Incubating multicultural music

Music Plus
with Winston Watusi

Exciting times are on the horizon, and I am an avid observer. But only an observer.

When you good folk of Tauranga vote for the first new council since 2021, I’ll be sitting it out because the Watusi Country Club is, by a quirk of fate, a few kilometres into the Western Bay of Plenty electorate.

It’s vaguely frustrating because, obviously, I do much in Tauranga and have opinions on all the usual things, such as stadiums and museums and everything else that potential candidates may or may not support.

C’est la vie. But as a non-participant I do have one humble request for all of you able to vote: when the time comes, please do. There have been increasingly unrestful mumblings about “getting democracy back”. Now it is back please, please demonstrate that it’s something to be valued.

Before we wish them farewell, though, dare I say in a quiet voice that I came to quite like the commissioners.

I was wary at first. Anne Tolley was a senior National Party minister for a decade, so her politics are not exactly aligned with my bleeding liberal heart.

To me she has the face of a kindly grandmother, but I’ve met politicians before and read Little Red Riding Hood, so I understand that looks can be deceptive.

They listened 

Then came the kerfuffle over arts collective The Incubator and other organisations at the Historic Village, with the possible hike of rents to align with the oft-quoted “market”.

I attended the public hearing. Ms Tolley looked her usual, kind self. The commissioners were receptive and polite. I remained convinced they would announce the village was to be gutted — that’s what politicians do.

But, miracle of miracles, they didn’t.

To the despair of some in our community who regard art as a rort for those too lazy to work, the commissioners held rents down and publicly backed the community work, arts, and more that happen at the village. They listened and changed their minds; colour me impressed.

There’s now a useful page, worth a read, on the Incubator website featuring informative interviews with candidates about their approach to the arts.

Gig suggestions

Now, let me suggest a gig at The Incubator’s Jam Factory.

On Saturday, June 29, The Afrolites, one of my favourite Tauranga bands, present African beats and futurist jazz and, well, just groovy trance-like stuff. They’re instrumental and less African than they once were, with guitars, keys and usually a horn or two.

The Afrolites. Photo: supplied.

Joining them is Moving Forces of Society, a 2023 ensemble formed by Pablo Cordoba, keyboard player Akash Dutta, and Tyrone Dyer, combining jazz-funk, electronic synthwave, and influences from Latin America and Asia. Pablo also plays drums with the night’s third band, Drosan, a five-piece leaning towards funky acid-jazz that he leads alongside fellow Argentinian Federico Monzon.

And it really hots up there in July when you can catch Junk, the Huneybee Wild, the MetroGnomes, Crooked Finger, Brother Sister, and more. Hear them along with some recent releases on this week’s playlist.

Listen to this week’s playlist below: