Dudley Benson Embarks On National Tour, Album Released Today
Golden Retriever Records is proud to announce today's release of Forest: Songs by Hirini Melbourne - the second album from composer and performer Dudley Benson.
The much-anticipated follow-up to his 2008 debut The Awakening, Forest is a full-length album of Benson's interpretations of bird waiata by renowned composer Hirini Melbourne (1949-2003). Recorded almost entirely with only the human voice, the album features guest performers including Richard Nunns, King Homeboy and Vashti Bunyan.
As ambitious as the album is, Benson has matched it in the upcoming Nov/Dec nationwide tour. Dudley Benson Live with The Dawn Chorus is a series of ten intimate a capella performances in marae and community halls across Aotearoa. Delivering material from the new album, Benson will be accompanied by his new all-vocal ensemble: a close-harmony quartet and beatboxer Hopey One, with maverick dance artist Cat Ruka opening each performance.
Nov 12 - Auckland - Te Māhurehure Marae, Pt Chevalier
Nov 14 - Kerikeri - Kingston House
Nov 19 - Nelson - Trafalgar St Hall
Nov 20 - Wellington - Pipitea Marae
Nov 24 - Dunedin - Māori Hill Coronation Hall
Nov 25 - Queenstown - St Peter's Church Hall
Nov 27 - Christchurch - Deaf Society Hall
Nov 28 - Akaroa - Gaiety Hall
Dec 4 - Waiheke Island - Palm Beach Hall
Dec 5 - Waitakere City - Hoani Waititi Marae
Hopey One AKA Hope Haami is a Brisbane-based beatboxer, officially ranked in the top four of female beatboxers worldwide. While stunning international crowds over the last six years, Dudley Benson Live with The Dawn Chorus is the Wellington-born beatboxer's first major set of performances in Aotearoa.
Cat Ruka is an independent dance artist whose breakthrough solo performances have garnered critical acclaim both here and overseas. Her 2009 Playing Savage won Best Short Work at the Tempo NZ Festival of Dance awards, with Ruka recently returning from several performances in New York. For Dudley Benson Live with The Dawn Chorus, Ruka will present a new work inspired by the bird waiata of Hirini Melbourne.
Tickets available exclusively from www.dudleybenson.com, any remaining sold on the door. All performances at 8pm, doors open at 7.30pm.
FOREST: SONGS BY HIRINI MELBOURNE
Produced over two years, the album project began when Benson arranged and performed a song from Melbourne's Forest & Ocean album on his 2008 national church tour. Soon after, he spent a month exploring the deep south, where he visited the bird sanctuary of Te Wharawhara/Ulva Island, off Stewart Island:
"It was the end of summer, and very beautiful. A tui or bellbird would follow you through this ancient forest, singing the most complex patterns... But I was also profoundly concerned," explains Benson. "There was a stark silence permeating everything. Where once there would've been an endless chorus, there was a distinct lack of birdsong, and by the end of the day I knew instinctively that it was my duty to sing Hirini's birdsongs and share them in a new context. I contacted his whānau, explained what I wanted to achieve, and that's how it began. Recording Forest as an all-vocal project was the obvious thing to do - it's a celebration of the voice and the singers of the forest."
Recorded and mixed by Adrian Hollay (The Awakening) and mastered by Mandy Parnell (Dirty Projectors, Sigur Rós), a bold contingent of artists was assembled to create Forest's unique sound. Specially formed close-harmony vocal quartet The Dawn Chorus provides the album's foundation, while reigning Aotearoa beatbox champion King Homeboy executes an inimitable rhythm section. Several other guests appear on the album. In Tūī, Benson has recorded his first duet - an ode to birdsong - with the legendary matriarch of contemporary folk, English singer Vashti Bunyan. Taonga pūoro authority Richard Nunns offers his expertise to pulsing lead single Ruru; while Franz Josef Glacier bird mimic Gerry Findlay lends his calls to the prayer-like opener Pīpī Manu E and ten-minute epic Kiwi. Continuing to explore his choral routes, a four-part choir features on several arrangements. And in his own unmistakable voice, binding it all together in both te reo Māori and English, is Dudley.