Matariki Starlight Jazz

Last night I went to the Matariki Starlight Jazz concert at the Cathedral. Still great to live five minutes walk from such a nice venue.

Take a deep breath before reading this next sentence… The event turned out to be tacked onto the Matariki festivities (Māori new year) only as a matter of convenience and was actually a fundraiser for an event called Whānau Walk for Wellness that will be happening in late 2019 based on the organiser’s efforts to interpret and share her experiences walking the Compostela pilgrimage in a way that is relevant to other Māori women – but not just women because We Are Inclusive – who are themselves on a mental illness journey or joining members of their whānau (family/community) on a mental illness journey as caregivers or otherwise. Ok, you can breathe again.

Altogether seven or eight different singers and their rotating band members performed. Some only got a couple of numbers, while the headliner Whirimako Black did about a 45-minute set.

So was it a good show? As pure entertainment I’ve definitely seen better. However, my ticket bought well over three hours of music and earnestness, and cupcakes at intermission, so at the very least it was good value for money.

Further, my clarinet habit makes me a bit of a jazz student these days, and I think that might have been the best way to appreciate this show. There were some really good musical moments, I heard some songs I didn’t know, experienced some arrangements I would never have thought of, and learned a little bit about the whakapapa (genealogy/pedigree) of the people who keep the NZ jazz fires (ahikāroa) burning.

And my earnestness quotient increased substantially: I’m one big blog post closer to being one of those insufferable pākehā who stuffs a Te Reo Māori word or aphorism into every other sentence…