Ethnomusicology and the Māori
The recordings that form the basis of “The Song” are part of a Catalogue of Māori Purposes Fund Board recordings by W.T. Ngata 1953-58. The project uses archival recordings, transcripts and translations to re-position the songs’ academic and cultural isolation. “The Song” is a performance of poetic retrieval, a moment in time capturing the lives, voices and bodies of tribal artists living in 1950 -70’s New Zealand. The performance explores the ethnographer and cultural informant as an eloquent paradox and my intention to use esoteric language and poetry to occupy an ethnographic space is my attempt to understand the cultural dynamics experienced during the recording sessions. The objective of “The Song” is ceremonial transformation of the space and the contextual return of the songs to their spiritual and cosmological origins.