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Ben Kemp and Uminari - 'Polyn-Asian Fusion' New Zealand Tour 2007 beginning on 1 March

Dorothy - 23/02/07

2008 Tour

Mighty Mighty ­ WELLINGTON
with Good Laika
Thursday 13 March 2008

Ben Kemp and Uminari Ben Kemp and Uminari Ben Kemp and Uminari
Ben Kemp and Uminari

He has coined the term Polyn-asian for his work which is inspired by Polynesian and Asian influences.

Manu Taylor, in discussing Ben Kemp's work on National Radio, New Zealand, said:
"With Maori roots on his maternal side, and an upbringing in Gisborne, Ben Kemp explores his Maori – NZ heritage as well as his nexus with the ocean, and fuses it with universal themes of family, love and loss, some drawn from experiences in Japan.

"Having spent over five years living in Japan absorbing both traditional and contemporary culture, particularly through Japanese film and literature, Ben Kemp draws on his cultural surrounds to deliver a sound that is original yet familiar at the same time – especially given his thoroughly distinctive accent.

"The result is a breathtaking blend of tunes that will soothe and haunt you, thanks to Ben’s ethereal voice and poetic lyrics."

Ben Kemp describes the power of music in overcoming what might otherwise be barriers of language:
"Even without a common language, the music we create together is a bridge to a deeper understanding of each other, and our respective cultural traditions. In my band members, I feel that I’ve found two more brothers."

In Japan Ben had no musical contacts to assist him, so he played on the street in Shimo Kitazawa in Tokyo and began to perform with Koyu Suzuki. This talented duo quickly gained popularity and have played in some of Tokyo's most prestigious venues.

In 2005 and 2006 Ben Kemp with Koyu Suzuki and Mitsuru Ogata toured New Zealand twice. The release in Japan in May 2006 of Papatu Road was followed by a national tour of Japan.

A Documentary, "A Maori Musician Touring Japan", to be filmed by award-winning NZ filmmaker Ed Davis, will follow the daily life of the band on the road, and include in-depth interviews, day-to-day interactions within the band and with local people around Japan. A primary focus will be on the unique experience of being "a Maori musician touring Japan", the documentary will also capture the beauty and idiosyncrasies of Japanese people, and their traditional and popular culture, food and lifestyles.

The documentary will be shown on selected television stations in New Zealand, Australia, UK and Japan. It will also be released on DVD in early 2007 (with the live album), which will precede Ben Kemp’s 2007 tour of New Zealand and Australia.

Promotional material for the tour describes the musical experience like this:
Ben Kemp & Uminari have made resounding waves in the Japanese music scene as they transcend cultural boundaries, drawing upon Kemp's mixed Maori / German-New Zealand heritage with the worldly dynamics of Uminari, inspired by traditional and modern sounds across the Pacific Rim. The live performance promises to be a mesmerising escapade through soundscapes, splicing soulful and thought-provoking acoustic poetry, infused with Japanese percussive and experimental wizardry.

Ben Kemp the poet

Ben Kemp was invited to read on Montana National Poetry Day along with five others at Auckland Central Library in 2002. He has been invited to read again in 2007 as one of two emerging poets.

As an introduction to his poetry I recommend that you read THE F. A. KRULL LETTERS (a contemporary transcription).(Dedicated to my father and Whakapapa). Schreitend in den Fussspuren anderer

As the poet looks back over the years expressive images rich in visual impact and evocative sound recreate the atmosphere of the changing scenes.

Itinerary for Ben Kemp and Uminari - including the provincial centres

Wellington ­ March 1, 9.30pm
Happy, 118 Tory St
Tel (04) 384 1965 www.myspace.com/happybar
$10

Napier ­ March 2, 8pm
(w/ Jakob)
Latitude Live, Tennyson St
Tel (06) 835 7564 www.myspace.com/catalystpromotionz
$10

Taupo ­ March 3 & 4, 6pm
(w/ Tama Waipara)
The Bach, 2 Pataka Rd
Tel (07) 378 7856 www.thebach.co.nz
$10

Auckland ­ March 8, 8pm
(w/ Pacific poets & painters)
St Kevin’s Arcade, Karangahape Rd
Free

Auckland ­ March 11, 6pm
(w/ Sayulee)
Craft, 551 Richmond Rd West Lynn
Tel 09 376 5595 www.craft.net.nz
$10

AK07: Auckland Festival ­ March 12, 7.30pm
AK07 Festival Club, Britomart
www.aucklandfestival.co.nz
$35

Rotorua ­ March 6, 8pm
(w/ Tama Waipara)
Rotorua Museum, Government Gardens
Tel (07) 349 4350 www.rotoruanz.com/rotorua_museum/home.asp
$10

Wellington ­ March 15, 9pm
(w/ The Moon Whispers)
The Mighty Mighty Level 1,104 Cuba St

Picton ­ March 16, 8pm
Le Café, London Quay
(03) 573 5588 www.lecafepicton.co.nz
$5

Nelson ­ March 17, 8pm
Yaza Café, Montgomery Sq
Tel (03) 548 2849
$10

Takaka ­ March 20, 8pm
The Mussel Inn, Onekaka Rd2
Tel (03) 525 9241 www.musselinn.co.nz
$5

Oamaru ­ March 22, 8pm
The Penguin Club, Historic Precinct
Tel (03) 434 1402 www.thepenguinclub.co.nz
$10

Dunedin ­ March 23, 8pm
(w/ Hannah Curwood/ Tomahawks)
Arc Café, 135 High St
Tel (03) 474 1135 arc.org.nz
$10

Christchurch ­ March 24, 8pm
Harbourlight, 24 London Street, Lyttelton
Tel (03) 328 8615 www.harbourlight.co.nz
$10

Editor's comment
Please share with other readers your views on this unusual group's music and on Ben Kemp's poem.
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