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Pacific and Maori Bands unite for NZ Music Month

May 18 2004

Pacific and Maori Bands unite 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 and Maori DJ Ali who features on his album, made New Zealand history with an album and single at the top of the charts simultaneously in 2003, and coming from Christchurch, these guys know what Polyphusion 2004 is all about. Their involvement in pioneer Hip Hop collective “Beats and Pieces” alongside Antsman (Rhombus and The Nomad), Charmed One, and others in the late 1990s included similar concerts where the showcase of Pacific and Maori artists, 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 Pacific Underground, DJ Ali’s group Star City, Que 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 name ‘Polyphusion’ comes from the different styles and fusion or union with Maori artists - and it comes at a high standard” says Que member Vaemu Fidow, “This is the first time for us working as a collective. We all play the same summer gigs, so it feels like a natural progression to step up a level…”. 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.” Maori groups featured include Star City - Ali's new hip hop unit that has been performing throughout NZ with his new original compositions in preparation for a major 2004 CD Summer release and Native Style Mara Tipa - TK Christchurch's emerging scratch artist and record producer who also is compiling new material for his upcoming first CD Summer release. 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. 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 other bands, networks and the Maori community to make it happen”. Says PU Music Director Pos Mavaega, no stranger to gigs like these.

But, the new collective won’t stop at putting on one concert. They are looking at making this an annual event. “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.” Says Fidow.

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 Whirikawe Development Trust/ If wet, Polyphusion 2004 will be held at the Dux de Lux.


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