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Yearly Archives: 2009

Kitimat B.C – a boat journey

By | Americas | No Comments

Martin fishingKitimat in northern British Columbia, “the end of the road” is known for it’s salmon fishing and stunning scenery. A small community that has grown since Alchem (a company who smelt aluminium) invested into the area in the 1940’s. I was fortunate enough to be asked to play at a music festival in this area and met some wonderful people. This short video is an amazing boat trip up river …. chasing the elusive big fish. Read More

Cambodia – Garlands for Ashes

By | Cambodia | No Comments

During the Khmer Rouge dictatorship in the 70’s some of the first people that were taken into captivity were the creative artists. Those that held the traditional stories of Cambodia. In February Voices from the Nations will be filming and recording a new CD and DVD project in Phnom Penh. Working with CCAM (an arts school who give hope to street children by giving them a home and schooling in their traditional arts) we will be collecting the songs and dances of this younger generation who have re-imagined the stories of old for today. This short picture video tells the story so far.

Great story

By | Laugh | No Comments
 Cook Islands

With only one entrant, Kaisa Ioane, from Samoa in the Fly weight 51kg class he only had to enter the ring to be awarded a medal. The Cook Islands put up a boxer, teariki Samuel who stood to win a silver medal. Samuel was not part of the original team selection but was entered so that the Samoan could participate. However, Teariki did not show up as his mother would not permit him to take part. The Cook Islands were denied the chance of a medal.

Story from ……Cook Islands Herald newspaper

Cook Island drumming

By | Drums, Oceania | 2 Comments

It just happened that one of the exponents of Cook Island drumming was doing a workshop that I was able to sit in on. Dr. Jon Tikivanotau Jonassen, a Rarotongan by birth, who has toured internationally with the famous Betela Dance Troupe. He has developed a unique way of notating the rhythms from the Cook Islands. It was wonderful to meet him and hear his perspective on drumming Pacific style. Below is an example of the unique Cook Island playing.

Check out more pictures/video …… Read More

Cook Island story

By | Oceania | No Comments

Whilst wandering in the Cook Islands – I came across a local paper, advertising that one of the masters of Cook Island drumming (now based in Hawai’i) was going to be giving a lecture. Fortunately I was allowed to sit in on the workshop and got to know some of the attendees. One drummer, Mark was a government worker and he invited me to his local drum and dance group rehearsals.

He was a mine of information about the islands and how things were slowly changing due to the influx of more and more tourists. One such story explained the cultural mindset of his people. When tourism grew the governmental leaders of all the islands came together to discuss the possibilities of supplying Raratonga (the main tourist destination) with food from the outlying islands. Extra supplies were being flown in from New Zealand, Australia and America, which was putting all the prices up for the local people. If they could supply the needs in house, then prices could be kept at a reasonable price for the He joked that you could wake up each day, shoot a hog and just eat one leg and there would still be plenty for everyone. Apparently the islands were blessed with plenty of fruits, fish and wild boar. There was one proviso if this was to work, no island time, supplies had to be provided daily and on time! Well the leaders went back to their people and for a couple of weeks everything seemed to be going fine. However the third week everything slowed down and the fourth week it stopped all together. The leaders were called back for a meeting. When asked what was happening, one leader replied “We have one question – what are we going to do with all this extra money?” It had taken them just 4 weeks to realize that they had enough. They had everything they needed for a good life and didn’t need anything else.


By | Wind | No Comments

In the age of computer generated music and technology, it is exciting to hear about the resurgence of traditional instruments. The vivo, a high pitched nose flute, which was widely used in pre-missionary Polynesia, is having a bit of a revival. The Ministry of Cultural Development in the Cook Islands has organised workshops and had 1500 vivo made on the island of Mangaia, where the bamboo used for the instrument grows naturally.

Many of the flutes from Pacific islands are nose blown rather than mouth blown, which fascinated me. Why was this, I asked myself? One story I heard was that the breath out of your nose is thought of as being pure whilst often breath from the mouth can bring forth obscenities, such as in speech. Therefore making flute music with air produced from the nose was symbolically thought to have the purest intentions.

Cook Islands

By | Oceania | No Comments

It’s staggering to realise the vastness of the area where we have come to. 15 small islands, yet situated in 2 million square miles of Pacific ocean – yes, can you believe it, an area about the size of western Europe.

The Northern group includes Manihiki, Rakahanga, Penrhyn, Puka puka, Nassau and Suwarrow. The Southern group includes Aitutaki, Mangaia, Atiu, Mauke, Mitiaro, Palmerston ( about 50 people live here, all Marsters, descended from William Marsters and his three Polynesian wives), Manua, Takutea and Raratonga. Here on Rarotonga we rode on bikes around the whole island …. it’s only 32km!

The sound of their accapela music is absolutely beautiful and very unique. This is not a great recording but hopefully it will stimulate you to hunt for some original recordings in this style.

Cook Islands choir by Voicesfromthenations

Whale Rider

By | Oceania | No Comments
Whale rider

There have been two films (that reached the UK) that have given us a little insight into Maori culture in the last 20 years, “Once were warriors” and “Whale rider”. So it was fascinating to see the small rural community where whale rider was filmed. Check out some pictures of the area where it was filmed ….. Read More