It’s been another great year for New Zealand music books, with at least eight new tomes published over the last twelve months. This total roughly matches the averages for the last few years (see 2013 and 2014), while being somewhat down on 2015’s bumper crop.
Popular music was the major theme of 2016 publications. Continue reading
Working with the music collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library, it’s often hard not to feel lost in time. The 10,000s of recordings held in the archive — including both commercial releases and unpublished recordings — date back a century or more, and it would take literally years to listen to them all. Continue reading
The last year has been extremely busy for moi, largely the result of taking up the position of the Alexander Turnbull Library’s Music Curator and also publishing The Heading Dog Who Split in Half. Exciting undoubtedly, but there’s also been little time left for off-duty notunlikeatrumpet research and writing. So here are some recent bits of writing published elsewhere that might be of interest, along with a couple of radio interviews. Continue reading
Last year saw postgraduate research into New Zealand music progress steadily. According to my searches of local university library catalogues, at least six doctoral and masters theses were completed in 2015. This number doubles my previous estimate of 2014 completions, although I have since discovered that another 2014 thesis slipped through my net. Continue reading
Next time you drive past the Arapuni Power Station on the Waikato River, spare a thought for the workers who constructed New Zealand’s first government-built hydroelectric scheme. Starting in 1924, the scheme took five years to complete then several more to correct some serious engineering issues. It is now the country’s oldest generating facility.
A community grew up at Arapuni to construct and service the power station and, as with many such small townships of the day, music-making was an integral part of social life. This included Continue reading
[Update 20 January 2016: added The right note: an insight into Tauranga’s historic music scene to the list.]
That was quick… Another year gone, another swag of New Zealand music books published and it seems that 2015 produced a bumper crop: fifteen new titles, over twice the number of 2014 and 2013. Continue reading
For those who missed the third Lilburn Lecture, delivered by Chris Bourke on 4 November 2015 at the National Library of New Zealand, or would like to listen again, Radio New Zealand have recently posted the audio online here.
Chris Bourke is the author of two major works on New Zealand music: a history of Crowded House, Something so strong (1997) and the multi-awardwinning Blue smoke: the lost dawn of New Zealand popular music 1918-1964 (2010). Since the 1980s, he has penned a large swathe of music journalism and more recently Continue reading
As readers of this website will know, my friend Mat Tait and I have been working for some years on a graphic novel, The Heading Dog Who Split in Half: Legends and Tall Tales from New Zealand, due for release by Potton & Burton next month. We have also created a website to complement the book: oldweirdnewzealand.wordpress.com. Please check it out (if you haven’t already)! Continue reading
Posters can throw a unique sidelight on the musical past. As well as conjuring up events, performers and venues long vanished, their pictorial elements and graphic design often convey a strong sense of the values of a particular music scene.
The poster collection of folksinger Phil Garland is the subject of my latest blog post for the National Library of New Zealand, ‘Folkies and flonkers’, co-written with Ephemera Curator Music, Barbara Lyon. Continue reading
In my recently published article about the historian James Cowan, I discuss the interest that a number of New Zealand journalists such as Cowan took in local vernacular music during the early decades of the twentieth-century.
These journalists included proprietor of the Auckland Star, Sir Henry Brett (1843-1927); newspaper editor John Liddell Kelly (1850-1925); children’s writer Mona Tracy (1892-1959); and Pat Lawlor (1893-1979), doyen of the Wellington literary scene. Another such individual, not mentioned in the article, was journalist, novelist and poet Iris Wilkinson (1906-1939), better known by her penname Robin Hyde.1 Through their work we have gained Continue reading