Whale Rider

I’ve seen this film three times in the last month – first time on the flight home from LA, then twice this week on video. It’s brilliant. truly truly marvellous.

The basic story is of a girl who when conceived had a twin brother, who died in childbirth, along with her mother. He was the first born male of the next generation within their mauri community, and it was hoped that he would be a leader. The patriarch of the tribe can’t deal with the fact that it was the girl that survived to continue the family line, that stretches back to Paikia – their ancestor who arrived in New Zealand on a Whale. The film follows the struggle as the grandfather looks for a suitable heir amongst the other first born sons in the village, and Pai wrestles with her emmerging destiny. The film is most powerful for all that it doesn’t tell you – the relationships are multi-dimensional, the characters are unfolded in glimpses, looks and body language, not spoon fed in unrealistic dialogue. The acting is amazing, and the story of old vs. new, heritage vs. modernisation and the struggle for authentic spirituality in the face of an increasingly fragmented world is inspiring and bears repeated viewing.

If you haven’t seen it yet, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

What else has been going on? the usual mix of teaching, gig promo, practicing etc… Got a last minute gig booked in Italy on the 11th March (which reminds me, must remember to move Aidan’s lesson…), got a gig in Petersfield, Hampshire tomorrow, and aparently advance ticket sales are going really well… Was recording yesterday with BJ Cole, pedal steel genius and all-round marvellous bloke. We got another couple of really interesting duet pieces in the can, and it was yet another chance to explore what the new bass is capable of.

And last night I went to hear Tom and Christine Sine speak – I’ve been reading Tom’s books for years, and it’s always good to hear him speak. He’s a futures analyst, which means he looks at trends and extrapolates what’s likely to happen. Most of his work is with church organisations looking at ways to meet the needs of their communities over the coming years. Always good to take time out to reappraise what’s important, and look at how our priorities have got mixed up… it’s all too easy to get sucked into ‘the rat race’ and value profit of people, and pursuing some sort of status or economic goal over and above any sense of what’s ‘right’. Globalised culture excerts such an enourmous pressure, that it requires a strong proactive stance to choose to do something other than earn and consume in pursuit of a higher place on the ladder, but it’s possible, and hearing Tom and Christine speak is always a good chance to reassess.

soundtrack – the duets with BJ Cole have been on repeat here since yesterday, but in between I’m still really really enjoying the new Jonatha Brooke CD, ‘Back In The Circus’.

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