In his solo presentation of traditional instruments (taonga puoro), Richard Nunns introduces his audience to the ancient sound world of the Maori of Aotearoa New Zealand. For each presentation he chooses from among fifty different instruments - mainly percussion or flutes and trumpets. Made from materials such as wood, bone, stone and shell, many of the instruments are carved in exquisite detail. The voices of the traditional instruments had rarely been heard since the early nineteenth century.
Nunns's musicality and facility in playing the instruments are underpinned by his extensive scholarship and research. In a report of a recent workshop, Tewe Eru (Tuwharetoa) said "It's sad that so much of this traditional knowledge has been lost to us, so I'm here to learn. Richard is an encyclopaedia and I can't get enough of it!"
This presentation is interwoven with stories about the instruments and their functions within the rituals and ceremonies of a traditional community.
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Gresham College professors and guest speakers have been giving free public lectures in central London since 1597. This tradition continues today and you can attend any of our lectures, or watch or listen to them on our website.
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