15 May 2020

Composer performs in tropical forest in...Dunedin?

From Sound Lounge, 2:46 pm on 15 May 2020
Composer Jeremy Mayall

Composer Jeremy Mayall Photo: Supplied

Jeremy Mayall now knows that to experience the sights and smells of a tropical forest, sometimes you don't even need to leave the city.

His multi-sensory project, Flutter, used live musicians, two dancers, video projection, lighting, and it all took place in a tropical forest, complete with exotic butterflies and other creatures. Possibly not what you'd expect in the middle of Dunedin's CBD. But this is exactly what you get at the Tūhura Tropical Forest at Otago Museum.

"It's just a weird place", Jeremy says. "Because it's Dunedin, and it's freezing cold. But then there's this three-story tropical rainforest in the middle of a building in the centre of town, which is populated by thousands of butterflies."

Tūhura’s Tropical Forest is the only three-tier live butterfly experience in Australasia and inside, the temperature sits at around 28 degrees Celsius and 75% humidity all year-round.

While listening to Jeremy's music, the audience could wander around in the warmth, look at the exotic plants, butterflies, giant stick insects, tarantulas, terrapins and other rainforest dwellers, and also take in the forest's fragrances.

"The rainforest has a very particular smell. It has that kind of humid smell but also it's a very sweet smell because they feed the butterflies fresh fruit - there's platters of fresh fruit everywhere. So it's got this kind of sweet, but wet, smell. It's a hard smell to describe, but you you'd know it when you smell it."

Performing 'Flutter' are Julia Booth (vocals), Tessa Petersen (violin), Feby Idrus (flute), John Egenes (pedal steel), Rob Burns (bass), Jeremy Mayall (electronic backing).

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