Selecting Murray Hickman as our first Creative Resident was a great choice. His love of drums and percussion is evident in every conversation, rehearsal and session we have. Murray has been able to enthuse and ignite our drumming creatives into thinking of new work and new directions to take there compositions. Murray's own journey while here has seen him connect with people who have traditional cultural knowledge of beats and the craft of drum-making. He has worked closely with Mo, Mark Short and Katu Teiti to build and develop his composition for the BIG BANG work which is the opening event to the 2014 New Zealand Festival of the Arts. Last week we set up the residency house as the rehearsal space for some particularly talented young drummers to rehearse set pieces with Murray. What magic that was to watch kids as young as 6 blow Murray away with their talent but also to observe Murray teach and extend these kids abilities and techniques. This week we are recording and have again opted to set the residency house up as the studio with Mo rigging and transforming the space to give us great sound. We have bought in Tane Mussell and Te Ura Studios to record and Lennie Hill is on board to film.
This Residency is one that has started with the right ethos and support now we want to see this as an annual fixture in the Pacific Creative calendar with more artists sharing knowledge and practise. The fact remains that Motone will continue to extend the Cook Islands perception and experience of what Arts and Culture is, bringing our art into the contemporary context and showing that careers can be made in the arts.
It always amuses Mo and I when friends and family look on at what we do and although appreciative often don't understand the level of business planning and management required to make things like this happen. Arts is often viewed as just a fun hobby or something that isn't real work. Undervalued and misunderstood but enjoyed when it is there by many. So my shout out today is ARTS IS A BUSINESS - it should not be undersold. Every component of a show, song, CD, film, exhibition, etc takes project management, budgeting, marketing, contracting, negotiations, report writing, event management, health and safety etc..... Arts are profitable not just financially but also in building better attitudes, addressing issues, building careers, giving communities voices, providing education and true and expressive job satisfaction. Arts create professionals it can and is a career. Work on things you love and here at MOTONE WE LOVE THE ARTS!
Aitutaki well all Murray can say is" that place is amazing!" With the brilliant support of Pacific Resort Aitutaki which quiet frankly if it isn't on your bucket list should be.... Murray and Mo set off on the Aitutaki leg of the residency.
it has long been Motone's intention to extend our workshops and arts experiences to Aitutaki and Araura College. This Residency has enabled us to do just that and the experience and skills of the students reinforces that we have performers of incredible abilities in the Cook Islands that if given opportunities can and should be marketed, promoted, supported and developed. Murray and Mo also had the honour of sitting with Master Carver Tamaura Kiria. The ability and knowledge that Tamarua has is like gold and the experience has feed into Murray's comprehension of Cook island Drumming far more than any text book.
At Araura College the students worked for a solid 2 - 3 hours going over beats to create a rich and full section of percussion composition. As Murray lets Mo and I know the Cooks are the drumming MECCA for him and to have access to master drummers, carvers and rising talent has been invigorating and truly a creative experience. Now we begin the work in Rarotonga and Mark Short and Katu Teiti are so incredibly supportive and excited by the prospect of this project and what can be achieved. We know at Motone Productions that we will create a new thread of artistic and creative energy from this - AGAIN I YELL THOUGH MY KEYBOARD - GOVERMENT SUPPORT THE CREATIVE INDUSTRIES. WE WILL SEE YOU AS LEADERS - LEADERS OF THE FUTURE, FORWARD THINKERS, PROGRESSIVE, INTERESTED, ENGAGED AND BEST OF ALL BUILDING FUTURES AND WEALTH IN NEW DIRECTIONS.
Developing the Creative Residency has been an incredible experience thus far from all the pre-planning and trying to find supporters of which big ups to CNZ, Telecom Cook Islands, Island Car and Bike Hire, Pacific Resort AItutaki and our private supporters who quietly sit in the background not wanting accolades but believing in what we are doing. Week one has seen Murray arrive get settled into the great Are Roa owned by fabulous Cook Island artist Ani O Neil and tatau extraordinaire Croc and everyday and night off to either an island night to look at the drumming performances ( again thanks to Edgewater Resort and Spa, Highland Paradise and The Crown Beach Resort for providing dinners for those shows) or to meetings. Murray met up with the talented Katu Teiti and Mark Short to talk and talk and plan and dream about drums and to set the project plan in place. Meeting with drum maker Rubena Papa Ben gave Murray some insight into the mechanics of pate making so knowledge sharing has been at the forefront. Murray already has a piece called
"Sea Gongs" originally composed by Gareth Farr that he will be working on here with our drummers and selected rising drum talent to include a Cook Islands flair that will see those drummers travel to Wellington, New Zealand to be highlighted in the production called " The Big Bang" which will be the opening segment of the 2014 New Zealand Festival. Murray also meet with Rudy Aquino to borrow his vibraphone which Murray is a leading musician in New Zealand and performs on in his Strike Percussion Group.
Murray and Mo are now in Aitutaki and have begun the workshops with Araura College and are meeting leading drummers on the island as well. So update 2 will let you all know about that experience and how the project is forming.
All I know is that this is exciting and productive for building foundations for our Creative Industry. The industry that was mentioned at the economic summit 3 years ago to get support in budgets and future strategies from government departments but sadly still remains somewhat absent! So what to do???? Well just get on with it because Art always will survive. Art defines culture, national identities and lasts the test of time. And as a friend of mine Damien Prentice advised me " ....in 100 years the art of today will still dazzle, but no one will give a ratsarse about this years, or last years rugby. Who can name the team that won the football in the 1900 Olympic games at the time Gaugin was painting in Tahiti?"
Anyone of the Motone crew and associated clever people who have admin rights!