Kia oraWelcome to the website/blog of Dr. Michael Brown, a music researcher and writer based in Wellington, New Zealand.
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 … 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 … Continue reading
Very few English-language songs have survived from the heyday of the New Zealand gumfields in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries . So it was exciting last year to discover a long-forgotten gum-digging song using the text-searchable newspaper database, … Continue reading
[Update 8 July, 2014: links to other song sheets online added.] Because vernacular music is—virtually by definition—created in the spirit of informality rather than for posterity, any documentary traces left behind have special value for researchers. Such is the case … Continue reading