Arts Take Virtual Performance To Another Level

One evening in April, a Kiwi songwriter friend living in London posted a YouTube video by the London Humanist Choir, performing a love song in Māori. The video of New Zealand’s unofficial anthem, Pokarekare Ana, was, as we are now accustomed, a multi-screen video with choir members recording their parts remotely. I shared this with a few Kiwi friends who live elsewhere, knowing it would tug at the tendrils of homesickness, which are almost always…

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Ten songs that influenced teenage me

Most of my musician friends spend time on Facebook, so that’s why I probably saw so many of those ‘10 albums which influenced your musical tastes’ challenges. It is no surprise this diversion has become popular in the uncertain time of COVID-19 because it allowed us to yearn, just a little, for those carefree days when music helped shape our lives. You can tell how much the ‘challenge’ means, as so many participants cannot leave…

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Tiptoe through the ukulele group

One Tuesday morning recently I tiptoed into an auditorium and onto the stage, threading my way through the U3A ukulele group to take the one vacant seat.  I arrived at the Senior Citizens rooms at 10am but we were supposed to be there at 9.30am. The group was up to song three (Maggie) by then. So I calmly set up my music stand, took the baritone uke out of the bag and joined in at…

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Canned muzak takes away listener choice

Today I’m keen to vent my displeasure at the seemingly inescapable intrusion of canned music – known as muzak. Background music in public places was once described by violinist Yehudi Menuhin as ‘pollution of the mind’. Menuhin, the consummate classical soloist, led a campaign in the late 1960s to have muzak banned from shopping malls and other public spaces. Muzak is a company set up in the 1950s which produced pre-recorded background music and sold…

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