Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Matua RIP

Very sad news from Aotearoa (a.k.a. New Zealand) this week. Alan got in touch to say that our good friend and brother in music, Matua, had just died of a heart attack. I met Matua on the 2006 Treewalk along the Motueka Valley and was lucky enough to have had a chance to talk to him at some length about Maori culture, and his journey from gangster criminality in the ghettoes of Wellington to a peaceful Rastafarian life as a father and musician. We also played a LOT of music, some of which I managed to record.

Our Czech friend Tomaash has put together a little tribute video:

I remember when Alan was living in SW Ireland, getting his head around the fact that he was (not entirely of his own choosing) going to be moving to the other side of the planet for the foreseeable future. Knowing very little about the place, he still had some kind of vision in his mind. If things got tough, "I'll go up into the hills and jam with the Maoris", he told me. I wasn't sure how plausible this was, but little did we know that there are few cultures on Earth wherein a rootical reggae busker like himself would receive such a warm acceptance. Maoris, he soon discovered, love reggae music, and strongly related to Bob Marley in the 1970's as a voice of native people striving for liberation from European colonialism (he received a full ceremonial welcome when he visited the country). Within months of settling at the top of the South Island, Alan was playing music regularly with Matua and friends — busking, gigging, festivals, Waitangi Day (which is also Marley's birthday) celebrations, playing for free in old-people's homes, centres for the "differently abled", etc... something which continued right up until this tragic event.

When I was there in 2006, Matua's several children were all singing and/or playing instruments. His oldest son (who must now be well into his teenage years) was showing great promise on the guitar. I don't doubt that they will continue his good works.

RIP brother Matua...

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Click on the following link or copy it into your favoured media player:

Matua 2006 playlist

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[a few days later] I had a bit of time with nothing in particular to do, so I downloaded some images from the recent events in the Arab world (and some other places) and put this together. The peaceful uprising in Egypt would have been starting around the time Matua left his body, so this seems like a fitting tribute:


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