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All is revealed tonight! – Wed 2 November

MEDIA RELEASE

All is revealed tonight! – Wed 2 November

The eagerly awaited 2006 New Zealand International Arts Festival programme will be announced in the Festival’s first-ever public launch at 5.45pm this Wednesday. To wet your appetite the Festival has announced one of the key New Zealand events Tuwhare – a concert to celebrate a New Zealand icon.

A culmination of New Zealand art, culture and heritage, Tuwhare pays homage to one of our greatest living poets. A man of huge mana, Hone Tuwhare’s work will be performed in a unique concert by top recording artists from around Aotearoa.

“I am delighted that Toi Māori and Charlotte Yates throught to bring Tuwhare to us after the success of the Tuwhare CD release during New Zealand Music Month earlier this year, and the sell-out 2000 Festival season of Baxter. It joins my favourite New Zealand poet with some of the musicians I love,” says Carla van Zon, the Festival’s Artistic Director.

From Hinemoana Baker to Te Kupu (Dean Hapeta of Upper Hutt Posse), WAI to Goldenhorse, twelve recording artists have transformed Tuwhare’s words into lyrics for songs that cover a wide range of styles, capturing the diversity in both his writing and New Zealand music.

The musicians’ poignant interpretations range in form from rock, pop, reggae, hip hop and electronica through to traditional Māori works.

Each poem is moulded to the artist’s characteristic style – Don McGlashan (The Front Lawn, The Mutton Birds) uses euphonium and piano to interpret the moody “Rain”, while strawpeople “could easily count its contribution…among its finer moments.” (Otago Daily Times) Mahinarangi Tocker, Dallas Tamaira (Fat Freddy’s Drop), Graham Brazier and Hone Hurihanganui also lend their unique voices to this project.

“Whirimako Black's voice can almost bring tears to your eyes, while Charlotte Yates turns Tuwhare's words into an effortless pop vocal hook in the almost Fur Patrol sounding Mad.” (nzmusic.com)

This 80-minute journey into the heart of New Zealand arts and culture, sponsored by The Dominion Post with support from Smokefree Arts, will be performed at the Wellington Town Hall in three cabaret-style performances.

Tuwhare is directed by Wellington-based musician Charlotte Yates, who produced the sell-out season of Baxter for the 2000 Festival, a concert that applied the same concept to the poetry of James K Baxter. After the success of the Baxter project Yates was commissioned by Toi Maori Aotearoa, to produce a CD that celebrated the poetry of Hone Tuhware. The CD, released during New Zealand Music Month in 2005, received rave reviews. Now, the same set of contemporary New Zealand musicians who played on the Tuwhare CD come together to present this uplifting musical tribute live. The concert is a co-production of Toi Māori Aotearoa and the New Zealand International Arts Festival

The entire programme of Festival events will be revealed tonight, Wednesday 2 November, at the public Festival launch. Join in the festivities at 5.45pm in Civic Square Wellington. Be entertained by Goldenhorse and WAI (who both perform in Tuwhare) be the first to see the exciting Festival 2006 line-up, which features more than 100 events handpicked from the best the world has to offer. The programme will go live on the Festival’s website www.nzfestival.telecom.co.nz at 7pm Wednesday night.

Internationally recognised as one of the world’s leading multi-arts festivals, the New Zealand International Arts Festival presents a three week feast of dance, fine and popular music, opera, visual arts, literature and multimedia events this coming summer (24 February – 19 March, 2006) in the capital city.

Other highlights already announced include: Oscar-winning Chinese/American composer Tan Dun’s opera Tea: A Mirror of Soul for three performances during the opening week, sponsored by Friends of the Festival. The UK’s renowned composer/conductor James MacMillan visits New Zealand for the first time to conduct his own work Quickening in a programme that also includes works by award-winning New Zealand composer Ross Harris. French trapeze artists Les Arts Sauts, who present their death-defying and magical show in a 28-metre-high inflatable dome and who are sponsored by New Zealand Post; and Alan Bennett’s award-winning play The History Boys, directed by Nicholas Hytner (whose theatre and film successes include The Madness of King George and The Crucible) and sponsored by Lexus. There is also a tribute concert to the Māori Showbands, which sees one of the original showbands The Maori Volcanics perform with a newly formed ten-piece showband The Maori Allstars, in a concert MC-ed by ex showband member and NZ Idol judge Frankie Stevens. This special concert is sponsored by Transpower and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Cunningham (The Hours).

Further information on Hone Tuwhare:
Hone Tuwhare’s writing has been celebrated with numerous accolades ranging from two honorary doctorates, courtesy of the University of Otago and University of Auckland, to receiving one of the inaugural Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement in 2003. In 2002 his collection of poems Piggy-back Moon won the Poetry category of the Montana Book Awards. Hone Tuwhare was also named as an Arts Foundation of New Zealand Icon Artist in 2003. The revered poet, playwright and author of short fiction was born in Kaikohe in 1922 into Nga Puhi hapu Ngati Korokoro, Ngati Tautahi, Te Popoto, Uri-o-ha. He was the first Maori poet to have his work published in English with No Ordinary Sun in 1964. Hone Tuwhare currently resides in Kaka Point, South Otago. “Hone is recognised as bringing an exciting new dimension to New Zealand poetry: his voice communicates a distinctly Māori perspective marked by a lyrical response to the landscape. His work has remained committed to Māori issues, though it also highlights multicultural and working-class concerns, suggesting a world of shifting, multiple identities.” (Arts Foundation of New Zealand)

Further information on Charlotte Yates:
Charlotte Yates is a recording artist, who has released four albums of her own material on Jayrem Records; Queen Charlotte Sounds, released 1991; The Desire and the Contempt, 1997; Dead Fish Beach, 2001; Plainsong, 2003. Yates was the artist-in-residence at the Christchurch Arts Centre during April/May 2002 where she concentrated on songwriting and guitar performance. She has toured extensively with fellow singer/songwriter Mahinarangi Tocker and a live album of their concerts, Touring, was released September 2002. She has had a long association with the Festival in 1994 she performed in When the Cat’s Been Spayed and in 2000 she directed Baxter. Spending three years in Melbourne, Yates directed the ‘93 and ‘94 Melbourne Fringe Arts Festivals and in 1995 she studied Contemporary Music Technology and Composition at La Trobe University, Melbourne.

Praise for Tuwhare:
“…a fantastic document of not only New Zealand music but also New Zealand art and culture.” nzmusic.com

Tuwhare performance dates: Sat 11 – Mon 13 March, 8.30pm, Town Hall, Wellington

ENDS

Website: www.nzfestival.telecom.co.nz

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