Hirini Melbourne & Richard Nunns

Richard Nunns


Richard Nunns is one of Aotearoa's most important musical ambassadors. Rattle is privileged to have had the opportunity to capture a handful of the extraordinary range of collaborations Richard has either instigated or enthusiastically participated in over years of seemingly endless performances and touring in countless countries. Born into brass bands, Richard sought refuge in jazz and improvised music. An interest in indigenous music came to focus on traditional Maori instruments (te taonga puoro), a collection of more than seventy pieces representing thirty-four distinct types. Despite the limitations and relative simplicity of his unique family of beautifully crafted instruments (many of which are the work of master-carver, Brian Flintoff), Richard consistently piques the interest of the world's most adventurous musicians, composers, performers, and artists.

Released in 1994 with his artistic partner Hirini Melbourne, Te Ku Te Whe is widely regarded as the definitive taonga puoro recording. Certainly, it has been the most influential, a groundbreaking call to arms, the echoes from which continue to reverberate strongly today. Hirini and Richard weren't to record again until December 2002 when they were joined by Aroha Yates-Smith for the critically acclaimed, Te Hekenga-ä-rangi (2003). The 'woven mat of sound' was unrolled again in 2006 with the release of Te Whaiao: Te Ku Te Whe Remixed. Through its layering of textures and live performances, Te Whaiao (which translates as 'daylight'), opens a new window onto the shared musical consciousness of Aotearoa.

Richard's musical and ethno-musicological passion keeps him fully engaged with cultures in all corners of the globe. As well as writing extensively about the instruments, he has performed and collaborated with a vast range of pop, classical, and jazz musicians, including Marilyn Crispell, Evan Parker, Mike Nock, The NZ String Quartet, Moana and the Moahunters, Deborah Wai Kapohe, Pitch Black, Alexa Still, The NZSO, and for a number of film projects including Lord of the Rings.

For more information, visit Richard Nunns