Huge thanks to Mick Sibley and Heidi Jeory for filming this clip.Spot Mick’s beautiful grandaughter Tess (Sleeping beauty herself!)
Take the internationally renowned duo Mary Kippenberger and Peter Charlton-Jones, mix in some fairytales, a bit of pantomime, slightly wicked songs, throw in costumes and a child or two and you have…RHUBARB!…interactive storytelling, music, fun and laughter for the whole family.
Husband and wife team, Mary Kippenberger and Peter Charlton-Jones have lived in Otane, Central Hawkes Bay for the past 22 years. Mary has been a professional storyteller since 1994 and Peter has played guitar from the age of 10. he is a little bit older than that now! They both have backgrounds in social work while Mary is a registered teacher and Peter an Anglican Minister. Six years ago both left their jobs to hit the road fulltime. If they are not wandering the globe telling tall stories to small people they are conducting workshops, drama classes, music festivals, presenting plays and concerts and recording music on their Otane property. Aside from these distractions Peter plays in a jazz band and a blues band and Mary debates or speaks after dinner.
They have four children and seven grandchildren. All seven of the grandchildren and their respective parents plus one brother and a spare nephew live on the farm with them. It is a happy crew!
We get so many gorgeous letters, this is one of my favourites…
To Mary and Peter
I like yor lovey storis they was brlent. Than yoo. I like the myoosic. I wish yoo came agen because are clas wal love yoo a specily me.
…was voted the best we have ever had. Mary and Peter were absolutely fabulous, they kept the children entertained the whole time including two of our special needs children who normally don’t sit still for anyone. We (the staff) loved all the positive feedback given to the actors by Mary with her stories. A great show.
This is not as the title may suggest a titillating coming of age tale but rather my first experience of Te Rangi music festival, although you could be mistaken with a viewing of some of the pics from the Weekend. I arrived late on the first night just in time for the last half of the evening concert, familiar faces, lots of hugs and instantly I felt at home with friends and over the course of the four days plenty to fill the music gas tank.
The next morning I got my first orientation of Te Rangi. Nestled in a valley just outside Otane in the heart of Hawkes Bay this family community of houses, building and structures is the home of Mary Kippenberger, Peter Carlton Jones and their extended whanau. An old school room had been relocated and converted with newly built stage veranda and was to be the focus for all performances.
To write a review on the music and mentioning individuals, I feel would do a complete injustice to the quality of the performers young and old(er) who black-boarded and collaborated. Everybody who wanted to perform got the opportunity to do so. It appeared on many occasions a single performer would also carry a troupe of capable musicians and the line ups that sprung forth were entertaining, inspiring, just fantastic.
I had heard mention of the infamous Blind Date Concert, one I observed that is met with anticipation and howls of protest at the same time. Mary had split everyone into groups (no exceptions tolerated) and opened the treasure trove of costumes for this dress up spectacle. I must say it was slightly disturbing to see respectable hairy grey bearded gents rummaging enthusiastically through the corsetry looking for the best fit but the end result was a howling success.
Sunday was my birthday and I was intent on making the most of it. Usually one ever celebrated because of the time of the year but this was different. It was filled with fun and music, dress ups, concerts and jamming. It was also my first time seeing the remarkable Mary perform her story telling with Peter backing on the songs and music. Stunningly brilliant and hilarious and a real treat. I felt like a 10 year old, no more so than as I lined up for my Ice cream after the Blind Date. “An extra scoop for the birthday boy”, said as Mary she squished another scoop of sun softened Hokey Pokey on to the cone. I was having so much fun it was like several hundred people had come to my party and I felt like a kid again.
Looking back on the festival, the fantastic music, talented performers, laughter, jamming, re affirming friendships, meeting new friends and sharing in so many ways I have come to realise that family is the feeling that stays long after the music has faded. This would not be the Te Rangi it is without the generosity and warmth of Mary, Peter and the family that have opened up and shared their home, set the mood for the festival and made sure we were all looked after.
I may have been a Te Rang virgin on the Friday night but by Monday afternoon as I set off I felt well and truly less so. Welcomed to the Te Rang family I know this will now be on the annual calendar as a special turangawaewae of music and whanau in the heart of Hawkes Bay.
Thanks Tony for your positive review. Published in The Balladeer, the monthly newsletter of the Wellington Folk Music Club, Wellington,New Zealand.
Laura Collins and the Back Porch Band deliver their back porch blend of acoustic ballads and blues at Rumpy, 212 Argyll Road, Otane, Central Hawkes Bay on Friday 21st November.
Wellington based Laura Collins is a singer, a front person, a songwriter and most importantly an entertainer.
Along with Laura’s originals you can expect to hear some alt-country covers from the likes of Gillian Welch and John Hiatt, a little BB, a little Etta, some Muddy Waters and many more with a feast of vocals, fine pickin’, zydeco accordion, heart-string pulling lapsteel, warm upright bass and percussive drums.
The Back Porch Boys are all journeymen who have played many juke joints in their time, George Barris, a seasoned bass man whose early fame dates back to the days of “Highway” on upright bass and Matt Newman, originally from Portland Oregon, who brings a wealth of experience and great country-blues pickin’ on guitar, Al Norman (ex-Warratahs, now works with Darren Watson and the Real Deal Blues Band) on accordion and Paddy Burgin (singer/songwriter and luthier extraordinaire with many albums to his name) on lap steel and mandolin.
Expect a toe-tapping good old southern time on the back porch.
Friday 21st November, Rumpy, 212 Argyll Road, Otane, Central Hawkes Bay, show from 7.30pm. Tickets: Waged $15, Unwaged $10. On the door or bookings 06 856 8367.
Check out more about Laura Collins and the band at www.lauracollins.co.nz
‘…one thing that really stood out for me (as well as the great storytelling and music) was the incredible job you did in giving meaningful feedback to the children who came up and participated. One often hears praise loosely banded about (the good job type comment) You didn’t give empty praise but real feedback and you could see the children swell with pride as a result. You spoke specifically about what they had done that made theirs a good performance and spoke in a meaningful way. It’s not always an easy thing to do and you did it so well. (just for the record neither of my children were ones who volunteered this time so I’m not just a biased parent!)
‘I would like to mention how great the workshop was. Before this experience I was not much of a singer and I would not even sing very loud at choir. Now I am very confident and I found it good that Emmie was not a very confident singer either so we learnt and grew together. I never thought a future in music was for me but i am now considering it and might even take music in year 10.’ Pupil year 8
‘I’m very glad I chose to be in music. i’ve never had a better day at school, honestly. the way you taught us was exciting, we weren’t hitched up on desk writing boring essays about how to write a song and how the recordings work. We were writing songs and playing instruments and having LOTS of fun and actually producing them. I just wanted to say that you are the best teacher I have EVER met.’ pupil year 8
Wanting my old Friend 1 An Mp3 file of a song from the workshop. Written and sung by two students in year 8 at Iona College. The violin on this track is played by a student who quickly understood the use of improvising.
All the students on the course wrote great songs. It was a privilege to be part of the day. So great to see the endeavor, the passion for the music,and the talent. Thanks for making your music alive. Peter C-J
‘When I was a kid rhubarb was something my dad cut from the garden to save money on breakfast and no amount of sugar on top could sweeten our palettes. It’s quite a turn-around for me to have become a fervent fan of rhubarb, and it took Mary Kippenberger storyteller/entertainer and her husband, Peter Charlton-Jones, musician, to (literally) change my tune.
As a duo they are Rhubarb, one of the finest storytelling teams I have ever come across. We were delighted to welcome them as guests at the main library today on a mini tour that is taking in the Cannon Creek and Whitby libraries as I write.
They perform infectiously interactive sets of traditional stories in untraditional ways. Wolves turn vegetarian, hunters lay down their guns. Before you know it half the audience are on stage in costumes and people are holding their sides lest they split from laughing. Rhubarb are the good stuff and with their backgrounds in social work both of them know how to bring out the good stuff in kids and their caregivers. The little words of encouragement Mary gives to every volunteer are placed in such a way that they validate a performer’s courage as well as appreciating their contribution.
From the smallest penguin ( who must have been 2) to the most seasoned wolf (one valiant grandfather) and with a collection of cows, monkeys, dogs and rabbits (to name just a few) thrown in, Rhubarb prove that the best stories can be further embellished with every subsequent mouth that learns to tell them. Humour, tunes and an invitation to move are the most useful tool any storyteller can weild, and Rhubard had their audience clapping and wriggling with glee as they dished out plenty of all today…’