Pacific bands in Christchurch for NZ Music Month
29 May 2004
Dux de Lux if wet
Pacific bands in Christchurch step up for NZ Music Month
Polyphusion 2004 a free concert of local Pacific Island and Maori bands, on Saturday 29 May, Cathedral Square, from 2pm - 5pm, will bring a mix of styles and experience from Christchurch’s finest musicians to the up and coming talent of Christchurch, in celebration of NZ Music Month.
Pacific and Maori musicians already contribute largely to the NZ Music industry. Samoan MC of Hip Hop, Scribe made New Zealand history with an album and single at the top of the charts simultaneously in 2003, and coming from Christchurch, this guy knows what Polyphusion 2004 is all about. His involvement in pioneer Hip Hop collective “Beats and Pieces” in the late 1990s included similar concerts where the showcase of Pacific and Maori musicians, with groups like Pacific Underground, provided the steady flow of gigs held around the city.
Polyphusion 2004, by a new collective of Pacific bands will promote the talent and diverse styles of bands from Christchurch. Members from Que, Pacific Underground, Tribalincs, Jahmen and supporters have been meeting regularly, looking at pro-active approaches to supporting initiatives like NZ Music Month, and the promotion and marketing support of the Christchurch talent and music. The concert promises such a diverse range of music, a real strength for this collective, as many of the Pacific artists who have become successful recording artists are more commonly known to be from the Auckland or play Hip Hop, R&B. or the new Pacific Pop.
“The name ‘Polyphusion’ comes from the different styles and variety - and it comes at a high standard” says Que member Vaemu Fidow, “This is the first time for us working as a collective, and for a gig like this. It’s kind of a natural progression, we all play the same summer gigs…”. Before featuring at events like last Summer’s ‘Affirm’ and “Sex in the Park”, Que won the 1st round of the 2003 Coke Rhythm Nation competition after recording their original song, ‘Time To Get Ready’and attracting the most votes from listeners of Auckland’s, Mai FM 88.6. Their success led to performances around the country including supporting Hip Hop artist Coolio. “Not a lot of people would know about that down here because Mai FM is based in Auckland, but the exposure and airplay is awesome.”
Other bands Pacific Underground, Tribalincs and F.U.S.A and Element (formerly 5th Element) have all had some success outside of Christchurch too including all groups appearing at the infamous Pasifika Festival in Auckland with Tribalincs performing three times at this year’s one.
Element came 3rd in the 2003 Coke Smokefree Rockquest final and the Coca-Cola anthem award enabling them to record the anthem for TV ad for Coke Music From the Fridge. F.U.S.A won the 2002 Lion Red Christchurch Battle of the Bands, coming 3rd overall at the National Final in Auckland that year. This led them to gigs supporting national and international Hip Hop acts such as Mareko and Cypress Hill.
Tribalincs who play a mix of Jazz and Soul have had an invitation by a top US songwriter to appear on an album, and their song “Don’t Matter None” has appeared in the TV show ‘Mercy Peak’after being picked up from the compilation promotion CD called “Niu Sila Pasifika” (which also features Pacific Underground) and gains more airplay on Niu FM. Pacific Underground’s music achievements stretch wide, involving theatre productions, various appearances at festivals all over the Pacific including a new music show that will travel to the 9th South Pacific Arts Festival, in Palau, at the end of July.
“Over the years we’ve supported other Pacific bands where we can, whether we get them to play with us, or we might lend some gear, or some advice,” says Pacific Underground Musical Director Pos Mavaega, also is no stranger to gigs like these. Pacific Underground are instrumental in supporting Pacific Music and the arts of Christchurch, through events of their own, and production support. “Polyphusion 2004 is like the continuation or extension of our involvement in the industry. It’s awesome to have the support from the bands and networks to make it happen”.
But, the new collective won’t stop at putting on one concert. They are looking at making this an annual event. “It makes sense really, NZ Music Month will continue every year, and May is a pretty quiet time after a summer full of gigs.” says Mavaega.
“I agree, this kind of collaboration will also be about gaining national networks - connecting everyone up which could assist us for future touring and/or concerts, yeah there’s lots that could come out of Polyphusion 2004 - which is what it’s all about.”.
Confirmed acts are:- F.U.S.A, Pacific Underground, Que, Jahmen, Tribalincs, Star City, Cornerstone, Element. The event has grown to include the support of the Christchurch City Council, Ultralab, Migration Music and maorimusic.com. If wet, Polyphusion 2004 will be held at the Dux de Lux.