Friday, April 24, 2015

Out of the Fire and into the Light: sounds of trouble usher songs of joy

"Good has come from this day" ?

Has something terrible ever happened to you which afterward you realized made opportunity for good things in your life?

While we remember the great loss of our nation at Gallipoli 100 years ago this ANZAC Day, I'm reminded of my personal loss and the strange way in which they are linked.

Cool atmospheric shot of the help that came when our house got too hot.
This past year I’ve experienced a series of traumas including the loss of 7 years’ worth of images from my four blogs and then a house fire. For eight weeks I camping at a motel while my sooty house was repaired and its surviving contents cleaned.

My life as it was STOPPED. But it turns out that wasn’t such a bad thing. Despite the emotional distress of the upheaval caused by the fire and coping with essential functions of my life being spread around town, I had something of a holiday. Also, a couple of events occurred while I was there that I would not have been part of if I had been at home.

Sue’s ANZAC biscuits, beautifully wrapped and hand-delivered in a basket.

One was ANZAC Day. On 25th April 2014, I was living just a block from the cenotaph. I was able to get to both the Dawn Service and 9am Civic Parade on my own steam, and leave when I was ready. Which, armed with my camera, in the first instance wasn’t until well after everyone else had left. I had the sunrise all to myself.

Dannevirke Cenotaph at Sunrise, 25 April 2014
The fallout of this was a creative project I hope to share with you before much longer*, an ANZAC Day commemorative video featuring Dannevirke children, serving soldiers from Linton Army Camp, and the only remaining war veteran in our district who served in Korea.

*The commemorative video is unfinished because I need 3 things:
1) a video-buff to resolve a video editing issue for me;
2) a male with antipodean accent to record a 2-sentence voice-over;
3) a photographer who can provide two suitable ANZAC- or war-themed photo plates.
If you can help, or know someone who might be interested, please let me know!

Rear view of Alpha Company, 1RNZIR Linton, Dawn Parade, ANZAC Day 2014

But what’s an Anzac video without music? I took my voice recorder into the motel bathroom for an acapella song session, thankful there was almost no traffic that day, and no neighbours to make noises through the wall. The result was a series of melodies on the “freedom” theme, inspired by the beautiful singing of Maori women on an Anzac Day TV program featuring New Zealand tribal anthems. I aim to use one of these in the video.

Narelle’s temporary recording studio, bathroom of #12, Destinations Motel

 Out of what was meant for harm comes good!

"Oh, that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men."** "Every good and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."***

Fiat lux! May there be light in your life and in mine, always.

**Psalm 107
***James 1:17

Saturday, April 18, 2015

New Lyrics Revealed to Iconic New Zealand Love Song

It took a house fire, a dose of cenotaph memorial on ANZAC Day, and a dash of war history TV programming to bring me to the point of inspiration for this project. I’m still marvelling at what has come of it.

World War 1 commemorative play WOMEN OF COURAGE
by Narelle and Isabel Worboys

Within two days of being invited to take part in the World War I commemorative concert, I’d written “Women of Courage”, a playlet built around the hymn “Abide with Me”, and a week later, new lyrics for another old and very famous song which I used to open the scene.

What iconic New Zealand song was first sung in 1914? I asked this in the last Songuine post. Did you figure it out?

Think Maori love song.

Think Hayley Westenra and Russell Watson at the 2009 World Games opening ceremony in Taiwan.

Think Maisey Rika and the St Joseph’s Girls Choir.

Think Dame Kiri Te Kanawa in “Kiri’s Homecoming”.

You know it, don't you? The mesmerizingly beautiful melody of “Pokarekare Ana” has captivated audiences around the world, and now there are new English lyrics, faithful to the original themes of love and longing, fear and loss, pertinent then in 1914 and to us now in 2014.

Here it is.

MY BELOVED, HE HAS GONE AWAY (tune of “Pokarekare Ana”) 
All rights reserved to Narelle Worboys, copyright ©2014

My beloved, he has gone away,
Gone to fight a freedom war,
Enduring dangers night and day.
I fear he may return no more.

Evil tears the world apart.
Is there courage in my heart
To march on ‘til victory?
Oh God,
Bring him safe to me.

[Chorus repeat]
I want him here
Holding me near.
I love him, I love him so.
Help me let him go.

I regret that I'm unable to offer you better audio-visual quality, but here's a recording of the actual performance at the Town Hall, reportedly moving many people to tears (including me) and rated as the best piece of the night.

In whatever sphere or circumstance you are, "may God give you courage and strength to pursue truth and love and freedom. May He give you a daily portion to live every moment and fulfil every task with joy and grace, and faith to always carry on."*

Fiat lux.

*The Blessing from "Women of Courage".

Pokarekare Ana, New Zealand’s unofficial national anthem

'Pokarekare Ana' (Come Back to Me) is the beautiful love song of a homesick soldier serving in the Maori Battalion during World War I. Its heartfelt expression of longing for home and loved ones immediately touched his fellow countrymen, who adopted the haunting melody as their own. A century later, it is still a poignant musical touch-stone for any New Zealander, at home or abroad.

"Women of Courage" publicity and reviews

Here's what critics and audience say about "Women of Courage", the World War I commemorative playlet by Narelle Worboys, which debuted at the Dannevirke Town Hall in New Zealand on 3 August 2014.

From Facebook:

From "Dannevirke News" published in "Hawkes Bay Today" on Saturday, 9 August 2014.
Reviewed by Christine McKay, titled "War Concert Pays Tribute".

From "The Bush Telegraph", published on Monday, 11 August 2014.
Reviewed by Dave Murdoch, titled "Commemorative Concert Captivates.
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