Christchurch Folk Music Club

Ngā pou taonga puoro o Aotearoa NZ Music landmarks: special songs – 28 May 2023

Music taonga was promised and that is what was surely delivered. A night where the performers made passionate choices of their favourite songs and gave passionate performances. Winning local talent, award winning songs, all made this a winning night. Opening the night with waiata were Danni and Hoodz, new to the Folk Club, however experienced performers which showed with their smooth delivery, harmony, onstage ease and fluent Te reo, which was a welcome addition to their songs. Just when I thought the song was over the duo would then incorporate a verse in articulate Maori. This was heart-warming and totally supported the foundation of our Aotearoa musical traditions, waiata upheld and honoured. Danni made the song Bathe in the Water sound effortless, showing her range and vocal dynamics. Danni works as a music educator in North Canterbury, have been informed that she is a real asset to the community, and this ability shone throughout their set. Brian Clarke, admitted it was a challenge to hone his wide repertoire of New Zealand favourites down to four, and he chose some real highlights. The Cattlestops song, Brian asked if they have made it to the club, and Andrew London is a firm favourite at the club for his exceptional songwriting, so a very apt choice. Another song that is one of Brian’s favourites “Anchor Me”, personifies Brian’s stage presence, anchored in onstage presence, well founded on his guitar playing, and taking the song on wholeheartedly, and he was truly believable in his delivery of this and all his song choices. The second half opened with a spell-bounding version of Tihori mai te rangi by the Saffron Sisters, the room went quiet as everyone in the room was captivated, from the opening te reo count by Kristian settled the air for the soaring fireflies to flicker and engage the audience. Frances, Kristina and Mary enthusiastically gave their songs the harmony sparkle, as the three of them wove a sense of magic into each song. The other highlight of their set was the final number, the zany, light and bubbly Blue Beat, this had the crowd dancing on their seats, a sign of enjoyment and the encouragement to sing the chorus was certainly met with gusto. Three wahine toa, bringing confident music to the night. Port Hillbillies concluded the night. Their banjo player Steve Stern fulfilled many roles over the night, sound, stage, compere and performer, of which he ably fulfilled and then added another bonus: a sense of humour, wearing shorts, singlet and gumboots for the John Clarke classic of that name. This trio enlivened the tunes they chose with some fine bluegrass sounds, the Gumboots song seemed to be coming to the inevitable conclusion then segwayed into an intricate arrangement with spatial interest, this received a justified and resounding applause. The concluding song for the night may be considered one of New Zealand’s most notable and shared songs as it went viral over Tik Tok with over 21 million views, the sea shanty Wellerman became epic, and a very appropriate song to finish the night on with a song that shows the influence New Zealand music has made internationally. Thank you to the harmony from the audience, always great to hear. We wish the Port HIllbillies well as they head south to perform in Oamaru on Thursday night, Friday night a concert in Gore for the Gold Guitars and then Gary leading the ceilidh at Waimate Folk Festival. This night summarises the outstanding talent we are entertained by at the Folk Club, musicians with a great depth of musicianship imbued in the skills that are offered. It is such nights where our local talent exemplifies excellent proficiency and presenting great entertainment. -Judi Smitheram President/Secretary

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