Christchurch Folk Music Club

Hera – at the Club – 17/9/06

Reviewed by Phillip Marshall
hera2
Hera graced the stage with a quiet confidence and surety in her performance. Her extensive touring and recording was evident in the strong delivery of her songs.

Hera’s Taylor 314CE cutaway guitar sounded bright and warm throughout the evening. Her playing was always solid, never detracting from the beauty of her lyrics or the subtlety in her vocal delivery. Most of Hera’s songs were accompanied with various plucking accompaniments on her guitar but she also showed great ompetency when using a driving strumming rhythm to support her more up-tempo songs.

Hera began the first set with a fun song called Sound Check before singing a song titled Sorry. This song displayed the beauty of her lilting voice and her ability to communicate emotions on a personal and universal level.

Angel By Her Side -– her brother’s favourite song – was another beautifully crafted tune and Fog Town (a Michelle Shocked cover) was well received by the audience. When singing traditional Icelandic tunes like Dalokofinn two things were immediately evident: first, Hera’s love and respect for her homeland and second, the simplicity and power of these songs to communicate with people of every race. Hera’s voice seemed to acquire a richer, mournful, wise quality when singing the traditional songs learned from childhood.

The first set was filled with other high quality songs including Adrian, Make-believe, Where is your Baby? and Nothing to Say. “Nothing to Say” was a great slap in your face break up song sung with a raw edge and brutal honesty.

The second set was full of highlights. Don’t Play This, according to Hera, the nastiest song she has written, was superb. Hera’s crystal clear lyrics were supported by a driving rock rhythm. Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now was delivered in a straightforward, unaffected manner.

A personal highlight for me was the song Here We Are. Hera’s voice was pure beauty and the bird sounds at the end of the song were beautifully entwined.

The songs Wings, Feathers in the Bag and Chameleon Girl showcased Hera’s ability to tell stories of personal experience and change through music. Itchy Palms is a great song. I thought Hera was at her absolute best during this song, relaxed, confident and with the audience in the palm of her hand.

Old Fashioned Girl and Dirty Old Town were both sung with a great sense of fun and enjoyment and it was good to see a performer not afraid to stop and change the key when it wasn’t working.

The Snowman is the only love song written by Hera, from the perspective of a broken hearted fifteen-year old. It was another example of her ability to communicate personal experience in song.

Hera finished the set with another traditional Icelandic tune and then The Devil in Me was requested as an encore. Hera let her voice go, showing real power and energy and this, combined with the driving rhythm of the Taylor guitar was pure magic. No one would have left the performance disappointed. Hera’s great enunciation and diction meant that the audience heard every word. Her repertoire of traditional, self penned songs and the occasional cover meant that there was something for everyone to enjoy and connect with. Thanks for a fantabulous evening. We are all pleased to have you living and performing in New Zealand.

Adam McGrath and Esther Swift Friday 21st February 2020

Adam McGrath and Esther Swift a night of contrast and exceptional musicianship. Esther from the Northern hemisphere brought grace, exquisite techniques that highlight her talented compositions juxtaposing against the raw energy of the Southern hemisphere boy, who...

read more

The Grainstore Sessions Tour,The Mitchel Family

Saturday 10th October 2020   Jenny Mitchell was on the road for the first time with a new show featuring her sisters, Nicola and Maegan, and Dad - Ron Mitchell. Jenny, Nicola, Maegan and Ron Mitchell concluded the first part of their South Island tour at the...

read more

Good Habits – 15 March 2020

There are times when with quiet dignity the unknown artists take the stage and hold my presence in the palm of their hand. Bonnie and Pete achieved this with compassionate decorum and a gentle understanding that what they were gifting us as an audience was truly...

read more

Online Mini Concert -17/05/2020

This night offered another opportunity to reconnect with friends, family and fellow folkies. We were treated to three heartwarming acts that brought light to our autumnal night. Locals Rosie Laing and Martin Kraakman, shared both poetry and musical tributes. Rosie's...

read more

Online Mini Concert – 19/04/2020

The inaugural online mini concert. As a way to continue to enjoy live music on Sunday night we will alternate with an online mini-concert 7-8.30pm and an online open mic 4-6pm. We were delighted to begin this series with three stunningly fabulous acts: SteffanyBeck,...

read more

Molly’s Remedy -25 August 2019

25th August 2019 A night filled with vibrant and soulful music, that was awarded a standing ovation from an extremely appreciate audience. Jamie Millar, shone as the opening act. Inspiration for Jamie was fostered from his childhood, from close family: including his...

read more

Hobnail 25th Anniversary “Boots and All” Tour

14th July 2019 In 2019 Hobnail celebrate 25 years of touring far, wide, and tirelessly throughout New Zealand. To mark the occasion they are embarking on a national tour and releasing a “Best Of” album showcasing tracks taken from their 7 studio albums, we were lucky...

read more

Jed Rowe, with Monique Aiken, 30 Sept 2018

The night opened with the returned to her home city after seven years proving her guitar and singing skills in the Wellington folk scene, was Monique Aiken Monique presented confidently bringing us her own songs eloquently crafted delivered with vocal...

read more

Review: The Beggarmen Fundraiser Concert

Reviewed by Tony Hale There is an octopus that has the ability to turn itself inside out; reviewing your own concert is a bit the same but I was asked a week later if there was a review and as not, here goes... Read More >>     The Christchurch Folk...

read more

Best Enemies – 7 July 2019

Fellowship fostered by music has been to the fore over the past months at the Folk Cub as the club celebrated 50 years of live acoustic music in November 2018. Seeing the friendships and collaborations over that weekend was truly awe inspiring, a testimony to the...

read more

Waimate Folk Festival, 31 May – 3 June 2019

Waimate Folk Festival at Gunns Bush, Waimate District, Canterbury from Friday 31st May to Monday 3rd June Where musicians both experienced and new from Christchurch, Dunedin, and everywhere in between and further afield. Came together for a weekend of music, dance and...

read more

The Long and Short of it: Danny Tawhiti and Iain Mitchell

21st July 2019 We welcoming back Mitch (Iain Mitchell) to the Christchurch Folk Club, he has treaded our boards before, as well as being a hard working President and committee member of the club. Mitch has been singing British Celtic music semi-professionally since he...

read more

The Muddy Mama Blues Band 26 August 2018

What a night we shared at the Folk Club on Sunday! From the moment the first few bars hit the air the audience was captivated by The Muddy Mama Blues Band. Lead singer Judi Smitheram showed great form, revelling in the mighty musicianship of her five-piece...

read more

The Ceilidh Dance 16 Sept 2018

A cèilidh is a traditional Scottish or Irish social gathering, where dance and music is the binding factor. The dancers were certainly bound in joy for the dance and the Monday Night Session Band brought music that was dance-able and enjoyable. The delight...

read more