Tele-spruiking

Looking east onto North Pender Island from the Gulf of Georgia.

Looking east onto North Pender Island from the Gulf of Georgia, taken as I write this post.

I write from the ferry between Victoria and Vancouver, in the territorial waters of British Columbia/Washington State/British Columbia. It’s Wednesday 20 February here in North America, but en Nouvelle-Zélande it’s a Thursday at a particular time of the month. This means Song Sale is on in Dunedin!

Now, it is a little odd and a little superfluous for me still to be spruiking for this monthly gig. Yes, I founded it in Dunedin and it was my baby, but now that Daddy has moved to a new city some foster parents have taken responsibility for the rambunctious toddler. Or something. I’m not good at parent-and-guardian analogies. read more

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The red piano.

Last week I was in Wellington and I had the opportunity to play He Kōrero Pūrākau mo te Awanui o Te Motu, that bright red piano ornately carved by Michael Parekowhai. I had a friend video some of the performances at Te Papa.

Here’s the YouTube playlist. It contains attempted Maori strum in Tūtira Mai Ngā Iwi (yes, bajingajink on piano), a singalong on Poi E, a New Zealand music lesson on Pōkarekare Ana, the Split Enz classic Message to My Girl, and Beyoncé’s Single Ladies.

And as a bonus, here’s Trubie-Dylan Smith’s Das kraftwerkische Blenderlied performed at the last Song Sale: read more

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LEN LYE a review

I’m in Auckland until this afternoon. I came up on Wednesday to see my former composition lecturer’s new piece LEN LYE the opera, and to review it for Theatreview. (Actually there are more like four of my old teachers among the core creative team…)

It’s “a major statement of advocacy for the overlooked genius and forward-thinking artistry of Len Lye”. My review’s here. The NBR and the Herald carry shorter write-ups.

Today I meet with Penny Ashton, Thomas Sainsbury and James Wenley about musicals in various stages of development. read more

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Trip to Auckland!

I’m going to Auckland tonight. Given my history of hurriedly writing blog posts at Dunedin airport just before boarding, I thought I’d give myself a two-and-a-bit-hour head start.

The scores I need for my trip to Auckland. Thanks to Alison at the Music office for doing the binding.

Plenty of projects for my four days up in Auckland.

Seeing the family. Always a pleasure, never a chore. Mightily convenient for an airport pick-up too 🙂

Beatrice. A cor anglais solo feature, just a 1-minute thing, extracted from a larger work. Tomorrow day, the APO plays it in an Education Concert in the Town Hall. I might have to say something from the stage. read more

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SoundCloud

I’ve been discovering the joys of SoundCloud. For those of you unfamiliar with the site, it’s a clean, functional host for audio.

Free accounts can upload up to 120 minutes of audio, but I’ve just about hit that limit. I’ve parted with €29.99 for a year’s worth of upgrade.

The first thing I get is another 120 minutes of audio. I can start making a dent in that with such things as a uni electroacoustic work, theatre music from shows I’ve done in Wellington (Young & Hungry 2008, German Play 2008, Two Day Plays 2009), and another composition or two. read more

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Sorry, I meant to see your show – the lyrics!

By request, here are the lyrics to my song, commissioned to open the 2011 Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards. I owe a clear debt of gratitude to the superb opening number to this year’s Tony Awards.

I’ve also uploaded the demo I made for the singers:

Sorry, I meant to see your show (demo) by Robbie Ellis

Some lyrics changed in the rehearsal process (and we certainly slowed it down from my speed-demon intentions), but most remained the same. Forgive my falsetto for soprano parts.

“Sorry, I meant to see your show” was performed last night at the Wellington Opera House by MC Emma Kinane and the Shoreline Cab Savs (Carmel McGlone, Bryony Skillington, Jess Robinson, Martyn Wood, Nick Dunbar & Gareth Farr/Lilith La Croix), with me (Robbie Ellis) on piano. read more

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Wellywood Sign Song No 2

The title is now a misnomer in a way, but it’s been in my repertoire since May and I just had to put it up on the web to mark the occasion.

If you don’t get it, this may help.

Thanks to Bonnie Riley (whose name is ever so close to Bonnie Tyler) for the non-lead vocals and to Sam Smith for lending me his guitar and amp. Also credit is due to Joseph Sherman-Mendez, Chaz Harris and Morgan Samuel of Seriously Tanked (my 2011 48Hours Furious Filmmaking team-mates) for the initial inspiration. (This happened the same weekend.) read more

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