Mad Hallelujah Tribe live @ The Arty House – Evoking the ancient spirit of community



The Mad Hallelujah Tribe is an 8 piece band of gypsys, multi-instrumentalists, poets and singers, up until this jam session; I was not familiar with these guys. They had travelled from the South Island, up to Tauranga. Their newest recruit is local Alice Sea, whom you may recognize from the MauaoPAC collective; hence the night before on the 18th, they had performed @ the MauaoPAC before heading up to The Arty House for this event.

“It was a great show at Mauao, however, this event is something that I was looking forward to, getting away from the stage and the lights and the boundaries between the stage and audience.“ Says Alice Sea

…If MauaoPAC is the masculine venue, then The Arty House is the feminine.”

And If you haven’t been to The Arty House up Wairoa road, then it’s hard to know exactly what she means…The venue is where the Nashi Festival was hosted earlier in the year, and the place has been host to many-a-cool alternative events as well…the brainchild of Proprietor Janice Higgison…Definitely worth a visit.

But for this event,

I was early, as per usual, there weren’t as many people yet, so got a chance to sip some of Janice Higgison’s homemade Wine which was delicious…I noticed a fire, burning bright and powerful just outside the house… The Mad Tribe warming up, with their various instruments…A few spectators, who were as curious as I was…What exactly is going to go down?


The ‘burning’ question was answered soon enough…as I heard the familiar sound of the piano, and an angel crooning, to the melody… The tribe was putting out a call for the crowd to settle in, it was time. The wine still hot in my hands and in my heart, I sat down on a chair on the sidelines, the more daring, had taken their place on the couches, which were set around the fire pit…Before we knew it, their opening song had already finished…and the crowd wanted more…

11129960_938928089484620_4167965680032459491_oOne of the MC’s from the tribe, guided us through a chakra meditation…eyes closed, following instructions, the thought of smoking a cigarette never crossed my mind…the warm wine, was left to cool, in the Autumn air. The music sent my soul to a place that I cannot recall…Then it was over, we came down as fast as we had climbed, the impression of psychedelia, still strong in our minds…and the music, the music continued…guitars, tribal drums, violins, and more…

And each musical transition was followed by a similarly trippy onslaught of poetry, some spoke, some sung…All ‘inclusive’…There was a serious lack of applause, the opposite of any live traditional concert. There were no boundaries between the audience and the performers…and on numerous occasions the audience ‘became’ the performers…spitting lines of poetry, entire verses, songs…some had even brought their own instruments to strum and drum along with the trip.

“We would like to open it up to the people” Said a member of the tribe… “If you got something to say, something to sing…” A call to which the ‘gathered’ answered, compelled…by the music…


I wish I could say the same about myself…however I did not feel as compelled as the rest, the music was intoxicating and acoustic,

But the wine was cold now, who knows how many minutes, hours, years and millenniums had gone by…The collective spirit was overwhelming,

I needed a cigarette, how long had it been since I had one…?

The music, the words, must’ve caused a rift in the space/time matrix…

But the next thing I knew is I found myself with a cigarette in my hands wandering through the back of The Arty House…It was stark dark, the stars were out in spectacular vistas in the night…it was quiet…I almost heard the grass…whistling…was it nature? Or had the music gotten into the night as well? Making the stars want to sing, and the valleys of Wairoa want to croon?…It can’t be, Because I couldn’t hear the music at all…the gig was at the front of The Arty House…and I had just come to have a smoke, underneath the stars… Why was the night singing?

I had too much wine…

That was the only explanation.

Besides, my cigarette was almost done, so I had to get back to the people…the tribe, the music, that ancient vibe…THE FIRE…As I dropped the cigarette into the infinite abyss, and put my hands in my pocket, wandering through…I was greeted by a rising chant…



“Can you feel the fire within you…can you feel the fire within you….can you feel the fire within you”

It only got louder, as I got back to the circle…


It wasn’t just the tribe, it was the people as well, chanting…this eternal mantra, asking only the most simple most obvious question.

Then before I knew it, there was a violent downpour of rain…The fire and the couches had to be moved…But the music, the music was consistent…The tribe became madder as the people came closer. A gentle and ever-expanding circle started to form around the pit, an unknown member of the audience was singing the song ‘Wild Woman’ and the drums followed her closely…

The rain did not matter, the collective consciousness was still going hard…


As for me, fresh from my reflective tobacco exile…I was tired…

It was 10.00pm…

Holy Shit, 3 hours…


It was way past my bedtime and I had to get home.

‘The people will carry this trip…’ I said to myself as I climbed down the infinite staircase, into the parking lot, the closer I got to the car, the louder the voices of the tribe seemed, even though they were way up there…

Baz from Baz Mantis Photography was there as well, and early next morning he informed me that the procession carried on way past midnight.


Because for me the experience reminded me of a good ol’ trip into the California mountains…before Columbus, when the ancient ‘TRIBE’ gathered around the fire, and told stories, sang songs and expressed themselves without boundaries…judgement…there was no audience, there were no performers…Just souls…”burning for that ancient heavenly connection in the starry dynamo of the machinery of night.”

All this, Just a few minutes’ drive from home…

What a trip!


Archaeo Outdoor TableBy:
Dhaivat Mehta

(Editor – ARTbop alternative)

Dhaivat Mehta is a film-maker and performance poet, and a member of the Tauranga Writers…Involved with many aspects of local creativity! As an organizer he was responsible for last year’s National Poetry Day event “Caught In The Act” He also raps and does spoken word under the stage name Mantra

Baz Mantis Artbop Avatar (1)Photos By Baz Mantis

Baz Mantis is a Tauranga based photographer, recording artist and film maker who has
been the chief photographer for ARTbop Alternative since 2014. Alongside his passion
for experimenting with visual imagery in multiple genres, he is also a musician and has
released an album and several music videos as The D-Day Saints, which features 7guest vocalists from around the North Island. In betweenphotographic assignments, Mantis is busy writing and recording new material for the Saints as well as crafting the sequel to his 2012 underground cult horror/comedy film Chair Evil, and he has a website @

About Author

ARTbop has been written, collated and distributed as a free Bay of Plenty arts focused periodical to cafes in Tauranga and its surrounds.  Starting as a simple text newsletter, ARTbop now has several excellent contributors and covers a wide range of topics informing readers of the thriving art scene and interesting events that happen in the Bay of Plenty. You might have heard about us through friends, or even picked up a copy to read while you were out having coffee. We've got lots of exciting and ambitious plans for this website.  If you’re interested in contributing, advertising or you would like to profile your portfolio on our artists gallery, or have an event that you think should be reviewed, please contact us at

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