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Ni sa bula, and happy new decade from Fiji! I spent part of new year's day making ethnographic field recordings of these children drumming. They used plastic buckets, a paint tin and a beer bottle. Some samples might find their way into the forthcoming (as yet untitled) collaboration with @snakebeings following our recent recording session in Suva. https://fiffdimension.com/2019/11/05/snake-beings-in-fiji/ #ethnomusicology #fijimusic #newyearsday2020 #newzealandmusic #2020music #drumming #DIYmusic #workinprogress
At the end of the decade, and looking for a way to follow up the eclectic Asia-Pacific Odyssey of Other Islands: 2012-2018, I stripped things back down to the solo acoustic format of my early years with Live 2019.
The set, at Wairarapa TV in Masterton, New Zealand, was streamed live on the internet on 4th of May 2019.
For the past couple of years I’ve been living in a small town and don’t get to as many gigs as I used to… so here was an opportunity to use 21st century technology to play ‘virtually’ everywhere.
On the other hand musically this was closer to a traditional folk/singer-songwriter set than I’d done for quite a while. I eschewed dissonant improv, multitracking, live backing musicians, field recordings, or electronic trickery this time, and used just acoustic guitar, banjo, and harmonica (and a few seconds of wah pedal on ‘Eastern’).
The set was followed by an interview.
I also released a companion album to Live 2019 – its stroppier lo-fi postpunk ‘official bootleg’ predecesor Live 1999. This was recorded on cassette 20 years (or half my lifetime) ago, when I opened for Chris Knox at Bar Bodega in Wellington NZ last millennium:
I started and finished both live sets on the same two songs, to show continuity and evolution.
It’s been quite a journey in between!
My other 2019 works in progress included
* a couple of informal jam sessions with the Electricka Zoo (which has otherwise been on hold since last year); ( http://www.soundcloud.com/darrel-hannon/jamming-with-dave)
* and I continued to adapt the 19th century book ‘Poems & Lyrics by John Collie’, which I’d learned was written by my Scottish great-great-grandfather in 1856 before he came to NZ. Three of his poems featured on Live 2019, with more in the pipeline.Read the rest of this entry »
The title ‘Huia Vortex’ refers to the location where the track was recorded, in Huia, a small village on the outskirts of west Auckland.
It’s not necessarily related to ‘Swansong (for the Huia)‘ (2004), the second album by The Winter, an electro-acoustic trio improvisation in tribute to the extinct New Zealand bird the huia by Dave Edwards, Mike Kingston, and Simon Sweetman. Its 19-minute final track remains an underrated fiffdimension epic. [send us your review]
Dr Emit Snake Beings is a travelling artist/musician/filmmaker/shaman/academic who was an early influence on my music.
Most recently we’ve met up in Fiji and recorded a couple of new pieces which you’ll be able to hear soon.
A new sound for 2020 perhaps?
In the meantime have a listen to the ‘Ngumbang‘ album we made together in 2015 – a fusion of several genres and a DIY manifesto – “Pick up the pieces and make them into something new, it’s what we do…”
Poem by John Collie (1834-1893),
from his book Poems and Lyrics in the English and Scotch Dialects, published in Banffshire, Scotland in 1856
John Collie emigrated to New Zealand in 1858. This poem seems to anticipate his leaving Scotland forever, to start a new life in a new country on the opposite side of the world.