Thursday, September 10, 2015

Apra Silver Scrolls go large

From the APRA archives - Bic Runga with the award for Most Performed Work in 1997 (Sway), standing with Bill Sevesi. Photo via Audioculture's Bill Sevesi profile

The APRA Silver Scroll Awards are a week away, and this year, as well as the five Silver Scroll finalists, and the winners of the winners of the SOUNZ and Maioha Awards getting to hear their songs interpreted by other musicians, we also get a rendition of the winning song from the 1981 retrospective Silver Scroll, and a musical tribute to the magnificent Mr Bill Sevesi. The musical directors this year are Cherie Mathieson and Godfrey de Grut.

I've seen some fascinating discussions around the interwebs on what happened in 1981 and why no Scroll was awarded, despite it being a stellar year for exciting music, as evidenced by the explosion of indie releases. 

Gary Steel over at Metro suggests that "...the general consensus is that the organisation that holds the awards was weathering huge structural change at the time, and that caused the awards that year to be cancelled. One former committee member believes that because of the administrative ruptures, no cash had been set aside for the Silver Scroll that year. Had they occurred, it’s interesting to conjecture how different the finalist list might have been to the retrospectively selected one..."

I also saw former APRA boss Mike Chunn note on Chris Bourke's FB thread on the 81 lost scroll that the organisation had a new boss arrive that year, Bernie Darby, which may have meant the awards got lost in the reshuffle.

Chunn says back then the Silver Scroll event was held in a nightclub or restaurant, and featured no live performances (see photos of the 1980s events at Audioculture). I also saw an APRA member recall that at that time APRA was " by Dickensian characters based in Wellington." Pop music was a minor part of the annual awards do, back then. 

Simon Grigg chimed in with this, from Bernie Allen who writes: "I note that there has been some discussion as to why there was no Silver Scroll awarded in 1981. On looking through my notes of meetings – I was, at that time, on the NZ APRA Music Committee and later on the committee of the Composer’s Foundation [NZCF] – I believe that it was that the handover of responsibilities for APRA grants was being transferred from one to the other. The APRA committee had been disbanded and the formalities of the set-up of the NZCF had not been finalised. It was likely that no money was available for such awards as the Silver Scroll in the set-up period."

A crowd shot with Eldred Stebbing at the front right, 1984 Silver Scrolls,
at Keeleys nightclub. Photo: Audioculture

More info from APRA on this year's awards:

The five songs in line for the APRA Silver Scroll Award are:

Dark Child, written by Tim Moore and Marlon Williams, performed by Marlon Williams
Get Out Alive, written and performed by Mel Parsons
Multi-Love, written by Ruban and Kody Nielson, performed by Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Water Underground, written and performed by Anthonie Tonnon
Yellow Flicker Beat, written by Ella Yelich-O’Connor and Joel Little, performed by Lorde

The five finalists for the 1981 APRA Silver Scroll Award are:

Counting the Beat, written by Phil Judd, Mark Hough, Wayne Stevens, performed by The Swingers
One Step Ahead, written by Neil Finn, performed by Split Enz
See Me Go, written by Tony Drumm, Peter Van Der Fluit, Michael O'Neill and Lawrence Landwer-Johan, performed by The Screaming Meemees
Tally Ho, written by David Kilgour, Hamish Kilgour, Robert Scott, performed by The Clean
No Depression in New Zealand, written by Don McGlashan and Richard von Sturmer, performed by Blam Blam Blam 

The finalists for the 2015 APRA Maioha Award, celebrating exceptional waiata featuring te reo are:

Aotearoa, written by Vince Harder, Stan Walker and Troy Kingi, performed by Stan Walker, Troy Kingi, Ria Hall and Maisey Rika
Ki Uta / Rangai Maomao, written by Ranea Aperahama, performed by Ranea.
Upokohue, written by Scotty Morrison, Paddy Free and Moana Maniapoto, performed by Moana and the Tribe.

Other awards to be presented on the night include The SOUNZ Contemporary Award, Best Original Music in a Feature Film and Best Original Music in a Series, the latter two being added to the awards last year.

All awards will be presented as a part of the 50th annual APRA Silver Scroll Awards, which will be held at Vector Arena on Thursday 17th September.

The awards for Most Performed New Zealand Works, both locally and internationally will also be presented on the night. As a part of the celebrations they will also be inducting Bill Sevesi into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame.
The awards will be streamed live via and the APRA AMCOS website

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