Upper Hutt Posse “Stormy Weather”

1991-upper-hutt-posse-stormy-weatherLet’s go back to April 1991, the very first NZ On Air music video funding round. When I started 5000 Ways, I could only find two of the three videos in this found. But it turns out that four days after I posted the entry saying the “Stormy Weather” video wasn’t online, it was uploaded to YouTube by its director, Upper Hutt Posse frontman Dean Hapeta. Nice one!

“Stormy Weather” starts provocatively with footage of riot police, which I’m guessing was from the Springbok Tour protests. We discover D Word is watching this on his TV. It affects him deeply, prompting him to pick up a Sharpie and notepad and make a list of the troubles of the world.

The video is made with a green screen, with members of the Posse performing against scenes of global strife. Nuclear bombs, Bastion Point, troubles in the Middle East, the KKK, bombs over Baghdad – these are a few of my least favourite things.

But despite all this strong imagery, the song itself is laid back, with the ever-popular “Funky Drummer” drum loop and a particularly smooth chorus courtesy of Teremoana Rapley’s silky vocals. And it’s just as well. With lyrics like “I got a real strong fear, you know, that things will only get worse”, there needs to be a little sweetness.

Despite the international influences in the song, it’s a very New Zealand video and it seems a perfect choice for being one of the first three videos to receive NZ On Air funding.

Best bit: the really nice handwriting on the list of troubles

Director: Dean Hapeta
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Upper Hutt Posse “Ragga Girl”

Girls of the world, do you love the ragga? Upper Hutt Posse like girls who like the ragga and have gone on a musical mission to inform the world of this.

The video takes part at an impromptu performance by la Posse down a graffiti-covered alley. The MC and his trio of backup singers have attracted a substantial audience of ragga-loving girls. There’s a lot dancing. The ragga girls are really digging it.

The camera work is based around a ton of crash zooms, which gives the video a hand-held, “Breaking the Waves” feel. Take that, Lars von Trier – Upper Hutt Posse did it first.

My favourite part of the song is when Teremoana sings that ragga “make me feel so irie”, except the way she sings it sounds like “make me feel so irate”.

I wish Upper Hutt was really like this. Instead of the half-tenanted mall and lunch bars with white bread sandwiches in plastic compartments, instead you could wander down a dark alleyway and come across a crowd of cheerful, smiling people, getting down to rap group, the world alive with music.

Best bit: the woman wearing a gold flat-top hat with giant black polka dots on it.

Director: Dean Hapeta
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… a look back at Pat and his sister’s old group.