Asia

Gamelan Padhang Moncar @ Pataka Gallery

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5 Feb – 13 March 2016

ShadowPlay – an exhibition of wayang kulit shadow puppets from Cirebon (West Java) at Pataka Museum in Porirua.  The antique collection of puppets was purchased by the late Allan Thomas (who also commissioned me to contribute to the book Jazz Aotearoa) in 1974 together with a set of gamelan instruments. Jennifer Shennan and Joko Susilo have worked to curate a unique exhibition showcasing these treasures.

Associated events:

Saturday 6 February, 11:30am, Performing Arts Studio, Pataka Art + Museum

Wayang kulit performance by Joko Susilo accompanied by The First Smile gamelan.

Sunday 7 February, 1:45pm

Concert by Gamelan Padhang Moncar.

Gamelan Padhang Moncar is a group of New Zealand musicians dedicated to the study and performance of Javanese music and based at the New Zealand School of Music (Victoria University campus) in Wellington. They are directed by Budi S. Putra, and managed by Megan Collins.

The group performs traditional repertoire from the courts and villages of central Java as well as contemporary works by New Zealand composers such as Jack Body and Gareth Farr. They also frequently accompany wayang kulit (traditional shadow puppetry) with Joko Susilo.

Members come from a diverse range of backgrounds and include: Judith Exley, Marie Direen, Jo Hilder, Greg Street, Pippa Strom, Mike Jones, Briar Prastiti, Jason Erskine, Helen O’Rourke, Stephanie Cairns, Carina Esguerra, Rupert Snook, Tristan Carter, Jack Hooker, Megan Collins, Anton Killin, Alisa Hogan, Bronwyn Poultney.

I’ll be joining the group in 2016, after performing with the Balinese gamelan ensemble Gamelan Taniwha Jaya in 2010 and 2015 and playing Javanese gamelan in Perth and travelling to Java in 2014.

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Gamelan Padhang Moncar

The Javanese name can be interpreted in several ways. Read the rest of this entry »

安里屋ユンタオーバードライブ Asadoya Yunta Overdrive (Okinawa)

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Here’s a new bonus track we’ve added to the album ネオン列車の風景 Neon Train Landscapes – our version of a traditional shima uta (island song) from 沖縄 (Okinawa).

Dave Black – sanshin, harmonica, field recordings
Nat da Hatt – acoustic & electric guitars, electronics
Cylvi Manthyng – shakuhachi

As you can hear, the music of Okinawa is quite distinct from that of mainland Japan.

Free mp3s 2014 – 2015

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New free downloads 2014-2015 !  Pay koha / what you want for

Ngumbang

the first collaborative album by New Zealand artist/musician/filmmaker/ethnomusicologists Dave Black & Snake Beings – performed on guitars, bass, banjo, percussion, saxophones, clarinets, harmonicas, synthesisers, Indonesian gamelan, Okinawan sanshin, ukulele, violin, loop pedal, piano, drums and spoken word.

and

ネオン列車の風景 Neon Train Landscapes

(2014) Japanese psychedelic rock by Dave Black & Nat da Hatt – two New Zealanders living in Japan.

plus

The fifth album from New Zealand free improvisation trio of Mike Kingston, Simon Sweetman and Dave Edwards

and

Free-jazz & improv from Wellington, New Zealand 1999/2014 – in collaboration with simon.ororke.net

and a video clip of

Gamelan Taniwha Jaya

rejection-dryrot-ripple-gombageand Dave and Cylvi contributed to Postmoderncore‘s first volume of Dada Songwriting Compilation, Rejection dryrot ripple Gombage.

 

Enjoy!

We’ll take a break from more releases for the remainder of this year while some new ideas percolate – thanks for listening, see you at the New Zealand Fringe Festival in 2016!

Little India, Singapore

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A major highlight of 2014 for me was visiting some new parts of Southeast Asia. I enjoyed the Tamil Indian culture in Singapore and Malaysia, which has sated my curiosity for India itself for the moment.

The sensory overload of the Hindu temples was an intriguing contrast from the elegant minimalism of the Japanese approach, and the mix of Indian, Chinese and Malay cultures is like having three different Asian countries in one.

Nusa Penida, Indonesia

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Nusa Penida is a smaller island between Bali and Lombok, about an hour by boat from Sanur in Bali.

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View from Nusa Penida towards Bali and Mt Agung

I spent a week as a volunteer with Friends of the National Parks Foundation. I helped with feeding the Bali starlings (critically endangered due to poachers – the population was down to 10 at one point but is now over 100 thanks to the translocation project), along with plant nursery maintenance, a beach cleanup of plastic waste, and construction of the new FNPF premises (thatched huts on a terraced hillside, and gardens that will be beautiful once established).

An endangered Bali Starling, Nusa Penisa, Indonesia
An endangered Bali Starling, Nusa Penisa, Indonesia

Nusa Penida is much less developed than Bali, and resembles Bali as it might have been 40 years ago before the tourism boom. Accomodation is simple, with basic facilities (eg cold showers – actually very pleasant in the tropical climate – bucket-flush toilets, and limited food variety).

For tourists it offers great snorkelling & diving,

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and enough Hindu temples & local colour to make it interesting culturally. It’s nice to not be hassled to buy things as much as in Bali. Mostly people just say ‘hello’ (in some cases it’s the only English word they know).

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I also need to mention The Gallery, run by an English expat Mike Appleton – it’s THE place to go for local information, language interpretation, western food, and to support local artists.

The main amenity I missed was reliable internet connections – there was no access at all for five of the nine days I was there, and when it was available it was patchy & unreliable even at the one internet cafe in town.  Lesson from this for me was to finish all travel bookings before  going somewhere remote like this.  Even back here in Bali the connection is too slow for me to upload any sounds or other photos, so I’ll add more later.

I also had a motorbike accident, though not the kind you’d expect. Read the rest of this entry »

Malaysia

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Crossing from Singapore into Malaysia the land is surprisingly empty for Asia – the bus passed only a few buildings and no towns on the way to Melaka… just acres & acres of palm oil plantations.

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I spent a day in Melaka, an historical town where the Portuguese and Dutch fought over control of trade routes (and ultimately lost out to the British as Singapore became the richest city in the region), then on to Kuala Lumpur.

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Kuala Lumpur is a big modern city with several attractions such as museums and wildlife parks, and the Batu Caves.

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One of the highlights so far has been Read the rest of this entry »

Singapore

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If you’ve never been to Asia before, don’t speak any Asian languages, and have only a day or two available, Singapore would be a great introduction.

You can find tropical rainforest and the sea,  traditional and modern architecture, and the cultures of China, India, the Middle East and the West all in one city.Most people speak English, buses are frequent and on time, and it even has a nice airport complete with indoor gardens.

Just try not to think what it would cost to live here… and with Malaysia and Indonesia still to go on this trip I imagine things will get more chaotic as I go! I made some sound recordings, which will find their way into some new music pieces eventually.  In the meantime here are a few photos.