Eclectic trio TrinityRoots forged a reputation as an unmissable live act, with Warren Maxwell (Arts Laureate, frontman for Little Bushman) leading the surge towards rapture. The band mined reggae, soul, jazz and rock to create their own distinctive feel. The sound was first captured on an EP and two albums of indigenous downbeat classics: 2001's True and 2004's Home, Land and Sea, and in the epic farewell performance promo for 'Home, Land and Sea' from 2005. "From the tail of the fish..." Trinity Roots reformed in 2010 for further albums; original percussionist Riki Gooch departed the following year.
TrinityRoots' vocalist and songwriter Warren Maxwell talks about his career and songwriting in this episode from a series for secondary school music students. Maxwell explains the genesis of the Wellington roots/reggae act's classic 'Little Things' (and the making of its music video); he performs a stripped back excerpt from the song. Maxwell also recalls the problems the band encountered in recording their first album and previews a new work, 'Angel Song' (which later appeared on TrinityRoots' second album Home, Land and Sea).
Director Chris Graham planned an ambitious video for this song, but budget and scheduling got in the way. When Graham heard TrinityRoots were disbanding, he pitched the idea of a live video at their farewell concert in the Wellington Town Hall. Mixing in footage of land and sea, the result honours one of their anthems and captures a glimpse of the original line-up in their soulful, impassioned element. TrinityRoots regrouped in 2010, but this video preserves the final moments of their first incarnation; when their one waka was turning into three.
This episode from The Living Room is presented by Wellington band TrinityRoots. First stop is a dans paleis, where competitors (including Fat Freddys' DJ Mu) tweak samples in a battle for the MPC heavyweight title. Then Dunedin artist Phil Frost tours his studio, talks skulls and bones and skate video Tulgonia Two (where broken ankles are the price of filming mad tricks). Poet Cameron Hockly takes his words to Te Awamutu's streets; and mainlander Peter King lathe cuts bespoke records for clients from the Beastie Boys to Trinity Roots (whose True LP is cut here).
This (mostly) black and white video stars late great actor Wi Kuki Kaa (Ngāti, Utu). The concept is simple but impactful: a close-up on Kaa's eye leads the viewer in and out of a series of memories. In combination with Kaa's performance — seated on a veranda, as family activities take place around him — Chris Graham's video works superbly to convey the essence of the song. The cinematography is by Adam Clark (Boy, the Oscar-nominated Two Cars, One Night). Julian Arahanga (Broken English) appears among the moving celebration of whānau and community.