Profound is a word that very much applies to Green Fire Islands, I believe! What are we doing? Pointing the way forward by accessing what is deep. Visiting the future by sourcing the past. These were threads of the conversation between Steve Cooney, myself and the inspired BBC presenter Samira Ahmed in our radio interview. Full interview 10 minutes in HERE.
Before the interview I noted down a few points for Steve and I to contemplate.
I guess what we have to attempt to do in this interview is throw out a few stepping stones of consciousness for people to look forward to experiencing the "magic" of Green Fire Islands. On one level its "just" a show. It has a limited life in time. It begins, it ends. However as we witnessed in New Zealand it has the power to make an impression that opens up a space in people's hearts.
"We are stopping time for just a moment. Not to tell anyone what to do….but to create a space for people to make a choice, to realise they have a choice".
The world is undergoing a huge paradigm shift. We are being compelled to look for ways to move from competition to co-operation. On a very real level a creative collaboration is a microcosm of a new way of operating. Not that it is without difficulties and misunderstandings, but when it begins to work, it is a quantum leap in creative energy… when 1 plus 1 no longer equals the obvious result but much more.
Green Fire Islands has developed as a collaboration, and there have been many voices contributing to it, and there will continue to be many voices adding to its life, enriching it.
When she visited New Zealand, Mary Mc Aleese said in her speeches that Green Fire Islands "was an extraordinarily important project setting out to build a musical bridge between two creative island cultures. By translating the ancient, and honouring the well of tradition out of which it comes Green Fire Islands would create music that is new and vital." Pretty good words!
The beautiful sounds of taonga puoro, the ancient Maori instruments that have been experiencing a renaissance, (as has Irish traditional music), are one of the many highlights of Green Fire Islands.
Some more thoughts, in the form of quotes: "There is a place beyond the mind where Life stores its raw ingredients. Music has a key to this storeroom and can give us a preview of things to come, things that have not yet been fully thought out. A creative spirit who has the courage to use this key can present us with songs or music that can transport us to Life’s storeroom."
"The great function of art is communication, since mutual understanding is a force to unite people. The spirit of communion is one of the most important aspects of creativity"
I like contemplating the innumerable polarities that Green Fire Islands embodies:
The list can be extrapolated!
There are also the contrasts of conflict working through to harmony… death through to rebirth.
Food for thought.
The first production of Green Fire Islands was in March 2008 in New Zealand. The cutting edge concept of bringing the two cultures of Ireland and New Zealand/Maori together, which had been previously untested, was an outstanding success. Every performance of Green Fire Islands received sustained standing ovations. All of the performers from both sides of the stage (Irish and NZ/Maori) are considered top performers within their respective countries.
Green Fire Islands was the main-stage opening act at Womad, and a favourite of critics at the New Zealand International Festival of the Arts playing at the Michael Fowler Centre. It also performed at the Aotea Centre on St Patrick’s Day, after which the Finn brothers, Hinewehi Mohi, Anika Moa, Anna Coddington and King Kapisi demonstrated their support for the philosophy behind Green Fire Islands by performing to a surprised and delighted audience.
Since 2008, work has gone into developing the structure to take Green Fire Islands onto the international touring stage. The planned film will be about the story behind Green Fire Islands, and will be edited from the considerable footage taken of the first tour by Alun Bollinger. This film will be completed after gathering footage of the performance in London. The essence of this film will be its ‘from grass roots to the world stage’ story, and the passion and considerable community interaction that made it happen.
Many observers have commented that Green Fire Islands has the potential to become one of the worlds most desired and loved stage shows. This has been a response to the first production that had the effect of drawing consistently strong emotional responses from its audiences.
Culturally speaking New Zealand is a synthesis of the cultures, (the values and attitudes) of the northern hemisphere and the southern hemisphere, specifically Polynesia. The best of New Zealand is the success of these two strongly contrasting cultural realities mutually influencing each other and bringing out the best in each other.
Green Fire Islands has been invited to perform at the River of Music, which is a major project of the Cultural Olympiad leading up to the Olympic games in London July 2012. This will be our entrée onto the International touring stage, and represents a huge opportunity in respect to global awareness. A tour small European tour has been planned around this prestigious invitation to perform at the London River of Music Olympiad.
Green Fire Islands is a creative spotlight, giving a glimpse into the deep undercurrents behind the collaboration of these contrasting cultures. The exciting invitation to perform in London in 2012 is due to the power of this collaboration, which culminates in a celebration of the common humanity shared by both.
Green Fire Islands represents not only a redefining of New Zealand for New Zealanders, but an inspiration for the world in this changing time.