[ Craig Potton Publishing / Book ]
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One of the largely unseen consequences of the European colonisation of Aotearoa was that the playing of, and knowledge about, the traditional musical instruments of Maori almost disappeared. In the 1970s a young Pakeha schoolteacher, Richard Nunns, started asking questions of his Maori friends about these instruments, which sparked a 40-year journey of rediscovery.
Over that time Richard became internationally recognised as the leading figure in the revival of taonga puoro, alongside the late musician, composer, and educator, Hirini Melbourne, and master carver and instrument maker, Brian Flintoff.
Te Ara Puoro tells the story of Richard Nunns' remarkable journey; of how fragments of knowledge given by elders were pieced together through countless presentations and performances on marae the length and breadth of the country; of how the instruments were re-created and developed; and of how he subsequently mastered their playing. The book gathers together an enormous amount of the current knowledge about taonga puoro, and will undoubtedly be the most important written resource in existence on the subject. It also charts the many other paths that Richard has taken with the music, including the huge variety of recordings he has done, his sound-track work, and his playing in other genres, such as free jazz and classical.
Lavishly illustrated with photographs of the instruments, and accompanied by a CD especially curated for the book by Rattle called Mahi (an album that offers an engaging overview of Richard's recorded output with the label), this book is essential for anyone interested in Maori culture and the remarkable music that is unique to this land.