Two to take stage
Plimmerton’s Kevin Clark has done most things in the musical world since launching his career as a 12- year- old playing the ukulele.
Since then he has concentrated on the piano and trumpet and established himself as a top international jazz performer.
He is looking forward to playing at February’s Festival of the Elements on Waitangi Day with his trio and vocalist Fran Barton, at the Performing Arts Space at Pataka Museum.
With a keen interest in ethnomusicology, Clark has written several research papers at university on the music of other cultures and finds it easy to relate to the festival’s emphasis on cultural harmony and unity.
‘‘Music is a common denominator and a marvellous icebreaker,’’ he says.
Clark was born in the Eastern Cape region of South Africa where, he says, musicians did not practise apartheid.
‘‘We all mucked in together, in spite of government policies at the time. Music transcends race and culture.’’ He grew up a free thinker at university, mixing with the various cultures of South Africa and their music. He has studied, composed, played and recorded music genres from Africa, India, the Middle East and Latin America, as well as jazz and European music, and is looking to use Cook Island drummers in his jazz group.
Early exposure to African tribal music influenced much of his development but Clark also played with many mixed race groups.
His musical talents have helped take him through Britain, the rest of Europe, the Middle East, North and Central Africa and Latin America.
He has also played in South Africa, Australia, Mexico, Cuba, Iran and Uzbekistan. He came to New Zealand ‘‘after meeting and marrying a Kiwi girl in England’’ and eventually settled in Plimmerton.
Clark has 49 original compositions registered to his name. All have been recorded and/ or broadcast.
He has twice been awarded the New Zealand National Music Award ‘‘TUI’’ for best jazz album. Together with Barton, six albums have been released. They have worked together for more than 40 years, starting at Wellington’s Beefeater Arms before moving on to television, radio, festivals and recording work.
Clark is possibly best known for his piano playing but will play some trumpet at the concert as well. He will also play the piano and trumpet together – the piano with his left hand and trumpet with his right.
A programme for the Festival of the Elements will be published in an upcoming edition of Kapi-Mana News.
Enduring team: Kevin Clark and Fran Barton will jazz up next month’s Festival of the Elements.