Background - Story of development
Green Fire Islands has developed as a collaboration.
The Story of the Development: The Green Fire Islands concept first germinated twenty years ago, (in the early 90's) when the Creative Producer Bronwen Christianos was educating her children in New Zealand through the NZ Correspondence School system.
The School had been very pro-active in sending out audios of the work that Hirini Melbourne and Richard Nunns were doing together as part of the renaissance of Maori Traditional music, specifically the revival of the wonderful taonga puoro, singing treasures.
At the same time Bronwen was also listening to Irish traditional music that was likewise experiencing a renaissance.
Bronwen heard that these two externally different forms of music had a similar inner essence and resonance.
The explanations of why and how this could be, is open to a multitude of interpretations, all relevant. The idea of putting them together in a musical conversation was thus conceived.
Some years later in 1997 Bronwen was staying with Donal Lunny in Dublin, and got to tell him about the revival of taonga puoro. He was very interested and appreciated that there were common parallels in the history of both the Irish and of Maori. They agreed to try to get this crazy idea happening, one day.
Many more years passed until in 2005 they began to meet to discuss the How. This entailed journeys for both across the world. Bronwen realised that what was beginning to grow was going to be making history, so she contacted Alun Bollinger to ask if he would be interested in filming the journey. He was attracted by the concept as well as the fact that it was a collaboration, and accepted the invitation.
The next person Bronwen contacted was Glenn Colquhoun a New Zealand poet, impressed by his volume of poems, The Art of Standing Upright. Glenn was attracted by the concept to the extent of writing a series of 16 poems titled North:South. A number of these poems were used in the first production and performed by Glenn himself. (A separate collaboration happened with Glenn and the artist Nigel Brown, who illustrated North:South, and this was subsequently published by Steele Roberts.)
The 2008 tour proved that the concept worked. The DVD of the Raglan Dress Rehearsal captures this historic moment when everyone involved started saying to each other "It Worked!". The show went on to great acclaim at the NZ International Festival of the Arts, Womad and the Aotea Centre Auckland. Sustained standing ovations happened at every performance. At the Aotea Centre, several well known New Zealand musicians came on stage after the show to show that they supported the kaupapa (foundational principle) of Green Fire Islands.
These musicians were: Neil and Tim Finn, Hinewhei Mohi, Anika Moa, Anna Coddington and King Kapisi.
Since 2008, a business model has been developed which is designed to reflect the collaborative nature of Green Fire Islands.
The invitation to perform in London in the River of Music as part of the Cultural Olympiad in 2012 has been the catalyst for the development of the second production and launching onto the global stage.
This will be rehearsed at Annamakerrig in Ireland followed by a European Tour.