Monday, July 23, 2007

From Wellington

From Barnsey:

"Dear all nz-folk,

"Firstly some breaking news - Tim van Eyken has had some great news in that he has been offered a part in the National Theatre Christmas production. It's a direction he has been wanting to go in for some time, however as it means solid work from August through February he won't now be able to attend our festival this year. So we're following up a couple of options and will let you all know what eventuates.

Tim is re-arranging his flights to come out next year instead, and hopes to be able to be in the country rather longer. Secondly, get booking for the festival to take advantage of the earlybird discount and especially if you want bunks. Go to the website and go to the Registration page. I'm looking forward to seeing lots of you there...

Cheers, David

Friday, July 20, 2007

Website Rant

From the nz-folk list, Jo Foster writes:

"I am going to offend at least one person without doubt but it has to be said. I keep coming across club pages, individuals websites, and a plethora of others just like this

"If you have a website advertising your group club or event take the time to build a reasonable quality homepage. A hastily erected homepage with broken links half completed pages, cute but unreadable fonts and backgrounds, full of moving graphics, files and links which dont work are detrimental to the growth and wellbeing of your organisation.
People use search engines, when they look for a band name in a certain area and you have a website or a homepage with details on that band, your site will be somewhere on the top of the search list, take the time and the care to do it properly. If your site is not up to scratch, fix it. It doesnt have to be fancy, it has to be not broken. There are thousands of guides and templates available online, if html in its raw form scares you, use your word processor.
A simple well laid out website is by far much better than a website with graphics leaping all over the place, a giant watermark in the background, 3 year old details to people who have either passed away or moved, and a bunch of broken links. Forget cute javascript popups - just about every user these days has a popup blocker of some sort, forget anything difficult to use, many users have difficulty (believe me - helpdesks are a real eye opener on skill levels).

"To the outside world this is your advertising, your personality. People will judge your organisation based on your website, if no one has the time keep it as simple and as dateless as possible, add a photo gallery for interest, and encourage members to submit photos. If you cant dedicate time do not put information online that can become dated quickly."

Mike adds:

"When I'm putting together publicity for festivals or concerts I go to the artists' websites and look for some quotable text. Often I find their gig information, latest blog entry (aimed at people who know them, i.e preaching to the choir) or quirky flash files which are not pasteable into my document. You'd be amazed at how many sites have the most useful text as a graphic file.

"What I'm looking for is a succinct description of the artist and what they've done, that will be informative to someone who has never heard them before. It's lovely to have an interactive website for your fans but unless you're catering for the first-time visitor and providing useable copy for promoters, you're wasting your webspace."

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Songwriters' Workshop Online

During New Zealand Music Month (May 2007) I was invited to give a workshop at a seminar run by the NZ Songwriters' Trust. I was also invited to be one of the judges for their original song awards. I have reconstituted the workshop here as a series of web pages.

I was in the highly auspicious company of Don McGlashan, perhaps our greatest ever songwriter. It was a privilege to see his presentation, to see how he writes, where he gleans his ideas from and how he draws inspiration from the seemingly ordinary and mundane.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Cafe Culture Downunder

CoffeeGeek - Cafe Culture Downunder - explains why we in NZ have become such coffee snobs and why we can't find a decent cup of coffee when we go overseas!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Wellingtonians: The Singers' Club Needs You!

June Sizzled at The Singers’ Club!

Our superb guest line-up of Darren Watson plus Bob Cooper-Grundy with Kate Marshall turned up the heat and gave a full house a truly memorable evening of music that had Upper Cuba Streetjumping, despite the winter chills.

However, there will be no Singers’ Club in July! We’re taking a Mid-Winter Break to catch our breath; get ourselves organised and do some recruiting.

We have lost two of our original Residents, Alistair and Catriona, and we can’t function properly with just the two of us remaining to run the club, run the sound and stage and host the evening. Not to mention the odd performance, which is the object of the exercise!

So we are actively looking for one or two new Residents to help us. Ideally (but not necessarily), musicians, who are easy going, with a passion for live acoustic music. They should also have a small talent for organisation and a big sense of humour. We do this for fun!

There’s not a huge amount to do. We’re well set up and we have a full Programme of Guests organised out to the end of the year and the venue and the audience to support the Club. So contact us now as we need you urgently. 021 253 8996

We’ll update you about August and any changes or news nearer the time by Newsletter; and we’ll update the webpage

But, don’t despair, there will be live music at The Roxy on Tuesday July 31st.

Bob McNeill is in concert at the Café on that night (see below for details), so keep the last Tuesday of the month programmed in your diaries for great live acoustic music.

As ever, if you don’t want to get news about the Singers’ Club, just send us an email with ‘I don’t want this stuff!’ in the subject line. J

The Singers’ Club Residents:
Tony Hillyard & Tracey Haskell

For regular news about who’s playing at the Singers’ Club on the Last Tuesday of every month, go here:

If you’re interested in playing at the Singers’ Club contact Tony Hillyard:
021 253 8996 or:

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Phil Garland seeks Kiwi Rhetoric

Phil writes:

Greetings all,
This is a call for any Kiwi sayings, ditties, drinking toasts, farewell toasts, backblocks rhymes and simple ditties. If you know of anything appropriate to this subject would you please contact me either on or off list.

I have collected many such pieces of folklore over the years and should anything of note come to light I would like to feature it in my almost completed book of Kiwi folklore and music. Acknowledgements and sources will be given wherever appropriate. I look forward to hearing from you in due course.
Many thanks.
Phil Garland

Monday, July 02, 2007

Kiwi Records, the History of a New Zealand Record Label.

Kiwi Records (NZHistory) This essentially Maori and Pacific record label became very supportive of our own Pakeha folk music artists, Kiwi’s recordings of ballads and folk songs captured the past that the publisher's books celebrated. Neil Colquhoun’s group, the Song Spinners, put out Songs of the whalers, Songs of the gold-diggers and Songs of the gumdiggers. In 1972 Colquhoun produced the landmark collection Songs of a young country. Other typically Kiwi Records artists were balladeer Peter Cape, songwriter Ken Avery, song collector Les Cleveland, the Kokatahi Band of Westland and the Hamilton County Bluegrass Band.

YouTube posts on the nz-folk List

Anton Karas plays Zither
This is a most amazing piece of footage - you'll know the playing for sure. I bet you thought it was a guitar!.

Jake Shimabukuro plays "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"
Who says ukulele is not a serious instrument?

John Fahey - 1969
"American primitive" open tuned guitar styles explained and played.

Bothy Band from 1977
Kevin Burke (fiddle), Triona Ni Dhomhnaill (vocals, clarinet, harmonium, keyboard), Michael Ni Dhomhnaill (guitar)

Paul Brady playing Arthur McBride, 1977
"Beautiful Pat, just beautiful. Genius at work. The album is still on my
most frequently played list - a treasure trove of stunning music. Lots
more clips of Brady there too. Thanks mate - Tony Hillyard"

The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain - You Dont bring me Flowers
Who says ukulele is a serious instrument?