Today in New Zealand International Arts Festival history: Mahinarangi Tocker & Kaboom (2004), Maori Showbands & Zeibekiko (2006), Beautiful Burnout meets The Hobbit (2012)
"Has it really been...ten...years?"
I remember going back to my high school reunion in Canada, and hearing the disbelief in the headmaster's voice as he looked at all of us, and it sank in just how much time had passed since this particular bunch had graduated.
That's how I feel looking at these images today - can it possibly have been ten years since I photographed Mahina and her amazing Mongrels band in rehearsal for their Festival Club shows? I always think this was later, because the album they did came out in 2005; but in this case, the shows came first, the recording later.
She was excited that day, even more so than would be usual before a show; this was something new, a collaboration with a new group of people, something larger than she'd attempted before, and she was looking forward to getting underway after rehearsal, hearing it all together - and hearing others' reactions to the songs, and the band.
And what a band it was! Mahina herself of course had an amazing voice, a unique style of songwriting and a wicked sense of humour to boot; but with her were Shona Laing, composer and keyboardist/drummer David Downes, the amazing James Wilkinson on guitar and bass, singers Anahera Higgins and Denny Stanway, Ashley Brown from the NZ Trio on cello, and Jimmy Young on Northumbrian Smallpipes, flute, guitar, vocals and anything else he could do. They were a pack of characters, but had an amazing way of meshing together in those songs.
Of course, we lost Mahina to an asthma attack in 2008; but I was lucky enough to hear her (and the band) a few more times after this. It's worth seeking out the album if you can find it!
Kaboom was part of the free outdoor events in Civic Square that year, but I'm afraid I don't remember much more than the cannon! There was certainly a large blanket to catch this character in, which many people were drafted to hold - but surprisingly enough, he never made the flight...
A few images here of the Maori Volcanics rehearsing for their show at the Wellington Town Hall in 2006; but I've got a few more of that coming up in a few days, so I won't say too much right now!
And we finish today with another 2006 show, John Psathas & Stroma's Zeibekiko concert - yes, I did have to check the spelling a few times just to be sure, and I'm still not completely. This was a great piece, drafting in a number of musicians from the NZSO to augment the chamber orchestra, but also featuring a pair of Greek musicians John was working with while writing this piece. A fantastic work, and great to see the response he got from a home-town crowd. He's had many more since, but I think he enjoyed this one particularly.
Oh, just one more thing - the Hobbit cast came to see Beautiful Burnout one night, and had a catch-up after the show, too. Glad someone let me know, so I could be there too!