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Gifford producing hymn book to help preserve culture

Matt Gifford is a busy and broad fellow. The bass of Musical Island Boys has undertaken an inspiring musical heritage preservation project:

After a month on Rarotonga researching for a project to publish a book of Penrhyn island hymns and folk songs – talented musician Matthew Gifford believes he can, with financial support, bring his project to life.Matt is of Penrhyn descent on his father Mehau Gifford’s side. The youngest son of Papa Charlie and Mama Tarani Gifford, he is passionate about the project he believes will take him two years to complete.Matt is also of New Zealand Maori descent on his mother Karen’s Ngati Kahungunu and Tuhoe tribes.Based in Wellington, Matt is also a member of the quartet ‘Musical Island Boys’, who won the world barbershop quartet contest in July in Las Vegas – the second team out of the USA to do so. There is no doubt the young Cook Islander is passionate about his home island and music and says that ultimate aim of publishing a book of Penrhyn island hymns and folk song to also including a CD of the hymns – is to preserve the rich culture of singing from the island for generations to come.“As a culture that relies on close-proximity and inter-generational oral transmission, these songs and their stories will not survive urban drift and the fragmented communities of Penrhyn Islanders,” says Matt.“This project is an attempt at capturing these songs and stories before the last of those who possess this cultural knowledge are gone forever.” via Hymn book to help preserve culture.