My good friend Synge has tagged me... and I'm supposed to name 5 things readers wouldn't know about me. Our readers range from total strangers stopping by, to friends and family who keep up with us through our posts. I guess I'll try to suprise the latter, though some of you will know a few of these already...
1. I'm an only child, and when I was a little kid I went through a phase where I talked to my imaginary german shepherd enough that my parents consulted a psychiatrist to ask if it was normal. (She said it was).
2. When bumblebees are half dead or drowning in a puddle on the deck I put some honey on a q-tip and they eat it up and fly away.
3. I dislike the feel of cardboard boxes and paper grocery bags. I also don't like the feel of popsicle sticks on my teeth.
4. I was on the board of directors at Ekoji Buddhist Sangha for one year.
5. I had acupuncture several times the other week, and it rocked. The doctor here sent me to a physical therapist and they routinely do acupuncture. It's covered under New Zealand's national healthcare as much as more traditional treatments. I had no thoughts about it before going, but I can't believe how quickly my shoulder healed this time.
Some people have asked me what the music is like over here. I think that you can break it down into easier categories in New Zealand. And can find any true current reflection of music in any University. While the older generations of popular New Zealand music used it as a springboard before launching a larger career in Australia and ultimately "becoming" an Australian band. In some cases such as Split Enz and Crowded House where they have achieved some success overseas, it has been some point of contention in New Zealand. The current music can be traced to certain bands who visit New Zealand and leave a music footprint that grows with each generation. You have the EMO of the Datsuns and Shihad. The Hip Hop of the Deceptikonz and Rhythm and Groove of Shapeshifter. Bic Runga has made some appearences on several movies soundtracks but so far has not broken into the world mainstream. Reggae or a fusion called Reggae dub is well on the rise here.
A new book set to be published in early 2008 will document the history and development of one of the most popular forms of music in Aotearoa-New Zealand: reggae and dub.
The as-yet unnamed title will explore New Zealand's adoption of Jamaican reggae music in the late-1970s - due largely to the visit of Bob Marley - through to development of an indigenous reggae-influenced sound championed by the likes of 2006 chart-toppers, Wellington bands Fat Freddy's Drop and The Black Seeds.
The book is a collaboration between Auckland-based broadcaster and "selector" (DJ) Patrick "Dubhead" Waller and Hamilton-based music journalist Jeff Neems.
"Reggae and its associated culture have grown stronger over the last few years. Motherland Collective's Soundsplash at Raglan is one of the most popular music festivals in the country, the rock-oriented Big Day Out is booking reggae acts - this year it was roots superstar Luciano backed by Dunedin's Renegade Sound System - and there are more reggae specialist shows on the radio airwaves than ever before.
"Right now there is also a plethora of DJs, bands and musicians plying a musical trade influenced by roots reggae, dub, dancehall and ska," says Neems.
"What we've seen with Herbs, I Unity and Dread Beat and Blood in the past, and now with Fat Freddy's Drop, The Black Seeds and Katchafire is only really the proverbial tip of the iceberg in terms of an indigenous reggae-based sound. Bob Marley made a massive impact when he played at Auckland's Western Springs in 1979 - he really touched the nation, particularly Maori and Pacific Islanders."
Dubhead has witnessed much of the development in New Zealand's reggae culture.
"I've seen so many changes during my involvement in the local reggae scene over the last 20 years I really felt the story had to be told," says Dubhead, owner of the one of the most extensive reggae collections in the country.
The story will not be limited to New Zealand's reggae musicians either, Jeff says.
"A lot of our current generation of reggae musicians would probably point to the likes of Auckland's 'Stinky Jim' Pinckney, 'Big Matt' Watson, my co-author Dubhead and other university radio reggae show hosts as being big influences. Without some of the long-serving veteran reggae broadcasters championing the sound around the country on stations like bFM, Radio Active, RDU and Contact FM, we wouldn't have reached the stage we're at now - they, and their younger counterparts, are as vital to the story as the musicians themselves, we believe," Neems says.
The authors are now hoping to hear from any musicians, DJs and selectors, broadcasters, writers, journalists or members of the public who feel they wish to contribute somehow to the book.
"We've already developed a long list of people we need to talk to complete the puzzle, but we also think there may be some identities out there with their own stories we need to hear. If you've had some musical or organisational involvement in the reggae scene in this country over the past 30 years, we'd like to hear from you," said Neems.
"We're also very keen on obtaining posters, fliers, tickets, albums, tapes, photographs and recordings of TV programmes or radio shows which tackle our reggae culture and the social situation and themes around it - and we promise to return them," he added.
Dubhead, 42, has been a reggae selector for 23 years and is one of the longest-serving announcers on Auckland's bFM, having recently clocked up 16 years on-air. He also spent four years as programme director on the flagship bNet station, and oversaw the 'Dub Combinations' series of compilations released through Kog Transmission. He is also the reggae specialist at Auckland music store Beat Merchants. Neems, 33, is a full-time writer, journalist and subeditor who has been writing about music for more than 10 years. He has done some university radio broadcasting and DJs occasionally under the alias Cpt Nemo.
For those of you who may be interested you have a change to send a message to the moon or Mars. Go to http://www.planetary.org/programs/projects/messages/selene.html and you can add a message to a spacecraft called Selene that is being sent to study the moon. Also in May of 2008, the spacecraft Phoenix will land and study the northern polar regions of the planet Mars. Nestled among busy instruments, a small and very special DVD will wait patiently for its turn. This unique DVD is made of silica glass, and designed to last hundreds if not thousands of years into the future, when its true mission will commence. It carries nothing less than a message from our world to one centuries away, when humans will roam the Red Planet.......or when the Phoenix gets sucked into a black hole and returns to Earth a super intelligent sentient power it can ask for you by name. You can find that one at http://planetary.org/programs/projects/messages/phoenix_dvd.html . Until then planning a short getaway back on Earth at the end of the month. We'll keep you posted. Happy New Year everyone.
Nothing much to tell - can't believe it's warmer in Virginia than here... in January! It's high 60's/low 70's here now. They opened a sushi place up at the beach, and a couple of times we've stopped there while running errands to take a moment to eat at the picnic tables just beind the dunes.(Though I'm way too click happy, I didn't photograph my plate - stock pic.) Will I ever get over my amazement that we head over to the home improvement store or whatever and the beach is right there? We're taking a week off at the end of the month but haven't yet figured out what we're doing. Ought to at least branch out and visit someplace new while we can.
(This next bit is for my cousin, but anyone else might like the link. Evermore is a popular New Zealand band, and you can hear their new albumn online.) C. - the cd I sent you over Christmas was the wrong one - I accidentally sent you an older Evermore cd, and I like the new stuff better. So if you get a chance visit the Evermore site and listen to some of the songs that play right away - 'Lights Surrounding You' and 'Running' are great. If you like them I will send you the new cd. And if you don't like it you can shake your head in dismay over my taste in music. :)