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The Silence is Over - Taonga Puoro


Documentary Publication year: 2008



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This documentary about Taonga Puoro, treasured Maori instruments and their place in modern music. Traditionally the instruments were played not for entertainment, but were played more for the spiritual world of music in birth, life, and death. The argument here is whether they have, in modern times, transcended to being used as entertainment in western orchestral music and pop or rock.

The documentary is presented through two avenues. One tells the story of Horomona Horo, a young man with three mentors: Richard Nunns, Brian Flintoff and the late Hirini Melbourne. These three men made a committed trio dedicated to the revival of Taonga Puoro, and Horomono Horo is their young student, wanting to maintain the tradition and continue the revival.

Their message is these instruments need to be played, not left gathering dust on museum shelves, and to this end they play them to people and spirits atop beautiful landscapes.

Then we move to the Michael Fowler Centre, after the NZSO walk out 6 musician/composers debate what place in the future these traditional Maori instruments will have in western orchestral music and bands. Included are well known composer/musicians Gareth Farr, Gillian Whitehead, Aroha-Yates Smith, Moana Maniapoto, Jeff Henderson and Richard Nunns himself.

The Taongo Puoro's future is vigorously debated in a vacated orchestral stage over a table on which contains examples of these traditional Maori instruments, with questions like;
Will we see a section in the orchestra where Toanga Puoro instruments will be played?
How can this be when each has a different tone and a different personality and tradition?
How would this work in orchestral composition?
There are taboos about where these instruments should be played, does this get in the way of usage in modern bands and modern venues?

Message taken from "TVNZ":

Series title

Artsville - documentary for TVNZ


Author note

Production Shed.TV