Thursday, June 19, 2008

Tane Mahuta :: The Ruby Suns

When I think about where I'd like to be in my life 10 years from now, a scenario that often comes to mind is living in New Zealand working as an acupuncturist. Anyone that knows me will attest to the fact that I have a million ideas of all the places I'll go and all the things I'll do. In a very concrete way, however, I'll be starting on the acupuncturist part of this Fall, when I begin studies in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Now, as for New Zealand, anything's possible! I've never been there, but it justseems cool. Wildly diverse climates and grow zones, centralized cities balanced by absolute desolation, a diet that consists of lots of pumpkins, and a generally quirky sort of reputation among the countries of the world. Perfect. I hear Auckland is pretty rad. And if The Ruby Suns are any reflection of Auckland and all the fun and excitement it has to offer, then get me my worker's visa and call me a Kiwi.

The Ruby Suns conjure up a lot of mental images for me. I picture living in the South Pacific, having a fire on a beach and dancing around it. It isn't intellectually challenging or too deep or anything, but it is carefree and breezy and fun. Great summer music. Like the novel that you read on the beach that has a juicy, sensational plotline but is surprisingly well-written. I've been listening to their tracks, and there isn't a tune I don't like, some are just downright catchy with world-music inspired rhythms. Others have an ambient sort of quality that is reminiscent of Panda Bear which is reminiscent of the Beach Boys. "Tane Mahuta" is a warm, noisy, fun track that has a great rhythm and a fun little trombone part, and I dig it - but use in moderation, because I think the overplay potential on this one is high.

But what does it mean? Thanks to Wikipedia, here a little background on 'tane mahuta': Tāne Mahuta is a giant kauri tree in the Waipoua Forest of Northland Region, New Zealand.

The tree's Māori name means "Lord of the Forest" (see Tāne), and is the name of a god in the Māori pantheon. Tāne Mahuta is the most massive kauri known to stand today. It is 51 metres (169 feet) in height, and has a circumference of 13.8 metres (45 feet). There is no proof of the tree's age, but it is estimated to be between 1250 and 2500 years old.

According to Māori mythology Tane is the son of Ranginui the sky father and Papatuanuku the earth mother. Tane was the child that tore his parent’s parental embrace and once done set about clothing his mother in the forest we have here today. All living creatures of the forest are regarded as Tane’s children.

Who knows how sincere they are in celebrating the Maori deity with this catchy, chart-bangin' song. The Ruby Suns' sound makes me think of the paintings of Paul Gaugin (Post-Impressionist French painter, 1848-1903). Gaugin's interest in the "primitive", the appropriation of various elements from the native South Pacific island cultures that surrounded him, the warm, muted blocks of color, imagery of island foliage.... Yeah, "Tane Mahuta" and Gaugin's paintings seem to have a lot in common. I know, I know, I probably sound like I'm trying to be lofty and intellectual, but I'm an art nerd and I can't shake this association! Truth be told, I detest his paintings - I don't like them from a formal point of view, and ethnographically, he pisses me off. I think the odd association with The Ruby Suns will be the only positive oneI EVER make with him. I dislike him almost as much as I dislike Renoir. Yeah, I said it. I really dislike Renoir.

What do I like? Fun summer music, that's what! And The Ruby Suns fit the bill. So, I am nominating them as Summer Solstice Band of the Year. So, sit outside, celebrate the upcoming official change of season, give thanks to the Māori Lord of the Forest, and listen to "Tane Mahuta". I'll be pretending I'm in New Zealand.


1 comment:

gitfiddler said...

Kimmy I love this!
And I love the image in your mind about dancing around a beach fire - feels powerful, like if you listen to the song on repeat enough, it'll come true. And At SOME point or other, I'll be dancing there with you!
Love you! (and I also hate his colors, though).