Stefan Neville, Māpura's music facilitator, recently attended the Sonic Protest Festival in Paris. This is a festival of experimental/outsider/raw music practices and as such always has a big component of music and activities made by people living with disabilities. This includes concerts, films, panel discussions, exhibitions, radio shows and workshops and even extends to people with disabilities working the bar and kitchen at some of the events.
Stefan participated in many ways. He spent three days workshopping & rehearsing with a group called Les Harrys - 8 autistic young adults who have been assembling every week at Antony's Day Hospital in Paris to play music together for the last 5 years. Les Harrys & Stefan then performed a triumphant concert in a beautiful permanent circus tent venue called Chapiteaux Turbulents.
Stefan then spoke on a panel discussion about "other" spaces where people with disabilities can creatively thrive. There were people running music programs & radio stations in Psychiatric Hospitals, Prisons for young offenders and A Self advocating Schizophrenic support group. Everyone was very interested & impressed hearing about Mapura Studios.
Another part of the festival was two performances of Stefans own music. Firstly his long running solo folk project "Pumice" and then his obnoxious rock band "Coolies" performed on different nights. Stefan was also honoured to be invited to play another concert drumming for "Jandek" - a mysterious reclusive Texan artist who has been releasing records since the late 70s.
After two action packed weeks in Paris, Pumice & Coolies hit the road playing 18 gigs in Belgium, Netherlands, Germany & the U.K. The shows went excellently & audiences ranged from a few hundred at a festival in Brussels to 3 people in a bar in Cardiff. Another highlight was the Coolies performance at the opening of Auckland artist & friend Sriwhana Spong's exhibiton "Ida - Ida" at the prestigious Spike Island Gallery in Bristol.