Any Blerta fans in the Auckland area?

16 years 2 months ago #880 by Ghilly
(I thought maybe I'd pass this on, short notice I know but there may be someone out there who'd get a kick out of this, wouldn't mind going myself)

Come Dance Around the World

A celebration of the Blerta Years

Titirangi Going West Writers Festival
Sunday September 16

Titirangi War Memorial Hall
South Titirangi Road
from about 5.00 onwards

Featuring interviews and anecdotes from: Award winning singer/songwriter Corben Simpson, original bass player Tony Littlejohn, vocalist Beaver, lyricist, philosopher and writer Bill Gruar with special guests.

Interviewer and MC: Keith Newman, producer of the award winning Radio New Zealand National music documentary, The Blerta Years.
Followed by Blerta live on stage for an evening concert.

Fee $15 per person

Blerta blurb:

Come Dance Around the World

A celebration of the Blerta Years
by Keith Newman

In the summer of 1971-72 the nation was plastered with brightly coloured posters announcing 'Blerta is coming'; who or what Blerta was remained unclear until an antique bus covered in psychedelic imagery and an entourage of up to 50 minstrels and multimedia pioneers trundled into town.

The madcap merging of rock and jazz musicians, actors, script writers,
film makers, inventors, lighting technicians and cultural revolutionaries had a major impact in reshaping the New Zealand film and television and music industries.
Bruno Lawrence's Electric Revelation and Traveling Apparition (Blerta) was the brainchild of actor and drummer Bruno Lawrence who was fed up with the formulaic music industry and eager to experiment with new sounds and ideas.

He'd just finished a stint with Quincy Conserve and was playing with rock unit Littlejohn, with bass player Tony Littlejohn and singer and rhythm guitarist Corben Simpson when a series of events made the next step inevitable.

The unit rapidly grew from a hot trio into a supergroup as it merged with Sons and Lovers players Kemp Tuirirangi and Alan Moon to complete Corben Simpson's first solo album and deliver the Littlejohn collaboration which sowed the seeds for an even bigger unit.

It seemed only logical to add the members of the Acme Sausage Company,
comprising a jazz band and multimedia film unit that Bruno and Geoff
Murphy had put together in their school years. With teenager Beaver on board for her first experience fronting a band, and a growing group of actors joining the cast, a plan was hatched to take this organised chaos to the nation.

With top actors Tony Barry, Martin Sanderson, Bill Stalker, Ian Watkin and others on board along with a film crew capturing skits and dramas and constantly dreaming up new ideas the shows became a multimedia extravaganza.
Special effects and props were created and talent fostered that became
part of many of the movies that marked the formative years in New Zealand film making including Wildman, Goodbye Pork Pie, Smash Palace, Utu and Quiet Earth.

Blerta's first South Island tour taught Bruno Lawrence, Geoff Murphy and their hippy troupe much about living off the bones of their arts. They needed to make enough money at each town to cover their petrol and food to get to the next. Their first challenge however was to win the trust of the locals who were often fearful at the sight of the big red bus and its colourful entourage of up to 50 minstrels and multimedia pioneers spilling out into their communities.

There was chaos in Christchurch when their 'concerto for rock band and
motorcycle' was joined by a real bike gang who rode around the dance hall viewing footage of themselves screened on the wall. In Queenstown, the creation of a 30-foot dragon and the birth of Kiwi anthem Dance All Around the World based on a Margaret Mahey children's story added a new dimension.

As the Blerta phenomenon became well established in the nation's psyche the line up changed, new scripts were written but the madcap performances continued to enthrall and confuse audiences. Pyrotechnics, keystone cop antics, revolutionary rantings and great songs were always part of the show.

After a memorable performance at the Ngaruawahia Music Festival, they
headed to Australia where their dramatic performances often drew huge crowds. The unit played the university circuit and teamed up with top jazz musicians to record a controversial album with Renee Geyer. The album was rapidly withdrawn from the market after legal issues and re-recorded with Beaver back in New Zealand.

Back in New Zealand for a final tour, and with many of the old crew back on board, Blerta hijacked the Avalon TV studios for a chaotic six part television series; Wildman the movie was made and the musical, acting and film making careers of many of its founding members went mainstream.

Blerta in its short four year lifespan toured on both sides of the Tasman, and released a dozen singles, three albums and two movies.

The Blerta celebration as part of the Going West Writer's Festival brings together key members from the Blerta line ups to share their memories of those wild, pioneering days. This event takes its lead from the success of The Blerta Years, a four-part music documentary which aired several times on Radio New Zealand National. The programme won its producer, writer and presenter Keith Newman 'best produced musical feature at the 2007 New Zealand Radio Awards.

Newman, a Titirangi-based freelance writer will take the interviewers
chair to coax out some of the best stories from the Blerta experience for the Writer's Festival audience. He'll be talking to double APRA Award winner Corben Simpson, recording artist Beaver; former bass player Tony Littlejohn, Blerta philosopher and writer Bill Gruer, guitarist Kemp Tuirirangi and urging other Blerta-ites who might turn up to chip in with their memories.

Following that informal chat the Blerta crew have agreed to perform their first live public set together since those heady post-hippy days.

From the desk of
Keith Newman

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16 years 2 months ago #51997 by Prim
Showing my ignorance, but is this *the* Come Dance All Around The World song? Because if it is, then this show wld have been great!!!

Did anyone go?

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16 years 2 months ago #52005 by Dream Weaver
I remember the song well, showing my age now lol

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16 years 2 months ago #52015 by Ghilly
Yes. Great song!!!!
I would have liked to go but the $$'s getting there and back would have chasm'd my budget.
Love Beaver Storm, she used to sing at Ronnie Scotts in London, not sure if she still does.

For all the mind enhancers used when writing songs back then, they sure turned out some good ones, dare I say better than some of the ones written while the writers mind was on this planet.
I'm not saying I knew what state of mind was in residence when this song (or any other) was written of course but there were some good ones.


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