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New Zealand music festival offers much variety
By Fei Lai

NEW Zealand music is much influenced by the profound Maori heritage and cultures of the Pacific islands.

Local audience will get a chance to sample this blend of traditional and modern styles during the New Zealand Music Festival in Shanghai in the following two months.

"The festival celebrates the amazing artistic talent, diversity and innovation of New Zealand musicians," says Kirsten Mason, festival director from Wellington.

"By building an audience for New Zealand music, I hope to create more opportunities for our musicians to perform in China."

One of the artists to take the stage in the festival is Pacific Curls which perform music with back-beat Pacific rhythms, a vivacious fiddle and evocative Maori instrumentation and lyrics.

Band members also use a cajon, ukulele, fiddle, traditional Maori instruments, guitar, stomp box and kalimba.

Stemming from their Maori, Fijian and Scottish heritage, it is a great fusion of Pacific island beats, jazz chords, Celtic tunes and Maori lyrics.

They have toured extensively across the globe.

"Contemporary New Zealand music is extremely diverse, and it is a fascinating expression of the cultural mix of our country," Mason says.

"Over the past few years, more and more New Zealand artists have been combining styles either traditional or modern, including rock, hip hop, jazz, reggae, dub, electronic, to create a sound which is uniquely New Zealand."

Kapa haka

Raukura Kapa Haka group from Rotorua Boys High School will give a show of kapa haka, a kind of traditional Maori performing arts.

Kapa haka means to stand in a row (kapa) and dance (haka), and performers combine song, dance, expression and movement in each piece.

The group has won multiple regional and national kapa haka competitions, thrilling audiences with their electrifying performances.

They hope to do the same in Shanghai.

Other artists to perform in the music festival include John Chen, one of New Zealand's best young pianists who was once said by The New Zealand Herald as playing "with torrential brilliance."

Winning his first competition at nine years old, Chen had his orchestral debut at 15 and graduated with a master's degree in music at 18.

NZTrio, one of New Zealand's most outstanding chamber ensembles, will also show up for the festival. It will be their fifth tour of China.


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