Jules Issa “Dangerous Game”

Jules Issa made a moody dance version of “Dangerous Game”, originally by New Zealand reggae band Diatribe. Peter at Dub Dot Dash has a bit about both.

It’s a very stylish music video. Similar to the look of Moana and the Moahunters videos, Jules is elegantly dressed in contemporary Maori fashion. She’s shot in a black studio, dramatically surrounded by carved pou, with subtly changing mood lighting.

In another setting, Jules is accompanied by the dramatic shadow of a man brandishing a taiaha, busting some mau rakau moves. (I’ve said ‘dramatic’ twice already; it’s a very dramatic video). In this setting, Jules is also joined by another warrior and two women who join her in dancing, everyone but Jules is lit in shadows.

So far it seems inspired by the video for Soul II Soul’s 1989 hit “Back to Life”, but we can’t stay cooped up with that groove forever. It’s out onto the streets, where Jules and three cool dudes are casually hanging around the back of a building, behind a chain-link fence – music video shorthand for gritty and urban.

I like what this video has done. In the early ’90s, formation dancing was very popular, and with this being a dance track, it makes sense to have dancing in the video. But rather than go for generic club moves, “Dangerous Game” digs deeper into the themes of the song and uses both traditional and contemporary Maori movement.

Best bit: the urban excursion, getting a bit of fresh air.

Director: William Roberts
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… February 1992: tuck in your t-shirt.