The Lyre of Tauranga: ancient sounds at Baycourt

The Lyre of Tauranga on The Incubator door

The Lyre of Tauranga on The Incubator door

ARTbop Poetry Editor, Sam Woodward, Sam the Poet, recounts the unique alternative experience provided by ancient musical instrument performance on 2nd April 2016 at the Baycourt Xspace.  This performance was the culmination of another project led by a team from The Incubator, the Historic Village Tauranga, creative collective.

This event was a celebration of ancient instruments;

To a full house, it began with Jo’el Komene reciting a karakia, then the reading of a poem by Dhaivat Mehta dedicated to the forms of sound and it’s universal origin.

ARTbopSHOW's Dhaivat Mehta in peformance mode

ARTbopSHOW’s Dhaivat Mehta in peformance mode

This was followed by an introduction video made by Sundus Abdul Hadi, of the recreation of a 4,500-year-old Lyre, built by John Knotts here in Tauranga, and the history of this most ancient of stringed instruments known.

It is believed to have first been made in ancient Mesopotamia, possibly now know as Iraq, and neighbouring counties. A sample was found in the Royal tombs of Ur in 1929, but the reconstructed instrument was lost in the destruction of Iraq’s Museum in 2003

The Lyre, long-lost, often destroyed is kept alive by the determination and with the cooperation of enthusiasts around the world”

Natalia Mann, born in NZ undertook to perform with the Lyre, in collaboration with Sundus Abdul Hadi’ s multi-media background presentation and Jo’el Komene playing Taonga puoro, the ancient Maori wind instruments, like the Lyre thought to have been lost.

There being no classical written notation available, these musicians delved into each instruments history and culture to uncover and bring forth the songs from within.

The collaboration between these artists overcame any difficulty one might expect when faced with the task at hand. Natalia playing an instrument with only hours to rehearse, alongside Jo’el whom she had only met in person the previous day.

We were privileged to sit in wonder as each piece was played, bringing forth each instruments own long hidden song, unheard of for many millennia. Each arrangement, a master piece in its own right; and we were treated by many.

At the close they were given a standing ovation, then Jo’el Komene gave a karakia to end the presentation.

Sam the poet talks with Murray Clode of macandmor pop up gallery

Sam the poet talks with Murray Clode of macandmor pop up gallery

A recent arrival from Auckland,  Sam Woodward, Sam the poet and ARTbop Poetry Editor,  is a published poet with further work awaiting formal publication. Interested in a wide spectrum of creativity, Sam  is an active member of Tauranga Writers Inc. and  will be an on-going participant in poetry workshops organised by The Incubator Sam.  Sam can be contacted at ARTbop at



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