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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Instant Songwriting – now in dead tree form!

Dear world,

A while ago I contributed some backing tracks to a book project. Instant Songwriting is written by Chicago actor/teacher Nancy Howland Walker. It’s a series of exercises designed for improvisers who want to acquire that magic skill of song construction in the moment.

Through the first half of this year, its four parts (Dunce, Decent, Distinguished and Diva) were published as individual ebooks on Smashwords. Now the whole thing has been printed in paperback.

BUY IT FROM AMAZON NOW NOW NOW! It’s US$15.95 and eligible for free Super Saver Shipping, as they say. read more

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The results of Song Sale (digressing into broadcasting policy)

The University of Otago Music Department has some recording studios at Albany Street. Because I’m technically staff there, this great facility is available to me from time to time.

I was too lazy to walk there and photograph it myself, so I got Google to do it for me.

The building was constructed in the 1960s as the Dunedin headquarters of Radio New Zealand for stations such as 4YA, 4YC, 4ZB and 4ZM (now known by other names). There’s a distinct Glide Time public servant vibe to the place – squat postwar modernist layout, unpainted wooden doors, blue parquet floors, pre-yellowed net curtains, and behind those perforated ceiling and wall tiles there’s probably a crapload of asbestos. read more

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