Archive for June, 2010

Knights of the Dub Table

Fearful for the future of his people, King Tubby sent his most trusted advisor to recruit the Knights of the DUB Table…who would honour and protect his way of life, and the way of the DUB (Dedication, Unity, Brotherhood).”
So reads The Greater Story of the Knights…

Link to article on nzmusician.co.nz : http://www.nzmusician.co.nz/index.php/ps_pagename/articledetail/pi_articleid/1896

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Anika Moa – Love in Motion

Anika Moa

Anika Moa in Action

(Published In Groove Guide May 2010)

Before beginning, I must congratulate Moa on her recent marriage to Burlesques artiste Azaria Universe -who, it turns out, was married by the same celebrant as myself. I only mention this because when I heard “I Am the Woman Who Loves You” I immediately understood the sentiments behind this song of first encounter. Moa’s claimed it was Azaria’s eyes that first grabbed her. And yes, mushy as that is I agree. But LOVE, folks, is what Moas new album in all about. And this time it really is very personal, to her, to you and to me.

After the sparsely dark Stolen Hill and the country-tinged In Swings the Tide the pop muse has returned and is in full residence – from the lullaby “Love Me Again” to the aerial “Secret and Lies”. And she’s backed by some fine artisans including Golden Horse’s Geoff Maddock, who shines radiant on “Running through Fire”. Moa’s really proving her dedication as she is on record, as on stage still utterly engaging.  

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Raashi Malik – Celestial Traveller

 
 
(Published in NZ Musician May 2010)

Raashi Malik

RaashiMalik

I’d been trying to get jazz/soul vocalist Raashi Malik in front of a microphone for nearly a month. First I cancelled, then she forgot. But third time lucky. Mrs Rhian Sheehan finds a window of time to pop in to my Wellington Radio station studios to talk about her new EP. In the background her step daughter, Niva doodles on the back of a flyer while her 2 year old son, Ridley rearranges the magazines in the bookshelf. Malik displays an almost sensual calm describing her life as a mix of parent, singer and working mum.
Her name mightn’t be common in households jut yet, but you’ve already heard her graceful, honeyed silken tones on tracks by Wellington super-dub band Rhombus, especially the singles “Tour of Outer Space”, and “So Close”.
Recently, Maalik’s worked her own project, a mix of soul fusion and traditional Indian folk. In 2006 she and Sheehan made one of several excursions to India to catch up with family and to record a couple of songs that really ached for collaboration. “People heard them and told me I should head to India, and track down some musicians to play on them. I’d thought ‘no way!’. But with the help of a (Creative New Zealand) Arts Board Funding for New Work it actually happened!”
“We travelled extensively throughout north and central India, including Rajasthan and Varanasi, but ended up recording in Mumbai, Delhi and Sikkim. We also gigged in Mumbai at an elite Elle Magazine India fundraiser at the ill-fated ballroom of the Taj Hotel in Mumbai (which was later bombed). It’s crazy to look back at footage and magazine photos of us there knowing what the future held in store!” We also played a 100 year old dao (Arab trade boat) on the Arabian sea. And a dance party Rajasthan desert under the threat of shutdown from officials, despite some handsome bribes!”
However, there was one highlight to top them all: when Sheehan proposed to Malik at the Taj Mahal. In the temple of the greatest love Story ever, how could she refuse?

Malik is a Kiwi, with Punjabi family ties, although “…most of us now live in Mumbai and Bhopal (known for the catastrophic Union Carbide gas disaster). Nowadays, it is difficult to tell that the city went through such a ghastly event…as it’s been totally rebuilt”

Malik spent 3 months in India recording six original tracks including an adaptation of a Nepali folk song, Ubo Jhada. “I was fortunate to work with Murad Ali who plays sarangi on Ubo Jhada (Sting, Anoushka Shankar) and Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Mumbai’s bansuri guru (famous for working with Jethro Tull), Partha Sarkar, Musarrat Ali, Praveen Sethi, Shailendra Kumar, and an 80+ Sajjad Ahmed. He tinkered along on the harmonium, slightly behind the beat but adding so much character to the music.” “The musicians were extremely proficient but found it difficult playing along with “songs” that had chord changes, etc because they were classically trained and used to playing a mode on a constant drone”.

“We owe a debt to our main conspirator in Mumbai, (ex-Wellingtonian) Jarrod Wood. Not only did he play but also helped find musicians, studios, gigs plus where to get a decent coffee or whisky!”

Back in Aotearoa Malik, Sheehan and the “meticulous ears” of Simon Rycroft (Rhombus) mixed and mastered the EP. Additional musicians were brought in on a couple of new tracks to flesh out the body of work. Thomas Voyce (Rhombus), Steve Bremner (Strike), Karnan Saba (soprano sax) ,Tim Beals. And vocalists Andy Hummel and Jess Chambers (Woolshed Sessions) add their dulcet tones.

The Raashi Malik EP is not the conclusion of any particular journey; more an open road. This is set of story-songs for the listener to revisit, drawing new conclusions and booking their own itinerary.

www.myspace.com/raashimalik

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Down Home Self Sufficiency

Farmer Pimp

Farmer Pimp Band Photo

(Farmer Pimp Interview Published in Groove Guide 19 April 2010) 

On line from Auckland, the band’s vocalist/co-writer, Claire Holmes, nails the essence of the band’s debut “Sweet Hot Pepper Pop”, due to hit April 26.
There’s a hardware store advert featuring kids in a sandbox discussing a crib wall job. The message: “Do it Yerself! DIY’s in our DNA!”. And that’s definitely the ethos behind Farmer Pimp.: Their debut is self written, self-performed, self produced and even collaborators are “self managed’ into the mix. Farmer Pimp prefers to maintain control. Recorded pronominally at Michel’s Grey Lynn studio, their sound, she says, is a unique blend of up-beat grooves, lush arrangements and bittersweet melodies. 

However, what first hits you is Shann Whitiaker’s stunning collage cover work, coupled with Regan Vause‘s elegant band logo. The scrapbook art deliciously sums up the album’s material. “Shan came up with this lush and layered effect with ‘pictures’ from the songs – like honey bees and robots”. 

“I like to think of the songs as little short stories”. And being authors of their own invention, were they always tinkering, always improving? “Forever. Hard to let go. But, as our friend David Holmes says – you never finish a record, you abandon it”. That said, it’s interesting to see where it go once released. Some music has already featured in the TV show Go Girls. “It’s interesting to see our stuff used in a different way to what was intended.” Holmes agrees the TV gig proved it has cinematic legs, as well as a record and stage presence. 

Musically, “…Pepper Pop” varies between saccharine-sweeties like “Disney Love”, “complete candy cane”, through to more avant-jazz numbers like “Pieces of Eight”. This is a song Holmes enjoys playing live “because the song changes direct mid-through. I like watching the audiences faces when that dawns on them. It takes you on a journey, you’re not sure where you’ll end up.” 

Formed 6 year’s ago whilst completing a Performing Arts Degree at Auckland University; Farmer Pimp is the creative partnership of Mark Michel and Claire Holmes along with conspirators John–Paul Muir (Keys) and Glen Child (drums). Prior to studying Holmes was living in Europe, and not especially thinking about a career in music despite her lineage (Her Aunt, Leonie Holmes is a well known classical composer, her father, John, plays in Jazz Show bands). Yet fate directed her hand and she found herself enrolled at AU. “As part of the course we were thrown together with other students to work on projects. Mark had this double bass. I loved the warmth of the bottom end (of its range) and that eventually became the backbone of our songs”. 

Their quizzical name comes from a dodgy tale about one of Michel’s relatives. Holmes giggles elusively when she explains “Mark had this great uncle who was a farmer and ‘things” came to light after his death about some alleged activities during WWII. We thought it was funny and a good name for a band”. 

Farmer Pimp - Sweet Hot Pepper Pop

Sweet Hot Pepper Pop

Applauded for their dynamic live shows, they’ve already checked the Big Day Out off the “to do list’ and are heading out again to launch the album in June, this time with extra tools in the box, including a brass section and strings to flesh out the sound. After all, when it come to live: Big is Good! 

Release Party: Auckland on Friday, April 23, at 4:20 on Karangahape Rd, Auckland at 8pm

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