Music is the one thing that keeps me going daily. Listening to music from varying genres and cultures around the world is an activity I enjoy thoroughly because of both the apparent similarities and obvious differences that exist. During my off-campus program at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand (NZ) I continued my exploration of diverse music scenes and styles through a Travel Enrichment Grant to the city of Auckland, New Zealand from November 9th - 18th 2019.
- Conflict & Triumph – Classical Music Scene
- The Frontmen Concert – Country Music Scene
- Māori Cultural Performance – Māori Music Scene
- Gang of Four – Funk Rock Scene
- Morning Melodies 2019 – Swing Music Scene
- Auckland Live Digital Stage – Music Technology Scene
- Les Misérables – Theatre Musical Scene
- Friday Night Jams ft Janet Jackson, 50 Cent, Jason Derulo and Black-Eyed Peas – Hip Hop Music Scene
During this trip, I explored various music events in Auckland and intentionally immersed myself in the diverse music cultures of the Kiwis (People of New Zealand) despite some being beyond my musical tastes. Each of these events had distinct aesthetics, cultures, technologies and target audiences.
For example, the Les Misérables is a very popular French love story musical adapted into English which showcased virtuosic opera-style vocalists accompanied by a full orchestra performing at the renowned Civic Centre Theatre in the Auckland city center. The aesthetics of the event had very formal tone; people were all dressed in long dresses and dress coats and generally minding their own business having quiet conversations. The majority of the audience were white working-class and elderly adults ranging from ages 30 – 80 years old. I felt out of place in this environment at times, nevertheless, I enjoyed the show despite their obvious technical difficulties with the actor’s microphones.
On the contrary, Friday Night Jams was a massive outdoor concert showcasing predominantly African American Acts such as The Black-Eyed Peas, Janet Jackson and Jason Derulo. Both these events attracted very large audiences but the main difference here was that this time we had a majority youthful audience raging from ages 16-30. The aesthetics of this event were very energetic and loud, boasting an environment where everyone was free-spirited, dancing and just having a great time. The people I met there were very curious about where I was from (because I did not look and speak like the majority of the people present), why I was in New Zealand of all places and were impressed by my dance moves which felt amazing. This environment was very diverse as there was a mix of people of color (both Māori and Internationals), white Kiwis. I also made a lot of connections from the event through exchanging details.
My most valuable take-away from this entire experience is how musically connected the whole world is. Within the past year, I have lived in Botswana, New Zealand, and the United States and in all these places, music is a crucial part of everyone’s daily culture. We all consume similar content due to the digital revolution and the spread of popular culture, but even with all that, each musical scene adapts a taste of culture and mannerisms of the people in the local environment (dancing, clothing, behaviors or etiquette) which was intriguing to be part of and to observe having been to all these places.
Thank you to the Cabot Family Endowment for International and Intercultural Education for funding this wonderful opportunity and the Harrisons for being loving and insightful hosts while I was in Auckland.
For more detailed analysis and photos of the trip you can visit my website dedicated to this trip - https://tablemate.online/mrakhudu/travelgrant.php