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from Bridget Douglas & Al Fraser | Silver Stone Wood Bone
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I've worked with taonga pūoro in combination with western music ensembles for nearly three decades now, predominantly with the late Richard Nunns, rightly celebrated as our pre-eminent specialist of Māori musical instruments. The work has involved combinations with orchestras, string quartets, electronic music and more, and has been a fascinating journey of musical and cultural revelation for me.
Working now with Alistair Fraser for the first time has been just as fascinating. His approach (like musicians of all types) is unique, as is his sound and extensive collection of instruments, many of which were new and unfamiliar to me.
The flute and taonga pūoro have more similarities than any other combination involving taonga pūoro I've created before, so that's what I focused on immediately. I love that the instruments can imitate each other, occupying the same sonic space by complementing or contrasting.
I decided to use flute techniques I've never used before to achieve the flexible and very human tones that taonga pūoro create. Conversely, I asked Alistair to echo the exact pitches that the flute makes, thus drawing the flute into the world of taonga pūoro rather than sitting apart from it.
Silver Stone Wood Bone is a piece about breath and human expressiveness.
— Gareth Farr —