Herbs: Songs of Freedom is the latest film from Tearepa Kahi (Poi E: The Story of Our Song, NZIFF16), a timely and affectionate tribute to one of Aotearoa's most iconic bands.
Almost 40 years after their first gig as the support act to Stevie Wonder, Kahi connects with core Herbs members as they reunite in preparation for an anniversary concert. Set against a soundtrack rich with the band’s popular songs (including ‘One Brotherhood’, ‘French Letter’, ‘See What Love Can Do’, ‘Nuclear Waste’), the documentary traces Herbs’ backstory and brings it up to date.
Kahi gives founder Toni Fonoti, guitarist Dilworth Karaka and producer Hugh Lynn (among others) ample room to recall Herbs’ creation and formation. With its unique mix of Maori, Pakeha and Pasifika musicians, Herbs had shifting iterations, at one point growing to 23 members.
Interviews, past and present, loop us back to social and political flashpoints such as the occupation of Bastion Point, the 1981 Springbok tour demonstrations, and the dawn raids targeting the Polynesian community. Reminiscences interweave with rehearsals and the concert itself, celebrating songs which harbour strong political messages within superb harmonies and distinctive South Pacific-infused rhythms. Their power and appeal remain undiminished.
Also, don't miss a gallery talk on protest music with Alison Booth on Saturday 22 February, 2pm.
Film runs 91 mins, rated PG (violence & offensive language).
Tickets $15, Senior/Student tickets $12 - available from eventfinda.co.nz
Tickets also available from Te Uru - (09) 817 8087 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Weds 19 February, 7.30pm
Lopdell Theatre, 418 Titirangi Road