Festival has a unique beat

22:45, Jan 16 2013
JUNGLE FEVER: Matt Reece holds the hulusi, which he’ll play in his band Ionosphere at the Oratia Jungle Festival this weekend.

Matt Reece is taking a different approach when it comes to learning and playing music.

The Glen Eden resident has an interest in ethnic wind instruments and oddities such as the African thumb piano and jaw harp.

He enjoys instruments that aren't often recognised in Western music.

"The idea behind it is to show there are other instruments, cultures and views to music out there which are more refreshing than standard Western music," he says.

"If people really opened up their ears, they would find there's beauty in the dissonance that they hear and a there's a whole world and spectrum of music that's unacknowledged."

The 43-year-old solo artist will join other West Auckland musicians including Paul Williams, John Cameron and John Gouge in their band Ionosphere and will play at the Oratia Jungle Festival this weekend.


Organised by the Auckland Council and Toi Toi Music, the one-day festival is in its third year and features a range of New Zealand artists and local favourites including BlackSandDiva, Huia Hamon and Mandy Patmore.

Mr Reece says West Auckland is a melting pot of people who exude musical talent and creativity.

The father of three began his love of music by learning the didgeridoo as a teenager and he can now play a range of instruments.

Many are gifted to him by friends, including an instrument called the hulusi, which comes from Northern China and is fast becoming a favourite of his because of its melodious sound.

Consisting of a gourd with brass reeds on the inside, it's special to Mr Reece.

"I'm not one for complicated things and I think a real challenge is to find something simple and do something really creative with it, than go the opposite way and get something complex and do something simple with it," he says.

Festival organiser Cat Tunks from Toi Toi Music says the festival brings together the concept of art as a whole and Mr Reece's unique approach to music draws audiences in.

"It's not just a concert but incorporates all kinds of art.

"Matt always comes up with something to surprise audiences with his unusual instruments," she says.

Mr Reece not only gets enjoyment out of music but hopes it will bring happiness to others.

"You've got to leave something in the world. If you were to pass away tomorrow, you'd hope someone would remember you for something good."

The Oratia Jungle Festival is on January 19 at Landsendt Subtropical Gardens, 108 Parker Rd in Oratia. Starts at 2pm and runs until late. Tickets are available at event finder.co.nz, the Titirangi Pharmacy or at the Landsendt Subtropical Gardens.

Western Leader