synchronised gardening…


Share this :   | | | | |
synchronised gardening…

Spin that wheel… a garden chart!

‘There is a season and a time for every purpose under the heaven’. Ecc Chpt 3

What causes the tides of the sea? How does the surface of the waves keep a rhythm? How do the seasons change?

 

Ancient traditions fully embraced the Earth as a living being. The rising and setting of the sun, the phases of the moon, the recurrent sweep of the seasons was revered as ‘a sacred drama in which all nature took part’.

 

A musical symphony.

 

When observed deeply, life expresses infinite revelations.

 

A belief in moon planting or farming by the phases of the moon is an ancient system of agriculture in many cultures. Alluded to by centuries-old folklore, it was early Greek and Roman writers who recorded the patterns of the moon.

 

By following these patterns month to month as a planting guide, synchronistically transpired into your very own abundant, thriving garden space.

 

Norfolk Island has a sub-tropical climate, isolated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. New Zealand lies 1,460 km to the southeast. We are subject to frequent weather changes. Our island elders stringently kept journals, documented rainfall measures, observed the successes and failures of planting and harvesting.

 

We live on the island with constant ‘moon’ citations ~

Hi gutta moon?  Is a question asked if someone is in a volatile moody state of mind.

Sullen el mard orna full moon. Is a statement that some people do crazy things on a full moon.

Kar sleep orna full moon. A reference to not being able to sleep, because it is a full moon.

Elders would look up to remark upon a ‘wet moon’. It was a sign to put plants out as rain is on its way. The ‘wet moon’ theorised that as the moon rose in the sky, if it was viewed as having the slightest tilt from its concave shape – ie where it could not not water within, was a ‘wet moon’.

If the full moon coincided with a low tide – it was a favoured time ‘fe goe rumma’! A good time to partake in the collection of periwinkles (hihi’s) from our rocky shorelines at night time.

 

There is wisdom in observation – of nature, of cycles, of the seasons, of the moon.

Read more… February 2017: Issue 4

The sound of their singing…


Share this :   | | | | |
The sound of their singing…

(was) ‘so discordant and jarring …that the sounds grating upon his ears nearly compelled him to take his hat and leave the house.’ – Hugh Carleton – Pitcairn Island 1850.

 

Historical chronicles attribute credit to one man, Mr Hugh Carleton… who ‘taught the Pitcairn Islanders to sing’.

 

Why did Hugh Carleton need to ‘teach’ the Pitcairn Islanders to sing?

 

Upon hearing their style of singing for the first time, Carleton denigrated their collective sound as being ‘so discordant and jarring’ to his western ears. Furthermore, he voiced a reluctance to teach the Pitcairners to sing ‘properly’ as he doubted any success within his short visit on the island. Reluctantly, and armed with a tuning fork, he ‘finally yielded’ ~

 

Mr. Carleton, who was highly gifted with musical talent, mentioned to John Buffett the matter of trying to improve the singing of the people. In reply he was requested to undertake the task. This he at first declined, saying that he would not have the time he should require to produce anything like a satisfactory result, and so would rather not attempt it. However, as no opportunity came within the week for him to leave the island, he finally yielded to Buffett’s earnest and oft-repeated requests, and consented to make a beginning.

 

Carleton’s personal description as being ‘highly gifted with musical talent’ conflicts with his published qualifications as a ‘trader, newspaper editor, politician, educationalist, writer’. Having studied law in London, classical art in Italy, he then migrated to New Zealand. It was here that he ‘immersed himself in the politics of the new colony.’ Furthermore, he was reported to have a harsh self-righteous attitude, particularly toward the Maori;

‘Carleton had strong views on the issue of race relations. His attitude to Maori was essentially paternalistic – he maintained that they must submit to a superior civilisation.’

 

How do you define the musical proficiency of being able to play by ear?

 

Does this apply to ‘singing by ear’?

 

The adults of the era from which Carleton was accidentally marooned on Pitcairn Island were the progeny of Tahitian mothers and British fathers.

The pleasing results produced by harmony of sounds served to awaken in the hearts of the learners such eagerness and anxiety to do their best as to greatly encourage their teacher in his efforts. With the determination to succeed, it was not very surprising that in the short space of one week they accomplished a result beyond their highest hopes, and when Mr. Carleton took his departure the second week after, it was in full confidence that the important work which had so well begun, would not be left to stagnate.

 

Singing together, in small isolated communities, is a favourite pastime. It is a joy to harmonise ‘by ear’ your own individual voice – with the other singing voices surrounding you; both male and female, young and old. To sing, just because you want to ~

 

This love of singing together, particularly in bygone eras, was independent of the need for a stage or a microphone. There were no requirements for a ‘red carpet’, no theatrics. Just a pure love of singing together.

 

Interesting that the Pitcairners in Carleton’s singing class achieved high level of proficiency from his instruction, within a couple of weeks! How could that be?

 

Read more… February 2017: Issue 4

Our sound heritage


Share this :   | | | | |
Our sound heritage
This is your Norfolk Island birthright.
It is a legacy. A custom. A history. A tradition.

Eight letters… ‘heritage’.. envelops an amplitude of interpretations. You may chose your own understanding based upon the context given.. .It’s almost as intriguing as the word ‘culture’!

 

A sound artist’s role in sound heritage storytelling aims to evoke and inspire an audience whilst subtly offering a deeper layer of exploration and engagement within community values. The shared commitment to our Norfolk Island fragile living heritage is uncovered in treasured old audio recordings from 1948, pre-dating the walkman, the ipod, and the iphone. Never again to be re-recorded. Never again to be reconstructed.

 

Protected audio archives audios of a place and people preserves a cultural legacy. Perhaps its the spoken native language or choice of song repertroires. It is our responsibility to hold fast to the precious safeguarding of a time, of an era.

 

“Songs and music are one of the greatest expressions of a nation’s culture,” said singer and songwriter Paul Williams, President of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. “Preserving them through sound recordings, which capture the spirit of a time, is important work.”

Read more and listen to original recordings… November 2016: Issue 1

Norfolk Language


Share this :   | | | | |
Norfolk Language

Fieldworker, Elwyn Flint, an Australian linguist from the University of Queensland, conducted some of the first in-depth scientific investigation into the language of Norfolk Island and maintained an interest in the island for years afterward.

 

When Flint and his tape recorder appeared on Norfolk Island in 1957, his interlocutors already had some experience dealing with outside researchers. Word lists and glossaries like Pinney’s had appeared in print for most of the century. Anthropologist Harry Shapiro had measured and photographed their bodies and produced a glossary of some of their language during his visit in 1923. In fact, the islanders had already been tape recorded by at least one linguist. The American Polynesianist Donald Stanley Marshal visited briefly in 1951 to make his own cursory tape recordings.

 

Flint also found his fieldwork congenial. He wrote that he considered the Norfolk Islanders to be among the most pleasant and hospitable subjects he had ever recorded; they were, he said, “highly intelligent, linguistically conscious, and keenly interested in their own language.”

To listen to the original audio recordings… see December 2016: Issue 2

Twang! …and a little bit of country!


Share this :   | | | | |
Twang! …and a little bit of country!

Historical journals attempt to describe on paper the natural musical talents and melodious singing voices of the islanders.

 

Pre-war entertainment for island families involved visiting one another in the evening to enjoy an inpromptu sing-a-long to the accompaniment of the piano, organ, ukelele, guitar or mouth organ.

 

With an appreciation of all genres of music, but in particular throughout the 1930s country music stood at the forefront on the island.

 

The late Baker (Foxy) McCoy recalled:
In the 1930s – there were stacks of LP records on the island… everyone had those old spring-loaded wind-up players – with singers such as Wilf Carter, Tex Morton, Harry Torrani (British yodeller) and Hank Snow. …. During the war – and after – we would get together with guitars, ukuleles, squeezeboxes and have sing-songs at people’s houses. Or if there was a radio program featuring Tex Morton, or someone else we all really liked, we would listen and sing afterwards. Radio 2KY (from Sydney) was popular – we’d have the old radios with big valves and aerials stretching up to the top of the pine trees, right up high, to get a good reception.

(1999 interview – Bounty Chords)

 

The Norfolk Island Country Music Festival would not have built such a successful achievement throughout the years without the support of the Norfolk Island community. Hours upon hours of planning and organisation up to the actual hosting of the Country Music week in May of each year, is acreddited to the committee and numerous volunteers.

 

The 24th Country Music Festival is being held 15-22 May 2017 and you are most welcome to plan ahead, book your air tickets and get in touch with NICMA for an updated program of events and any questions or further enquiries. The festival provides a musically, enriching opportunity to visit our island, particularly if you are an avid ‘live entertainment’ music-lover and you enjoy ‘a little bit of country’!

 

Read more… December 2016: Issue 2

Our nourishing traditions…


Share this :   | | | | |
Our nourishing traditions…
Grow, pick, cut, grate, stir, blend, mash…

 

Where is your concentration when you cook? Are you thinking about emails to do, or tasks to finish at work…. Are you aware of your hand actually stirring the ingredients? Or do you throw it all into a whizzer because you haven’t much time today …?

 

Are you in a hurry? Or are you breathing slowly and enjoying the manifold sensations of smell, touch and the occasional ‘dip your finger in’ taste-test ?

 

Can you taste the love in it?

 

Is that at all possible?

 

I believe it does make a difference ~ being aware of your body movements and mindset as you creatively prepare and cook a meal for your loved ones. And yet I can’t explain it properly in words, because for some reason it is all in the final taste sensation.

 

Many Island elders insist that the plun (banana) fritters taste ‘oh, so much better’ when prepared with a traditional yolor (grater). How can that be? That the taste is ‘sweeter’ when you’re using the same single ingredient (such as the banana) without knowing whether or not it has been prepared with a yolor or a stainless steel tin grater? Certainly, it takes longer with the yolor so it’s not a time-saving exercise… Preparation is slowed, the use of an ‘old object’ visually reminds you of days past, the feel is different… and ‘somehow’ this correlates to a better tasting dish?

 

Community and family celebrations on the island such as birthdays, Christmas or Thanksgiving is a mixed-age-fusion around a culinary hub… preferably dining outdoors (it tastes better here too!).

Read more… December 2016: Issue 2

Horses &… a golf course


Share this :   | | | | |
Horses  &… a golf course

‘They are not like any other kind of horse that the world has ever seen…’
( A B ‘Banjo” Paterson – 1902)

 

It is impossible to imagine a horse.  So how can we imagine the reactions of 104 children under the age of 16, seeing, for the very first time, a collection of four-legged creatures on rugged hillsides? Even with a vividly creative, fertile imagination, it would be impossible to imagine something you had never seen before…

 

In 1856 a community of 194  arrived at Norfolk Island, a tiny isolated isle, after a sea passage of 6,000kms westward across the Pacific Ocean. They inherited upon landing, everything that had been recently left by the vacated convict penal settlement, including these four-legged creatures!

 

Having no experience with ‘the horse’, it was with a common attitude of perseverence, resourcefulness and practicality that ensured our community’s survival in their new homeland. The horse soon became integral in support of crops being ploughed, wagons, stock and produce carried as well as ease of personal travel island-wide!

Read more… December 2016: Issue 2

‘the sound of home’


Share this :   | | | | |
‘the sound of home’

Acoustic Ecology on Norfolk Island

 

…the  music of birdsong, the echo of calls, the power of the ocean, the nourishing cleansing sound of raindrops on a tin roof, resounding waves lapping, the totality of the forest atmosphere…

 

Listen … and listen again…

 

Let the sound carry you – stimulate childhood memories and senses. You can almost smell the ocean, and feel like huddling beneath a blanket ‘to hide’ from the sound of the rain pelting outside against the window…

 

Feel nurtured, feel loved, feel safe… all by closing your eyes and just listening.

Read more… January 2017 Issue 3

Stand on a Rock & Fish….


Share this :   | | | | |
Stand on a Rock & Fish….

In the ocean surrounds of Norfolk Island, our sealife is plentiful.   An assortment of fish are caught both from the rocks and from boats; nanwee, trumpeter, ophey, groper, kingfish, stiddy, tough cord, parrot fish, artooti, tweed trousers, yaholley and more…

 

Traditional fishing rods were made from a piece of bamboo, cut to your individual size… ie. the rods grew in length as you grew in age and height! It is common practice to only take what you need when fishing ~ to share with the elders who are unable to participate on the rocky foreshores anymore. The sighs of wonder and delight when you home deliver to them, a freshly caught ophey or kingfish, is worth the fishing trip in itself.

Read more… January 2017 Issue 3

Where is Polynesia?


Share this :   | | | | |
Where is Polynesia?

And how were the “many islands” settled?

Migration as ‘an elaborate, usually slow-moving waltz involving two partners – the atmosphere and the ocean’. (maritime historian Brian Fagan)

 

Exploration is wonder… A wonder we have all experienced…from childhood. The primeval urge to crawl, to walk, to run. The wish to physically move and explore within your surrounds.

 

Some of us have more confidence than others…

 

Little by little our boundaries expand and grow wider… to what limit? Is there a limit?

 

Traditionally, those with more confidence and courage in exploratory ‘wonder’ morphed from growing childhood into ‘ancient mariners’ who sort to migrate… to explore… to discover.

 

As a fellow human, can you contemplate what it would take to physically leave a known place, without the known certainty of being able to return, whenever you wished? Thrill seekers today find expression in extreme sports. A most radical comparative is possibly the 5 second bungee jump contemplated as a holiday activity, to step out of the ‘ordinary’, to courageously (or stupidly) trust the rope? But how does this compare with the inner strength, trust, courage and faith of our ancient ancestors as they set upon their imminent navigational feats of the age?

 

We are all too-familiar with our GPS navigation, our mobile phone satellite maps and our facebook connections. Often it’s hard to imagine life without these gadgets as they automatically gift to us instant location and connection. There is no consideration of seasonal winds, celestial movements, knowledge of climatological events nor the wisdom of elders standing beside you.

 

So to begin… which way will we go?

 

Historical migration records highlight the relative lack of travel expeditions in a northerly or southerly direction. These directions risked exposure to extreme increases or decreases in temperature. To travel east or west was a much more ‘popular’ choice in traditional migrational routes of ocean or foot navigators. Ecological wisdom was obvious ~ follow the sun and you will stay warm.

“How shall we account for this Nation spreading itself so far over this Vast ocean?” is the question Cook asks in his journal (l778)…

Read more… January 2017 Issue 3