For the first time ever, fleaBITE performed live.
Rainbow’s End, Manukau City, Auckland, September 2016.
After two awards for Best NZ Children’s album, another for best (animated) music clip, and hundreds of requests to perform at venues around the country, I finally said YES!
This is the reason:
Danny Berg, entertainment manager of Rainbow’s End, contacted me with an email full of flattery and promise. He had the vision, enthusiasm, backing and venue to make it all possible. What’s more, he employed a cast of six (including singer, Shaan Antunovich, plus dancers), led by the fabulous Paulo Va’a.
Basically Danny produced the work, and I had input into the direction of the show, without the usual task of re-inventing the wheel. In my world, this sort of thing rarely happens.
After many years of composing, recording and producing material on my own in a darkened cave, I was initially reluctant to hand it over to complete strangers, but our first meeting allayed my fears. Shaan and Paulo were professional, and really ‘got’ my sense of humour. We listened through to the songs and I wrote down everyone’s ideas. Then left the writing pad behind by mistake.
The final show was sharp, surprising, and funny. We aimed to let each song tell it’s own visual story. Sometimes the direction was obvious, eg THE JUNGLE IS JUMPING (animals, movement, danger).
And sometimes it took a while to discover the key, e.g. PARADISE. This song has a cruisy Pacific vibe, but is basically about losing your temper. It took many attempts to nail this, but in the end it became my favourite.
Although the fleaBITE show was performed for a matter of months (rather than a year as originally intended), it gave us the opportunity to create a fab new high quality, live performance children’s show. Thanks to Danny Berg, Shaan Antunovich, Paulo Va’a, and the dancers: Ashleigh Clarke, Francesca Cox, Beth Hunt and Maria-Angela Va’a.
I would love to tour this show to arts festivals around the country. Would the next fleaBITE patron (or matron) please step forward…?