The Maori traditional music ensemble opened the Conservatory’s first research lab meeting by teaching researchers a traditional Maori percussion exercise. Invited to frame the lab meeting and participate as interlocutors, they oriented us to the mountains and rivers from which we each come, performed songs emerging from the waters of their homeland, and then taught us to come into rhythm with each other. Our research presentations, all focused on forms of listening to the Virginia coast, were thus framed by listening to Aotearoa’s coast. WAI ended the seminar by giving feedback to researchers, collectively charging us with the seriousness of our undertaking, and then closing the research space with a song honoring coastal waters. Here again, in a different way, experiences of listening are at once condition for ethics and itself an ethical relation. Listening with WAI connects our efforts to imagine coastal futures for the Eastern Shore of Virginia to the futures of other shores, to recognize how Virginia’s coastal future is linked with Aotearoa’s.

Technosonics Festival, Charlottesville, Virginia

September 23, 2018

Wai features Mina Ripia, Maaka Phat, Uta Te Whanga, and Tuari Dawson
EcoSono Ensemble features Matthew Burtner, Glen Whitehead, Kevin Davis, Christopher Luna-Mega, and I-Jen Fang

Wai and EcoSono explore intercultural histories through the exchange of musical invention in collaboration with the environment. Combining the ancient “Punga” (anchor) and the “Poi” technologies with contemporary computer music and ecoacoustic approaches, Wai and EcoSono engage in interactive improvisations through sound, song, movement and ecology.

About Wai

Wai and EcoSono Ensemble: Maori roots electronica meets ecoacoustic earth music

“Ehara, taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa, takitini” – My strength is not of an
individual, but that of the collective.

For the past two decades, WAI has been an innovative music-based cultural voice deconstructing stereotypes of Maori culture and reclaiming the past while defining the future anew. WAI are proud ambassadors for a cultural renaissance that is taking place across the Pacific, from the explosion in the Hawaiian recording industry to the Land of The Long White Cloud, better known as Aotearoa / New Zealand. Spending several years in London the group’s debut album Wai100% charmed critics at both ends of the earth and plenty of places in between with two nominations for the BBC World Music Awards and some intensive touring since, with dazzling performances around Europe and North America.

About EcoSono

“…Jimmy Hendrix meets National Geographic”

The EcoSono Ensemble, led by composer/eco-acoustician Matthew Burtner and trumpeter/sound artist Glen Whitehead, creates interactive earth music with a collective of diverse musicians, artists, scientists and activists from around the globe. As a branch of the EcoSono Institute, this ensemble employs improvisation and composition as a multidimensional activity, integrating ecoacoustics, technology, environmental exploration, cross-disciplinary collaborations, cultural exchange and environmental activism into artistic output and virtuosic instrumental and vocal performance. EcoSono pursues commonalities between interdisciplinary music creation and ecological awareness often blurring the lines between installation, field research and performance. The ensemble is equally at home performing in deep forests, wind-swept shores, urban landscapes, galleries and clubs, and in the finest concert halls across the globe. The EcoSono Ensemble has performed across the U.S., Canada, Korea, Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand and Mexico.

Sponsored by the Gassmann Fund for Innovation in Music, UVA’s coastal ecology Conservatory, and the Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa

The Conservatory