Music with a message

University of Otago academic, songwriter and musician for the Verlaines Graeme Downes plays his guitar last night as he explores the composition of If They Cut Off My Hands, one of three songs on the Dunedin musical group's recently-released 10th album Dunedin Spleen.

This song pays tribute to Russian composer Dimitri Shostakovich, and also refers to US whistleblower Edward Snowden, now living in Russia.

The discussion, attended by more than 20 people, was part of Dr Graeme Downes: Is there music for words such as these?

Poetic fantasy and compositional process in three songs from Verlaines' Dunedin Spleen, one of a series of musical events staged at the Hocken Collections, in Anzac Ave, as part of New Zealand Music Month.

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