Tuesday, 20 January 2009

The power of dance

Munster vs. All Blacks, 18th November 2008.

Munster's Kiwis: Doug Howlett (62 caps for NZ), Rua Tipoki, Lifeimi Mafi and Jeremy Manning. With: 26,000 screaming Irish rugby fans.
Followed by: The All Blacks.



Anyway, it's the Munster crowd and their collective sense of drama that make this electric. In some of the other videos on YouTube you can hear them more clearly shussshing each other so they can hear the All Blacks. [Edit - the video was deleted and it's very clear in the one I've replaced it with.] Limerick has what you need to know about the match. Unaccountably, he didn't mention this.

Although not exactly sung, I think we can call Ka Mate, Ka Mate a great piece of music. Occasionally the All Blacks use a different one, but I prefer this.

As far as I know, and surely some Kiwi will comment if I am wrong, "haka" is in general a poem composed for dancing, and also the performance as a whole. This particular poem refers to how the poet escapes danger with the help of the Hairy Man, to fight or make peace another day. As I understand it, it is technically a ceremonial haka meant to motivate and unify the team, rather than a war dance mainly directed at the opponent. Same as this. I've read both that "the Hairy Man" refers to a specific historical man who was very hairy, and that it refers metaphorically to a team or tribe as a unit, the hairs representing collective strength. Either seems plausible.

2 comments:

Limerick Tango said...

The shussshing is exceptionally important in Munster rugby. Politely it's known as 'respecting the kicker' and happens whenever someone takes a kick at goal. An eery silence descends with anyone talking shussed quiet in the hope of putting the kicker off. There is nothing more deafening than thousands of people being quiet. The silence even extends to the pubs where people are watching on tv. Leinster and Ireland try to do the same thing but never quite effectively as a home Munster crowd.

msHedgehog said...

Aaah, I didn't know that. I thought it was remarkably well done - very impressive. Practice makes perfect, obviously.

I was once at an airshow where a Spitfire was doing a loop-the-loop. People were wandering around, having tea, watching, chatting, looking at exhibits, all the normal things. I was with family somewhere out of sight of the display.

The pilot misjudged it and flew into the ground (he was killed). The noise of a few hundred thousand people being briefly, completely silent that came after putputputputputputCRUNCH is easily the most impressive sound I've ever heard.