(My Mission To Find A Job In New Zealand & Get A Work Visa)
Gosh, where do I start? From the beginning I suppose. For the last three weeks I’ve been working as an intern on a project for Toi Maori, the National Maori Arts Organisation. They see a lot of possibilities in developing, expanding and promoting the cultural connection between Celtic music and contemporary Maori music and language. For now, what they want to do is to combine a contemporary Celtic band with contemporary Maori musicians/artists, with the main aim of performing at the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow 2015. My job is to help this organisation to reach out to the Celtic music community and facilitate this cross community musical endeavour. In the long-term, they want to develop and maintain this ongoing relationship.
During the first week I spent a lot of time researching the Celtic clubs and organisations all over New Zealand, finding out about Celtic bands that perform in NZ, what sort of rhythms they play, what sort of instruments they play, what are the similarities but especially the differences, in the music & rhythms in Celtic music, that might blend in well with some of the contemporary Maori music and what blends of Celtic music were coming out of Europe, America and Canada.
Last week I was absorbed in checking out the Maori side of things. I had to investigate what sort of contemporary Maori artists play in New Zealand, what Arts Festivals are there in NZ that have Maoris in the programme, find out about Sounds Aotearoa: New Zealand’s only indigenous music expo, amongst other things. I also got active in networking in the Irish community. I went to one or two of the Irish societies in the Wellington area, got talking to a few people involved in the music scene, gave them my business card, made appointments with people and went to an Irish music session in Wellington.
It’s been very interesting doing the research, both on the Celtic side and on the Maori side. I’ve learned a lot more about instruments, styles of music, watched a lot of youtube clips of various bands and a whole lot more. I’m really enjoying it and want to keep going. This is something I’ve never done before and it’s a great challenge. It’s pushing me to go out of my comfort zone and get results. I also love the fact that I have to make contact with people and to talk to them about something I have a huge interest in.
Talking about challenges, a few days ago they asked me to come up with a suitable Celtic band for the project within a week. “Jeez man” I thought to myself, “that’s going to be a tough one”. They want to have a brainstorming session with the Celtic band, the Maori musicians, a Maori composer, me and Toi Maori in early November, with the aim of having their first test gig in Wellington in early December.
There is a possibility of a suitable band but I won’t say so much about it yet until it’s been finalised. More about that in the next blog. I’m making progress though and it’s good. One of my brothers, Mick, has been a huge help. He plays with the band Solas and his knowledge of music and the music scene in general has been invaluable.
So onwards and upwards I say!