Buddhist Sand Mandala

One of my favourite travel books is Lonely Planet’s Happy: Secrets to Happiness from the Cultures of the World – and I have just quoted from it again in a  blog about Taiamai Tours … a Maori cultural tourism activity that enables travellers to learn how to be part of a waka tau (war canoe) commemoration of New Zealand’s’ national day  – Waitangi Day 6th February.

Here is another quote from the book

LIKE SAND THROUGH THE HOURGLASS…

Secret: Accept and celebrate the transience of life

Tradition: Buddhist sand mandalas

Date: Any time

Celebrated in: Tibet

I took these mandala  photos at WOMAD – New Plymouth NZ

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“No matter what we do, no matter what we leave behind, time sweeps on: one day we’ll all be dust.

Tibetan Buddhists illustrate this inescapable truism in a particularly lovely way, by making incredibly intricate, brightly glowing mandalas from grains of sand.

Yet when the mandala is finished, the whole fabulous creation is swept into an urn. Half of the sand is distributed among the audience, to disperse its healing through the room; the other half is fed to the nearest river, to carry its healing throughout the world.

Celebrating transience is strangely comforting. Spend an afternoon drawing chalk pictures on your front path, then watch them be worn away by time or rain. Lie on the grass with a friend making outlandish creatures from the clouds, observing as they change from dragons into ducks. Make a sand castle. Accept the inevitable truth that nothing lasts – and savour the peace that comes with it.”

These are edited extracts from Happy: Secrets to Happiness from the Cultures of the World © Lonely Planet 2011. RRP: $25. lonelyplanet.com.

WOMAD tickets on sale – see you there!

Early bird tickets for WOMAD New Zealand 2011 go on sale this week and the limited number of discounted tickets is expected to sell out quickly.

The discounted three-day tickets are available through Ticketek and cost $195 for adults (save $34), $149 for youth (save $30) and booking fees apply.

Coming from every corner of the globe, more than 300 musicians and performers from 20 different countries will bring the world to New Plymouth for WOMAD New Zealand 2011 from March 18-20 at Brooklands Park and TSB Bowl.

The full line-up for WOMAD New Zealand 2011 will be announced at Parliament on Wednesday 27 October, and while organisers are keeping tight-lipped, they say it is one of the best line-ups of world music to be seen on stage ever in New Zealand. Artistic director Drew James hints that it even includes a band which contributed to a track on one of the popular Twilight movies!

“We are very excited about the line-up for this year’s festival. As well as the superb international artists who will be heading our way, we’ve managed to secure some of New Zealand’s top musicians.”

Lester Stirling- of the-skaterlites

The 2011 event will be the seventh time the three-day festival has been held in New Plymouth and the recent confirmation of a four-way event partnership between Todd Energy, Shell New Zealand, TSB Bank and the New Plymouth District Council has secured WOMAD for the city for the next three years.

With seven stages and 30 hours of music, WOMAD also features artist workshops, a global food village, movies under the stars, Taste the World, artists in conversation and Kidzone as well as the option to camp at the adjacent racecourse.

WOMAD is an international festival which was created by Peter Gabriel 20 years ago. Since then 21 countries have hosted the festival and entertained millions of festivalgoers.

Earlybird tickets for WOMAD New Zealand 2011 go on sale at 9am on Friday 15 October through Ticketek 0800 TICKETEK (842 538) or www.ticketek.co.nz

for more information check out my blogs about WOMAD 2010

Surf highway #43 New Zealand

Before going to WOMAD 2011 New Plymouth, I drove from Christchurch, via the Cook Strait on the Interislander, to New Plymouth. I spent the night before WOMAD at Oakura camping ground just south of New Plymouth … after WOMAD I continued on highway 43 AKA the surf highway

Seems all surfers have great bodies!

But more of the road trip on future blogs. Freedom campers – please use our camping grounds and don’t pollute our clean and green country – we want to keep it that way!

riding the waves as the sun rises
Vans of all sizes: I was in the centre one from BACKPACKER
NZ has wonderful campgrounds with great facilities

These    photos are from part of a series about my recent  road trip to WOMAD 2010 held annually in New Plymouth: I was travelling in a Backpacker campervan, and on the Interislander ferry over Cook Strait – from Christchurch  to WOMAD and back again. for more information check out these links  (above) and the categories on the right.

WOMAD New Zealand Read more here on WOMAD NZ and other parts of the world

WOMAD New Zealand completed the Southern Hemisphere’s WOMAD experience. Dub Colossus had the crowd swaying to the beautiful sounds of Ethiopia mixed with 70’s influenced dub, the graffiti wall filled with brilliant art as the weekend continued and the Taste The World stage were entertained with accordions, tasty tips and tales and De Stijle, the Dutch street performers who popped by for an impromptu beer.

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble – the audience loves them

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble on stage at WOMAD 2010 New Plymouth Great stuff!

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble (USA) Formed on Chicago’s south side, these eight horn-playing brothers were taught by their father Phil Cohran, Sun Ra’s extraordinary lead trumpeter in the 1950s who later became a vigilant jazz educator for budding Chicago brass musicians. His youngest sons (from among Phil’s 15 sons and seven daughters, born from three mothers) would be woken at 6am for strict instrumental practise before school. At night they would slip on headphones to secretly groove to the explosive hip hop of NWA and Public Enemy. By 1999, after all the brothers had left school, they took to Chicago’s streets and subways to start busking, creating a new brassy style they called ‘hypnotic’, fusing the better parts of jazz, rock, reggae and hip hop in their own arresting compositions.
Website: www.myspace.com/hypnoticbusiness

These photos are from part of a series about my recent  road trip to WOMAD 2010 held annually in New Plymouth: I was travelling in a Backpacker campervan, and on the Interislander ferry over Cook Strait – from Christchurch  to WOMAD and back again. for more information check out these links  (above) and the categories on the right.

The Interislander: the ferry between Picton & Wellington, NZ

These photos are from part of a series about my recent  road trip to WOMAD 2010 held annually in New Plymouth: I was travelling in a Backpacker campervan, and on the Interislander ferry over Cook Strait – from Christchurch  to WOMAD and back again. for more information check out these links  (above) and the categories on the right.

A perfect day on an interislander ferry: "so smooth it could have been ironed' I overheard
everyone wants to photograph the Arahura as it passes us

Maori welcome to WOMAD artists

I love this shot! Media and artists go photo mad!
I just love this shot! Media and artists go camera crazy

WOMAD NZ 2010 artists were welcomed to Aotearoa / New Zealand (and Taranaki of course) at a special powhiri on at Owae Marae, Waitara.

As media, I  too was  invited to attend the event which is always an uplifting and colourful event and one which artists talk about for many years.

It’s hard to work out who-is-who, but maybe you can recognise one of your favourites.

We all wait to be led onto Owae Marae

Local school pupils wecome us with song
Monks join us as we are called onto the marae
Outside the carved wharenui (meeting house)
On this marae men go in first - not something I've experienced. I'm told by a local Maori photographer that it's because women are sacred, so are protected by the men leading the way: "no women, no children, no tribe ' he said. NOTE: I have not verifed his comment.
After each speech, it is supported by waiata ( song)
A welcome is always followed by a meal - Eliades Ochoa sits opposite me
Sitting beside me, Jenny, and Lester Stirling (The Skatalites) chatter over their meal

NOTE: This blog is one of a series about my recent  road trip to WOMAD 2010 (World of Music and Dance) held annually in New Plymouth and other parts of the world:  I was travelling in a Backpacker campervan, and on the Interislander ferry over Cook Strait – from Christchurch to WOMAD and back again: enjoy, and leave me a comment or two!

To find the other blogs about the trip, look up the categories to the right of this blog page: ie WOMAD; Interislander Ferry; Music; Campervan, Maori, and bookmark this page, or sign up for an email update for when I add new bogs n the series – they will include the Maori welcome to the artists, links to music by my favourites, cooking with some of the various singers, the Gyuto Monks with their mediations, singing and cooking, and of course, my road trip in the campervan, and lots of photos of people at WOMAD.

Shoes must be removed before entering the wharenui

Mariem Hassan at WOMAD 2010 New Plymouth

I caught this quiet moment between Mariem and her drummer and dancer (the ground drums are played by women) at the WOMAD welcome on the Owae marae in Waitara, New Zealand.

Let's dance! Mariem Hasan on TSB Bowl stage

Listen to Mariem here

This is the background info I was given about this talented woman:

“After more than 30 years of performing, Mariem Hassan is hailed as the true voice of the Western Sahara. Her people are Saharawis, living in exile within Algeria since Spain abandoned the Western Sahara in 1975 and their desert lands were claimed by Morocco. Within the Algerian refugee camps, women singers are recognised as pillars of strength, humanising the harsh living conditions through their powerful songs of hope. Mariem sings in Hassania, the language of her dessert homeland and deemed closest to classical Arabic. During the 1970s, Mariem joined forces with Matir el Uali Mustafa Sayed (more popularly known as El Uali), touring internationally with his band until she recorded her first solo album, Deseos, during 2005. In concert, her intense voice sits atop two electric guitars (substituting for the rustic tidinit) and two tebals (ground-drums played by women), melding ancient spiritual sounds with whispers of blues, reggae and other current music, driving her music into the 21st century. Different dances, performed by the percussionists, enrich a repertoire based on traditional and spiritual songs. Her solo fame has been further enhanced by a documentary film, Mariem Hassan, The Voice of the Sahara, released in 2008 at the Fisahara Festival.”  (I watched this film at WOMAD 2010 New Plymouth and it was moving –there’s no doubt this mother of five is a rebel with a  cause)

Website: www.myspace.com/saharafree.

Quite an interview: the translator is German and Mariem was speaking in Spanish

NOTE: This blog is one of a series about my recent  road trip to WOMAD 2010 (World of Music and Dance) held annually in New Plymouth and other parts of the world:  I was travelling in a Backpacker campervan, and on the Interislander ferry over Cook Strait – from Christchurch to WOMAD and back again: enjoy, and leave me a comment or two!

To find the other blogs about the trip, look up the categories to the right of this blog page: ie WOMAD; Interislander Ferry; Music; Campervan, Maori, and bookmark this page, or sign up for an email update for when I add new bogs n the series – they will include the Maori welcome to the artists, links to music by my favourites, cooking with some of the various singers, the Gyuto Monks with their mediations, singing and cooking, and of course, my road trip in the campervan, and lots of photos of people at WOMAD.