha whakapapa (European ancestry); an inspiration for new music (a mostly folk style seemed fitting); a window into the culture of the time period and a vicarious travel experience (plans to visit Scotland in 2020 were ruined by the pandemic); a family precedent for DIY outsider art that puts fiffdimension in a deeper context; and gives me renewed appreciation for the beauty and musicality of the English (and Scots) language.
“T’were a noble sight to see the mighty men of old, who bled that their countries might be free from the tyrants’ fatal hold – yet I’d deem it a nobler sight by far to behold the sons of the harp & lyre!
“[…] If aught can claim a spirit’s admiration, Sure it must be this beautiful creation“
in a wildflower state is a lost album – recorded in Perth WA, 2012-2014 – unreleased at the time.
The music here is rustic, reflecting the vast ancient arid landscape, overlaid with touches of Nyoongar and bogan sounds. It also includes appearances by Nat da Hatt,Cylvi M, and Renato Salvador.
Known as the Wildflower State, Western Australia covers an enormous area – the size of India, but with a population of under three million. Metaphorically, to be a ‘wildflower’ can also mean a wandering spirit or traveller (such as a kiwi expat on an OE).
águas brilhantes (or ‘glistening waters’ in English) is the Portuguese translation of Wairarapa, the Māori name of the region where I live. Several of my pākeha ancestors arrived here in the 19th century.
Much of the music is inspired by two of my great-great-grandfathers – John Collie (1834-1893), a Scottish poet, who helped build the Remutaka incline railway; and Manuel Bernard (1847-1928), who left the Azores islands, as a teenaged stowaway on a whaling ship and ended up in Masterton. It’s also a torch-passing to the next generation – recorded with nephews Hans and Rhys, and niece Celeste.
Also ft literal garage rock with Antony Milton and David Heath (the Troubled Times); duos with James Robinson, Dr Emit Snake-Beings, Campbell Kneale, and Nat da Hatt; side trips to Fiji; an interspecies duet with Oscar (a huntaway); and solo instrumentals and live reinterpretations of oldies.
Includes previously unreleased recordings, download-only bonus tracks, and excerpts from the albums
It’s dedicated to my great-great-grandfather Manuel Bernard.
He was born in 1847 in Ponta Delgada, Flores Island, Azores, Portugal.
Portugal is the westernmost country in Europe, with its back to it geographically and culturally. It was the edge of the known world for Europeans until the Age of Discovery. The Azores islands are even further west.
As a teenager Manuel Bernard stowed away on a passing American whaling ship.
This short warmup improv is based on an Indian scale, inspired by Dr Emit Snake-Beings‘ travels to Kerala in India, and harmonium lessons in Suva.
There’s an Indian influence throughout the album, as several sections are based on drones and modal improv (rather than the chord changes)… though this is not a traditional Indian album, we’ve borrowed ideas to inform our own experiments.
The temple in the photo is Sri Siva Subramaniya in Nadi. It’s built in the Dravidian style from southern India, which is also found in Singapore and Malaysia.
In contrast to other Pacific Island countries, Fiji has a large – almost half – population of Indian descent. Indians came to Fiji in the 19th century, as indentured labourers to work the sugar cane plantations.