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Friday, March 24, 2017

2017 Wellington Jazz Festival

Click to see more
In the meantime here's a quick overview of the main acts coming to the festival.

Wednesday 7 June

Bill Frisell
Bill Frisell
The most innovative and influential jazz guitarist of the past 25 years.
Experience the quicksilver sound of “guitar genius” (SPIN magazine) Bill Frisell, performing his first-ever New Zealand show. A shining light of Americana, Seattle-based Frisell is “the most innovative and influential jazz guitarist of the past 25 years” (The Wall Street Journal) and has collaborated with some of the greatest musical artists of our time, including Elvis Costello, Brian Eno, Bono and Marianne Faithfull.

With Frisell joined by vocalist Petra Haden (The Decemberists, Beck, Foo Fighters), Thomas Morgan (double bass) and Rudy Royston (drums), you’ll revel in a sweetly dark and dreamy evening of reimagined cinema and TV soundtrack music from his 2017 Grammy Award-nominated album When You Wish Upon a Star.

Conjuring favourite memories alongside less-familiar moments of magic – from a brush with Bond to the drama of The Godfather and a love-laced Moon River – Frisell imbues these screen gems with a new sense of wonder and joy.

Sure to be an opening-night knock-out.

Thursday 8 June

Dave Weckl & Tony Lindsay
Dave Weckl & Tony Lindsay
Catch the jazz beat with one of the world’s greatest living drummers.
A regular performer with jazz great Chick Corea, Dave Weckl delivers every time, creating an “explosive” (All About Jazz) fusion of funk, rock and blues.

He’s joined by Grammy Award-winning Santana vocalist Tony Lindsay, Down Beat rising sax star Adam Schroeder, Mingus Big Band trumpeter Alex Sipiagin, and concert openers the New Zealand School of Music Big Band – Aotearoa’s premier student ensemble.
Friday 9 June

Dianne Reeves
Dianne Reeves
Make some soul time with one of the most-awarded female jazz vocalists of our time.
A sultry and soulful storyteller, her unique jazz stylings reflect a pure and heart-felt love of music. From R&B to pop, folk and rock – she owns them all with her lush, crystal-clear voice.

Experience the charisma, power and beauty of this five-time Grammy Award-winner, joined on stage by Peter Martin (piano), Romero Lumambo (guitar), Reginald Veal (double bass) and Terreon Gully (drums).

With collaborators ranging from all-time greats Harry Belafonte and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis to new guard Esperanza Spalding, Robert Glasper and Lalah Hathaway, Reeves is the true heir to Ella Fitzgerald’s queen of jazz throne.

A sure-fire Festival favourite in the making.

Saturday 10 June

Seoul Jazz: The Jac & Black String
Seoul Jazz: The Jac & Black String
Wellington meets world jazz in this exciting international premiere.
Cheer on home-town jazz heroes The Jac as they’re joined by South Korea’s Black String in the culmination of a year-long collaboration. This powerful night of in-the-moment magic melds Black String’s electrifying and explosive play on Korean musical traditions with the cinematic sound of these award-winning New Zealand talents.

“Triumphant” (London Jazz News) in their own right, four-piece Black String are making waves on the world music scene for their fresh and fiery jazz sound.

Meanwhile, “spine tingling” (New Zealand Musician) eight-piece The Jac are a freight train of pure musical energy, featuring members of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, The Troubles and the Richter City Rebels.

Be there as they forge a new Korean-Kiwi jazz genre.

The Comet is Coming
The Comet is Coming
Brace for impact with these futuristic space-jazz pioneers.
Fusing jazz, Afro-beat and electronica, The Comet is Coming are your Saturday night soundtrack to an imagined apocalypse, with members King Shabaka (Sons of Kemet, Melt Yourself Down), Danalogue and Betamax your cosmic guides.

These one-time Snarky Puppy openers are charting their own path in the spirit of legendary freestyle funksters Sun Ra, Frank Zappa and Jimi Hendrix, making last year’s prestigious Mercury Prize shortlist.

Book fast and get ready to dance like it's the end of the world.

Sunday 11 June

Bach Beat
Bach Beat
Master musicians blend the best of classical with the best of jazz.
Marvel as master musicians Michael Houstoun, on piano, and Rodger Fox blend the best of classical with the best of jazz. From a big band take on Bach to original music by Grammy Award-winning composer Bill Cunliffe, a swinging Sunday afternoon awaits.

Also featuring special guest appearances by American guitarist Chris Cain and Kiwi vocalist Erna Ferry.

Harold López-Nussa Trio
Harold López-Nussa Trio
Feel the heat in this upbeat Festival closer.
Globe-trotting Cuban charmer Harold López-Nussa brings the heat in this upbeat Festival closer.

A classical piano prodigy and Cuba National Symphony Orchestra soloist, López-Nussa made a late switch to jazz and has never looked back. He’s since collaborated with musical legends Chucho Valdés and the Buena Vista Social Club, and been picked up by New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center, Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London and the world-famous Montreux Jazz Festival.

Come sway the night away, and feel the energetic rhythms and magical melodies of this next-big-thing performing with Ruy López-Nussa (drums) and Julio César Gonzalez (guitar).

Click to see more

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

WOMAD Scrapbook

WOMAD 2017 Scrapbook

Hit & Run - New book about the SAS atrocities in Afghanistan

Jon Stephenson
“On 22 August 2010 New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) elements, operating as part of a Coalition Force in Bamyan province, Afghanistan conducted an operation against an insurgent group…
Nine insurgents (not 12 as reported) were killed in the operation which targeted an insurgent group in the area where Bamyan province borders neighbouring Baghlan province...
Following the operation allegations of civilian casualties were made. These were investigated by a joint Afghan Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Interior and International Security Assistance Force Assessment team, in accordance with ISAF procedures.
The investigation concluded that the allegations of civilian casualties were unfounded.”
New Zealand Defence Force - Media Release – 20 April 2011

Six years later, to the day, investigative reporter Nicky Hager and war Correspondent Jon Stephenson have released a book (Hit & Run: The New Zealand SAS in Afghanistan and the meaning of honour).  It reveals what they believe to be the truth behind the “tragic and disastrous SAS actions” and allege that “at least 21 civilians were killed or injured – many of them women and children.”  They have even recorded their names and documented their lives in the book, including 3-year-old Fatima, who was killed as her mother, carrying her, tried to dive for cover.
‘Although Fatima was only three years old she was already attending school,’ a local said. ‘She was very beautiful and intelligent. She was in her mother’s arms when a piece of shrapnel hit her head.’
‘Although Fatima was only three years old she was already attending school,’ a local said. ‘She was very beautiful and intelligent. She was in her mother’s arms when a piece of shrapnel hit her head.’

Fatima's house (central house in picture), which was badly damaged at the same time she was killed. Fatima had been carried a short distance behind and to the left of the house before she was killed in her mother's arms.
Fatima's house (central house in picture), which was badly damaged at the same time she was killed. Fatima had been carried a short distance behind and to the left of the house before she was killed in her mother's arms.
They also claim that the attack went further, leading to the blowing up and burning of at least a dozen houses by SAS and US forces and then later, a second village raid destroying more property before one single insurgent was caught.  He was handed over to the Afghan secret police and tortured. 
Hager also claimed in his press conference, held after the launch that the real insurgents, still very much alive, had actually attended the funerals of the civilians (from that 21).  This he said was recorded on video and sold to authorities.  He hadn’t seen the tape, he conceded.
This book, he said, was an investigation into the truth behind the story of these raids and the cover up that was conducted not only by the NZDF but also by The Defence Minister at the time, Wayne Mapp and the Prime Minister at the time, John Key, who had actually authorised the attacks by telephone. 
He made no bones about linking the connection between the raids and the recent death of a New Zealander, Lt Tim O’Donnell, who was killed by a roadside bomb in August 2010.  One journalist asked if this was a revenge attack that he was alluding to but he was careful not to answer this conclusively. 
Nicky Hager and the press
Hager said that he and Stephenson had been given the story, they hadn’t sought it out.  And that was one of the compelling reasons to pursue it.  Both Hager and Stephenson emphasised several times during the book launch that the book was based on ‘numerous and extensive interviews with people involved in these events, including New Zealand and Afghan military personnel as well as residents of the village.”  Hager did also add that he had not approached Key or Mapp for comment because he believed that although they may have known the truth they were not likely to reveal anything or even to reply in any way. 
Hager’s book was released today and will be available through most of the usual retail outlets including Unity Books.     

For more information go to

Article by Tim Gruar.

Monday, March 20, 2017

The vinyl revolution is a sham

According to NME:

Fans of large, unwieldy discs of black plastic rejoice, because last year vinyl sales reached a 25-year high in the UK, with over 3.2 million albums shifted on the pleasingly analogue format. I count myself as one of those very fans – see above as I casually enrage the purists and rub my grubby fingers all over a treasured Dolly Parton offering that I picked up for 50p and makes up part of my largely battered but very much beloved collection of second-hand records.

At first the recent boost in sales of brand new vinyl seems to be a glorious thing, with people embracing an old-school format as a stand against the constant digitisation of our consumption of music. But when you look at the 2016 data in detail, a weird pattern starts to emerge. David Bowie’s ‘Blackstar’ and Radiohead’s ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’ aside, the albums that populate the Top 10 are old, from The Stone Roses’ 1989 debut to Nirvana’s 1991 breakthrough ‘Nevermind’, Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 smash ‘Rumours’, Amy Winehouse’s 2006 ‘Back To Black’ and Bob Marley’s posthumous 1984 best-of, ‘Legend’. They’re all records that were – and remain – bestsellers; none of them have shifted fewer than four million copies, with most selling a hell of a lot more. Which brings us to the question: why are people buying albums that they most likely already have, be it on CD or through a download?

Is vinyl simply just the latest poser accessory, after beards, fixed wheel bicycles and literally anything with the word ‘craft’ in it? It’s not an entirely out-there assumption, especially considering the current popularity of vinyl frames, made for the express purpose of locking up your records and placing them on the wall, which makes them pretty difficult – even impossible – to then play. The stats seem to back the theory up; last year the BBC published a survey that stated half the people who purchase vinyl have no intention of ever playing it, while seven per cent of vinyl buyers don’t even own a record player. It’s a bit like buying a bunch of flash new workout gear when you know full well that you’re going to spend the next few months on the sofa eating Deliveroo and watching back-to-back episodes of The OA.

The fact that all vinyl now comes with a ‘download code’ seems to suggest that even record labels know that their releases are unlikely to get much love on the turntable. Add to this a new wave of unreliable record players that don’t cost much more than the actual vinyl, on which records sound, well, a bit s**t, and you’ve hardly got the makings of a real vinyl revolution. Here’s to things changing in 2017 though – and to people actually playing the records that they buy.

WOMAD 2017 - 9Bach

Below are some photos taken by McKenzie Jennings-Gruar.  Kenz also interviewed 9Bach's Lisa and Martin for  We've included a link to her IV here, too.  Enjoy.

14-Year-Old McKenzie Jennings-Gruar Interviews 9Bach at WOMAD 2017

Mckenzie Jennings-Gruar interviewing Lisa and Martin from 9Bach
This is their video: 9Bach - Pa Le? (Live on Ochor Un)

9Bach formed in 2005 thanks to a chance meeting between Welsh singer-songwriter Lisa Jên (also known for her collaborative work with Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys) and English guitarist Martin Hoyland. With their unmistakable sound of Welsh language vocals shimmering alongside swamp guitar, harp, rhythm section and a subtle use of technology, 9Bach have been widely credited with giving a new voice to Welsh song. Their second album, Tincian, was described by The Line of Best Fit as “ripped through with transcendence; a brooding melancholy as much as a gossamer dreaminess”, and was voted Best Album at the 2015 BBC Radio 2 Awards by the public. Their new album Anian is a soulful, brooding record whose songs take a critical look at the world in which we live.

Anian: Welsh word meaning nature, the natural order, natural morality, the natural world, creation. What you are made of, your soul and bones, and how you connect with other people.

Lisa Jen - Photographed by McKenzie Jennings-Gruar

Mirain - Photographed by McKenzie Jennings-Gruar

Lisa Jen - Photographed by McKenzie Jennings-Gruar

WOMAD 2017 - Hot 8 Brass Band

Below are some photos taken during the weekend.
WOMAD 2017 - New Plymouth.
All photos by Mckenzie Jennings Gruar.
These are from the Hot8 Brass Band's Show.
The band played two stellar shows on the Bowl and Gables Stages, With their hip-hop bent and their funky styles they made brass cool and 'street'.  These guys were wicked.  We've included a bit of a bio below and a youtube clip. Scroll on down and get on down!

Hot 8 Brass Band - Photo by Mckenzie Jennings-Gruar

For over 20 years one of the most popular and visible funk-style brass bands in community parades and funerals has been the Hot 8 Brass Band. In 1996 sousaphone player Bennie Pete was instrumental in merging two former Fortier High School student groups, the High Steppers and the Looney Tunes Brass Bands, to form the Hot 8. The players grew up together and maintain strong, family-like bonds and regular membership. Most of them were born between 1975 and ’87 in a generation that grew up hearing mainly modern-style brass bands in community functions. The band can be larger than many younger groups often featuring ten members, including three trumpets, three trombones, tuba, bass drum, and snare drum. As is common among some more modern groups, the Hot 8 uses only one reed player and like most of the younger bands, the Hot 8’s funk style is a blend of influences from the Dirty Dozen and Rebirth, with more elements of contemporary r&b, rap, and its local variation, “bounce.” The uniqueness of their sound is mainly due to a steady stream of creative original songs and ideas composed or introduced by various band members. Since the Dirty Dozen, the sousaphone has had a more prominent role in brass bands as a feature and solo instrument; it frequently sets up and maintains short rhythmic (often melodic) grooves that dominate and propel most songs in the band.

The story of the Hot 8 Brass Band has been one of tragedy and triumph. Over the years the Hot 8’s ranks have been decimated by the deaths of four original members due to street violence and illness. Hurricane Katrina was a life-altering turning point; after being evacuated, displaced, and scattered across the country, the band regrouped and began touring the United States to encourage and support other displaced Katrina victims and promote New Orleans’ recovery. After also performing abroad, they opened on tour for popular r&b singer Lauren Hill for six months. The Hot 8 was featured in two Spike Lee documentaries, When the Levees Broke (2006) and If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise (2010), bringing them a measure of national exposure that has helped to fuel a steady touring schedule. The band has recorded two of its own CDs and one with the Blind Boys of Alabama. In 2012 the band put out an autobiographical CD, Life and Times of the Hot 8, and a music video over the backdrop of a Katrina-damaged city, Ghost Town.          

Long-term displacement across the country helped members of the band realize just how unique and special New Orleans culture is, which in turn inspired their desire to learn more about the history, sound, and style of earlier brass bands. Hot 8 manager Lee Arnold and leader Bennie Pete approached me about doing a series of workshops with the band; we watched videos, listened to recordings, talked, and rehearsed. The result was a series of concerts in which the band included traditional songs and explored long-forgotten concepts like three-part trumpet harmonies and volume shifts. A continuous fraternal relationship between the Hot 8 and me has led to some members playing on traditional gigs. Our early collaborations were re-created in a segment featured in the third season of HBO’s series Treme, in 2012.

Here's a taste of what we saw at WOMAD: The Hot 8 Brass Band with Ladies And Men of Unity - 'Poppa Was A Rolling Stone'

More WOMAD photos:

Hot 8 Brass Band - photo by McKenzie Jennings-Gruar
Hot 8 Brass Band - Photo by McKenzie Jennings-Gruar

Hot 8 Brass Band - Photo by McKenzie Jennings-Gruar
Hot 8 Brass Band - Photo by McKenzie Jennings- Gruar
Add caption

 Hot 8 Brass Band - Photo by McKenzie Jennings-Gruar

 Hot 8 Brass Band - Photo by McKenzie Jennings-Gruar

 Hot 8 Brass Band - Photo by McKenzie Jennings-Gruar

Add caption Hot 8 Brass Band - Photo by McKenzie Jennings-Gruar

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Record Store Day 2017

This year, Southbound Distribution has over 300 officially-endorsed Record Store Day vinyl releases that have been offered to records shops throughout New Zealand for the 10th Anniversary of Record Store Day on Saturday, April 22nd.

For ten years, Record Store Day has celebrated the unique culture of record stores worldwide. This is a day for people who make up the world of the record stores - the staff, the customers, and the artists - to get together and celebrate the unique culture of a record store and the special role these music outlets play in their communities. 
This is a day to enjoy buying local, listen to music, chat to the staff and other customers, to get something special for your collection, or even, to buy your first record!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

WOMAD Headliners - The Specials


If you were 12 in 1979, the Specials were easy peasy lemon squeezy the greatest band on the planet. The sort of band you can't quite imagine not existing before. Of course, style over substance is any easy sell in the pop charts, and you have to assume that the vast majority of the millions of catalogue rude boy clones who cat walked the shithole of Britain’s high streets over the following few years were fashion victims of the lowest order (check Stereotypes or Do Nothing for the bands response). The difference being that, perfectly packaged as they were, the Specials were substance wrapped in checkerboard. Who else could mention the Irish Republican Army and the Ulster Defence Association in a dance track? It turns out I, and millions of others, nailed our colours to the right mast at the time, and try as I might I still can't find a single chink in the armour of The Specials legacy.

First, they looked f....n great. If you weren't there, Britain was transformed into a mail order version of The Wailin Wailers album cover almost overnight, though it probably didn't know it at the time. Before the birth of the woeful sports casual, the working class dressed up for the weekend and the easily attainable and striking evocation of mid 60's Jamaica was too irresistible for those who founds punks sartorial alienation just that bit too alienating.

Plus, how many record label designs will ever be a iconic as the fictional Walt Jabsco effortlessly cooling on every two tone label? A generation of trend followers spent the next year desperately trying to look as cool as a cartoon and usually ended up as a poor mans Mickey Pearce from Only Fools And Horses, but their hearts were in the right place.

Secondly they sounded f....n great. Musicians aside, and if you're listening to musicianship you're not hearing a band, that contrast between Terry’s pained self conscious proselytizing and the manic party time antics of Lynval and Neville either side have only ever been equalled by Public Enemys Chuck D and Flava Flav. And never bettered.

It was the music, rather than the look, that pinned my mind back; a lifetime of joyous Ska appreciation began with that first album, and the subsequent realizations that Stupid Marriage was a superior take on Prince Busters various Judge Dread outings, Too Much Too Young was a vastly superior rewrite of the rather childish humour of Lloydie and the Lowbites "Birth Control" and that Enjoy Yourself from album two was first a pop hit in 1949 ! And yet it all sounded so new. And still does.

The most welcome by product of the Specials shaking up the nation was, for me, the steady stream of Bluebeat reissues and rebirth of Buster and Laurel Aitkens careers. And rack your brains for a classier act than using Rico Rodriguez as the Trombone player on A Message to You Rudy, 12 years after he'd weaved his magic on Dandy Livingstone's original version.

Thirdly, they thought f....n great. In an age where teenage girls called Kate or Katie clog up the airwaves with songs about boyfriend trouble, (and that age is always), a number one about birth control seems highly unlikely. And it did then. Add to that, a first tour supporting the Clash, their own label which proportionally was more about others than them, launching Madness, launching The Selector before they even existed, that Two Tone episode of Top Of The Pops, the tour that introduced the non ska wonders of Dexys Midnight Runners to a generation, a faultless and thoughtful back catalogue, opening barely formed minds to racial tolerance, their constant defiance of the ever present National Front and very much under staying their welcome, I defy anyone to find a criticism worth mentioning.

Click here for heaps more music and memories...

A new website about books

Well... not entirely new. is a site about New Zealand books, where you the reader can write the review.  The site has peer reviews - moderated by the editors - and recommendations.  The really great thing is that the site is for children and young adults, encouraging them to read and write about what they love.  How cool is that?  There's even a page on how to write a good review.  Groove readers and listeners should check it out but keep reading our reviews, too.  Of course you will.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

And yet more videos from upcoming artist - WOMAD 2017

Sinkane - U'Huh

With a falsetto voice drifting over driving beats and layered synth lines, the compelling sound of Sinkane defines Ahmed Gallab’s journey from a childhood in London and Sudan to Brooklyn, where his music took flight. His style-hopping sonic influences embrace Afrobeat, pop and soul grooves and the result is a seamless and seductive cross-cultural mesh.

Mt Eden
 Out of their teenage bedrooms, Mt Eden are now working with some of the biggest artists and producers in the game. Expect them to fire up their trademark extended build-ups, drum solos, double and triple drops as Mt Eden take crowds to the peak and tip them over the edge again and again.

Marlon Williams
Described by the guardian as delicious, oddly uplifting misery, Marlon William’s is New Zealand’s acclaimed folk and country singer making deep waves overseas. A veteran singer songwriter at the age of 25, Williams found his calling as a child growing up in Lyttelton, New Zealand. He is known for his ability to truly inhabit his material blurring the distinctions between classics and his own works.

Mercedes Peon
Mercedes Peón is a one-woman musical hurricane who has single-handedly revived the traditional music of Galicia in northern Spain. A true original, Peón has painstakingly collected the songs of the region and experimented with them, unleashing them live in a dramatic solo show on stage, with an armoury of instruments and effects on hand. 

Warsaw Village Band
Formed in 1998 as a defiant musical gesture against mass market mentality, this wild and adventurous seven-piece group proudly embraces Polish folk traditions, but with a thrilling and raw edge.  Using old instruments rarely heard in modern music, their most recent album also draws influences from India, Persia and Spanish Galicia.

More videos from bands and artists coming to WOMAD 2017

The Hot 8 Brass Band - 'Sexual Healing (Official Video)' [Marvin Gaye Cover]
Direct from the streets of New Orleans, the raucous and joyful Hot 8 Brass Band has re-cast traditional marching band jazz with funk, R&B and hip-hop. Over 20 years of leading community parades, funeral processions, street parties and concerts, the band has endured great tragedies, including the violent deaths of several members and Hurricane Katrina, but they have emerged triumphant.

Live - Inna Modja "Boat People" - 2016
Having been encouraged to sing by Salif Keita, the multi-talented Inna Modja is carving out a unique path on the world stage.  Her music is an alluring mix of desert blues, electronica and hip-hop with hard-hitting lyrics, set to a flawless groove.  She is outspoken on many of the injustices facing African women but, ultimately, hers is a powerful and positive vision for the future.

Lord Echo - Molten Lava (Official Music Video)
New Zealand producer and multi instrumentalist Lord Echo (aka Mike Fabulous) has been flexing his dual-mastery of 60's production techniques and modern dancefloor aesthetics for over a decade now, through a flowing blend of boogie-laced Funk, disco-primed Reggae, futuristic Soul, and timeless African rhythms.

Nattali Rize & Julian Marley - Natty Rides Again
Best known as the dynamic front woman of roots favourites Blue King Brown, the ever-evolving Nattali heads up this new-conscious reggae project.  With a renewed focus and energy after spending time living in Jamaica, Nattali and her Jamaican-international band are ready to unleash their debut album of uplifting and thought-provoking music.

Parov Stelar - Booty Swing
Austria’s electro-swing band Parov Stelar, fronted by singer Cleo Panther, will make their New Zealand debut exclusive to WOMAD NZ.  Their insanely catchy music that has been used in advertising campaigns across the world with joyous horns and sophisticated style, has the sass and panache of 1920s cabaret, with modern-day dance floor appeal.

Check out these new videos from feature bands coming to WOMAD this weekend

9Bach - Llyn Du (Official Video)
Lisa Jên’s ethereal vocals in Welsh and 9Bach’s exquisite arrangements, fusing traditional harp, dulcimer and guitar with heady bass, saw them take out the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Best Album in 2015.  With three albums under their belt, 9Bach’s moody, otherworldly sound has also seen them win a big fan in Peter Gabriel.

Ana Tijoux - 1977

Ana Tijoux is the standard bearer for rap en Español, breaking down barriers between generations, voices and cultures and speaking out against injustice. Her hybrid sound captures where the street meets tradition, tough yet tender, political yet celebratory. Since the late 1990s, she has won acclaim throughout Latin America and Europe, especially for her signature albums 1977 and Vengo.

 BAYNK - Could You [Official Music Video]

BAYNK has been credited with being the sound of a new generation. His bass-heavy electronic tunes and stage presence get even the most sedentary bodies dancing. His story of accidental fame is an entertaining one, rising to fame after uploading a mix to soundcloud. His premiere performance was at St Jerome’s Laneway festival in February 2016 and he’s since garnered a staggering online following in NZ and overseas.

Emir Kusturica & The No Smoking Orchestra Live In Buenos Aires 

Fronted by controversial filmmaker Emir Kusturica, who has twice won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, this feisty 11-piece Serbian band couples anti-globalist messages with wild, eclectic music. Drawing influence from frantic Balkan rhumba and hot gypsy rhythms, the No Smoking Orchestra’s loveable, dishevelled sound fuses dancing with passionate beliefs.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

HarperCollins Publishers Celebrates Its 200th Anniversary

Announcing the Harper Collins 200 Anniversary Website,, to Showcase History

HarperCollins Publishers, one of the world’s largest consumer book publishers, today announced a global campaign celebrating two centuries of publishing in commemoration of the company’s 200th anniversary. The centrepiece of the yearlong celebration is a website,, that showcases HarperCollins’s storied history and influence on readers of all ages around the world.

‘We’re excited to celebrate this milestone anniversary and give thanks to the employees, authors, librarians, booksellers, and consumers who’ve been instrumental in helping HarperCollins become a part of the global literary culture over the last 200 years,’ said Brian Murray, CEO of HarperCollins Publishers. ‘Our goal today is unchanged from what our founders set out to achieve two centuries ago—to help authors and their works reach their fullest potential and widest readership. We hope to continue to entertain, educate, and inspire generations of readers for centuries to come.’

‘We are proud of the provenance of HarperCollins and the works of our great writers and editors that have echoed through the centuries and will resonate for centuries to come,’ said Robert Thomson, chief executive of News Corp, of which HarperCollins is a subsidiary. ‘For HarperCollins, the past is a prelude to a profoundly successful future.’

James Kellow HarperCollins Australia & New Zealand CEO said, ‘We are incredibly proud of our global literary history. 200 years of publishing is an incredible achievement. We are no less proud of our local contribution as one of New Zealand’s oldest publishing companies. The company opened its doors in New Zealand in 1888 and over the years has contributed generously to the country’s literature with authors as diverse as Ngaio Marsh and Margaret Mahy, and books such as Delinquent Days by John A Lee, and Peter Mahon’s Verdict on Erebus.

We love a good story, we care passionately for writers and readers, and we look forward to upholding this fine tradition into the future.’

HarperCollins, the publisher of Mark Twain, the Brontë sisters, Thackeray, Dickens, H. G. Wells, Agatha Christie, J. R. R. Tolkien, George R.R. Martin, C. S. Lewis, Banjo Patterson, Henry Lawson, May Gibbs, and many more, has a long and rich history, which book lovers can interact with via a wide array of exclusive content available now at Visitors to the site can delve into the literary heritage of HarperCollins, and will discover everything from images of captivating artefacts from the company’s archives, to a collection of iconic HarperCollins books, to short stories that illustrate significant moments in the company’s history.

Content will also be shared on the company’s global social media accounts, and readers everywhere are invited to join the conversation online using #hc200.

The anniversary website includes five key sections:

The HarperCollins 200

Curated with the help of booksellers and librarians from around the world, The HarperCollins 200 is a global collection of 200 iconic HarperCollins titles—beloved books that have inspired, informed, entertained, and endured. Titles from the collection, published by HarperCollins divisions around the world, include:

Moby-Dick (Herman Melville, 1851)

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis, 1950)

Charlotte’s Web (E. B. White, 1952)

The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho, 1993)

A Game of Thrones (George R. R. Martin, 1996)


Journey through key moments in HarperCollins history, from its humble beginning as a small printing business in New York City to its current role as a global publishing powerhouse operating in 18 countries.


These short snippets delve deeper into significant moments in HarperCollins history, lending further detail to noteworthy moments, innovations, and authors in the company’s evolution.

Inside the Archives

This collection of high-resolution images of artifacts from the HarperCollins archives includes original story notes from authors; correspondence between HarperCollins executives and authors; vintage photographs; original manuscripts; and first editions. Highlights include: a sympathy telegram to Coretta Scott King the day after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; a letter from Agatha Christie sharing her opinions on a publicity blurb and her book cover; and an original sketch suggested by Syd Hoff for Danny and the Dinosaur.

Why I Read

HarperCollins asked its authors from around the world why they write, why they read, and what books have influenced them. Dozens shared their thoughts, including Jackie French, Richard Fidler, Tara Moss, and Donna Hay. Visitors to the website will also be encouraged to join the conversation and share their own experiences and passion for reading via social media using the hashtag #hc200.

The website will be a springboard for activities created by local teams across the globe and designed to bring the 200th anniversary to life in each market. They include a campaign to support literacy and reading, charity projects, and an exhibition of historical items at the Columbia University Rare Book and Manuscript Library in New York City.

Friday, March 03, 2017




Today, GRAMMY® Award-winning multiplatinum chart-dominating artist LORDE returns with her new single ‘Green Light.’

Produced by Lorde, Jack Antonoff and Frank Dukes, ‘Green Light’ heralds the impending arrival of LORDE’s second full-length album and follow-up to 2013’s triple-platinum Pure Heroine.

The video for ‘Green Light’, which was directed by Grant Singer (The Weeknd, ZAYN | Taylor Swift, Phantogram) – is also available now on VEVO, watch it HERE.

Below is one of several recent 'teasers' to build up momentum for the release: 

Lorde is also set to perform ‘Green Light’ on Saturday Night Live on March 11th.

In 2013, a 16-year-old LORDE quietly, yet confidently asserted herself as the voice of a generation with her full-length debut, Pure Heroine. The album would go triple-platinum in the US, win two GRAMMY® Awards, and spawn the seven-times platinum record-breaking international juggernaut single, ‘Royals,’ and quadruple-platinum follow up ‘Team.’ The former cemented LORDE as “the youngest solo artist and the only New Zealander to achieve #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 since 1987.” Time exalted her amongst the “Most Influential Teenagers in the World,” she landed on Forbes’s “30 Under 30” List, graced the cover of Rolling Stone and performed alongside Nirvana during the 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. She also curated the official soundtrack for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 and recorded ‘Yellow Flicker Beat’ as the lead single.

This year, LORDE makes her anxiously awaited return with the new single ‘Green Light,’ marking the first taste of new music that will set the tone for her highly anticipated performances at marquee festivals including Coachella, Governors Ball, and Bonnaroo.