Dia dhaoibh, arts lovers.
What do you get when you cross some Irish musicians with some Maori musicians and a guy from Lower Hutt?
I’m still not sure exactly but whatever that was, it was absolutely mesmerising.
Last night Trinity Roots performed a collaboration called “Motu:Oileain”, with four of Ireland’s best known traditional musicians. Motu means island in Te Reo Maori, and Oileain means the same in Irish.
Regarding the Irish guys, one had long hair, one had medium hair and one had short hair. It turned out that medium-hair guy (Gerry) was actually from Lower Hutt. This messed with my mind because by the time their opening piece was finished, I had fully accepted that he was as Irish as you could get. He was the guitarist, and he moved like I had never seen a guitarist move before, with some well-placed foot stomping. (Update- I just googled Gerry and it turns out that he was born in Ireland. That makes sense).
Short-hair-guy (Alan) was the most magical flautist I have ever heard and long-hair-guy (Tola) was his perfect partner on the fiddle. They came on stage and instantly transported us to Ireland with their rousing melodies.
Pauline Scanlon joined them on stage in her magical sparkly dress and some very Irish looking dark stockings with black shoes. It seems cliché to say that her voice was angelic. It was heavenly, with a touch of earth. Her tone was so beautiful and warm that I actually think you could listen to it as a form of therapy.
Trinity roots came on to do a set, once they’d finished practicing their Irish accents of course. Their relaxing reggae was the perfect end to a busy day.
Then it was collaboration time. The most incredible thing was watching the friendships formed and the reality of people actively sharing their cultures. We heard “tahi rua toru wha” and snippets of haka over top of celtic melodies… and we heard a flute skank.
I think we can all learn a lot from this collaboration. Sharing traditions and cultures can be done- it is possible. If it is done right it is interesting, and balanced, and beautiful… and fresh.
Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.
“You’ll get mixed up of course
As you already know
You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds
As you go
So be sure when you step
Step with care and great tact
That life’s a great balancing act.”