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Voices from the ocean

A theatrical experience with a story and a visual backdrop created from underwater and on-water footage is about to be presented by Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir with Taonga Moana, a performance that takes choral music to another atmosphere.

The singers follow the flight of the kuaka, the godwits, and ancient Maori navigator Ui-Te-Rangiora from the freezing Arctic, to the rough Atlantic, the burning Indian Ocean, via the Pacific to the sanctuary of Antarctica.

Taonga Moana is stage directed by theatre and opera director Sara Brodie, and includes ocean footage visuals and the ensemble’s live sounds are fused with projected imagery.

In the early stages of the project Voices NZ met with ocean experts and ocean campaigners to learn more about the main issues our oceans face.

Temperature change has an impact on the food chain and fishing and what we eat, and reduces biodiversity.

Pollution and plastics wash into rivers then oceans enter the food chain and end up on our plates.

What happens in the Atlantic is connected to what happens in the Southern Ocean which has an impact on the Indian Ocean and the Pacific. This music explores the interconnection of all oceans.

To show that interconnection artistic director Karen Grylls researched music from around the globe.

Finnish composer Jaakko Mäntyjärvi wrote a piece about the Arctic Ocean for the production. For his work The Seafarer he set it to a text in old English from the 10th century Exeter Book.

Warren Maxwell of psychedelic blues quartet Little Bushman, and Trinity Roots founding member, switched lanes to write his first choral composition Te Tai Uka a Pia (The Tides of Icy Shards), an emotional response to Antarctica.

The sounds of a Weddell seal Maxwell recorded when he dropped a GoPro into a scientist’s dive hole at Scott Base is included in the production.

Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir performs Taonga Moana, Holy Trinity Church, Sunday October 20, 7pm.Tickets $10 to $25 from www.iticket.co.nz

FROM THE DEPTHS: A choral, musical and visual exploration of the beauty and importance of our oceans is about to be presented by Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir in Taonga Moana.