Bill Direen and Guests. Songs and Improvisations.
New Athenaeum Theatre, The Octagon, Dunedin.
Fri 11th May, Sat 12th May. 8:30pm
A performance of a mini-song-cycle written by Alan Brunton (Red Mole) and Bill Direen, commemorating the hope and fervour of the period 1935-1939, will be presented as part of an evening of music at the New Athemaeum Theatre in May.
The evening is a voyage through New Zealand's history from 1914 to 1939 in three parts. Songs are themed upon social reforms, New Zealand's involvement in war, in all its gore and sadness, while some of the music-poetry interprets the importance of play and playfulness to the New Zealand psyche.
The spotlight will shift to and from collective improvisations by a six-piece ensemble, to short brackets of poems and songs from the Direen repertoire. Songs will be counterbalanced by spontaneous compositions by improvising musicians led by Stuart Porter. New Zealand's history is seen through the eyes of Direen's Otago-born grandfather (also called William Direen), who survived three years on the Western Front, was wounded and hospitalised in France in 1918. He also played representative rugby and was a respected referee in his later years.
Bill Direen is well known as an alternative pop-rock songwriter and performer who has worked with a staggering array of class musicians. A recent documentary by Simon Ogston portrayed him in all his facets — poet, composer and collaborator-musician. Some of the musicians in the ensemble aslo appeared in the film.
Door Sales: $10.
Tickets: pre-sales from New Athenaeum Theatre.
Personnel at time of writing: Bill DIreen (texts, guitar, air organ and songs), Stuart Porter (saxophone), Alex Wolken (piano), Brenon Ryniker (drums), Matt Sanson (bass), Susan Ellis (violin), William Henry Meung (electronic sound).
Bill Direen is well known as an alternative poet, songwriter and performer who has worked with a staggering array of musicians. A recent Simon Ogston documentary, 'A Memory of Others' (Rialto, 2017 Dunedin Film Festival) portrayed him in all his facets — poet, composer and collaborator-musician. This new show brings together those elements in a live evening of texts, songs and improvisation. Dunedin has been his base for the past twenty years. Stuart Porter was a founder member of the leendary Braille and Primitive Art Groups in Wellington in the 1980s. He has lived in Dunedin for ten years.
May 12, 2018 8:30PM
New Athenaeum Theatre
The Octagon, Dunedin