l to r: Nigel Pegrum, Will Kepa, Karl Neuenfeldt
A massive task...
How would you go about making recordings of most of the representative songs and dances from an area that spans some 48,000 square kilometers and comprises over 270 small islands? That's the task facing a trio of music specialists who are the core team of a huge music collection and production project throughout the Torres Strait Islands.
Between Tides explores the world of these three diverse people as they gather traditional songs, Christian music, lugger songs and contemporary recordings. Funded by the Torres Strait Regional Authority, this project is spearheaded by music producer Nigel Pegrum (former drummer for UK band Steeleye Span), academic and musician Dr Karl Neuenfeldt, and Torres Strait Islander Will Kepa, who is both an audio engineer/musician and a cultural intermediary.
Of the three, it is Will who interacts most directly with local Torres Strait island musicians, who see their songs augmented by slick arrangements that feature Will playing most of the other instrumental parts.
The music that's being collected falls into religious and secular categories, with the strongly Christian influenced Torres Strait Islanders performing hymns and Christian songs in traditional languages. The secular music also includes traditional songs, songs from the pearling industry and love songs, while the contemporary songs are often recorded with basic backing tracks on location and then enhanced by new instrumental tracks and mixed down in Cairns, so that songwriters and performers have a high quality recording of the song at the end of the process.
12 March 2011
Producer: Simon Luckhurst
Sound engineer: Philip Ulman