Playing it Strange in 2013

Mike and Barney Chunn
In their first Strange News blog for the year, Mike and Barney Chunn share ten reasons why they're excited about 2013.

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In their first Strange News blog for the year, Mike and Barney Chunn share ten reasons why they're excited about 2013.


1. Play it Strange turns 10 yrs old. It was in 2003 that an oft-imagined songwriting focus in NZ schools turned into a plan. The impetus and vision of one Bill Moran, and then economic adviser to the Associate Minister of Finance Trevor Mallard, got the ball rolling. Moran, a keen supporter of NZ songwriters and their careers, proposed the charitable trust and named it Play It Strange.

And what is now the Lion Foundation Songwriting Competition for NZ secondary school students was born. In the first year Kimbra Johnson, aged fifteen and at Hamilton’s Hillcrest High School, took 6th place with her song It Takes Time. Now she is Kimbra and she accepted a Grammy award in the USA a very short while ago.

2. It’s the first year since 1987 that there are no recurring numbers in the date. We’ve never trusted recurring numbers...

3. Our Play It Strange alumnus is growing, and we are seeing fabulous young songwriters emerging in all genres and facets of the musical world. Annah Mac arrived two years after Kimbra with her beautiful Blue Butterfly. Claire Duncan (Dear Time’s Waste) with her song Summer’s Lament, Louis Baker with his song Three Ladies, and Eden Roberts with her self-recorded original Into The Woods to name but a few.

4. The songs for our Lion Foundation songwriting competition 2013 are soon to start trickling in; then in the last few days in July they flood in. Head judge Jordan Luck gets to savour the hearts and minds of hundreds of young NZers. So do I (Mike).

5. We’re excited to see the continued development of Youth Online at Radio New Zealand. Youth Online could be an online forum for young New Zealanders to hear each other and be heard. It’s is a vital foundation for the strength of our youth culture. We have an incredibly vibrant youth sector and it’s our responsibility to provide them every possible outlet to capitalize on their promise. Youth Online is one of those building blocks and we are looking forward to seeing it in motion.

6. I’m excited that there even is a 2013… Well played Mayans, well played…

7. Play It Strange is rolling out it's Jam Bus to primary schools for the first time this year. The mobile recording studio is an integral part of a drive to bring the craft of recording into the day to day lives of young songwriters, performers and musicians. As 2013 rolls along, the Jam Bus will drive around Auckland schools tracking the energy, imagination and community spirit of the dozens of schools within which a desire for music making exists. All in the songs they sing.

8. Samoan secondary school students. Play it Strange is going global! We are expanding our song writing competition into the Pacific, and we’re thrilled to be doing so. The inaugural Samoan Secondary Schools Songwriting competition will take place this year. We were lucky enough to be in Samoa last year and witness first hand the talent that our brothers and sisters over there possess. As the cultures of the Pacific intertwine, so do our people and our music, and we are proud to support emerging songwriting talent in Samoa.

9. I’m excited to be a part of this wonderful colourful community that is the musical community in NZ. We are a courageous and resourceful bunch and though we are often loath to self-congratulate, we should be aware of our strengths and abilities, and we’ve seen a sea change in our attitude towards our own talents here. Let’s keep it moving.

10. I (Barney) am a late starter to The Wire but this is the year it is going to happen and by God I am excited.

Written by

Mike Chunn

19 Feb 2013

Interests Mike Chunn has worked with original songs all his life from his days with Split Enz and Citizen Band through Mushroom Records (Dance Exponents and DD Smash) to eleven years as Director of Operations for APRA.

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