Friday, November 20, 2009

Open Letter to Michael Coppel Presents


First, thank you for bringing such a brilliant concert to New Zealand - I saw Nick Lowe and Ry Cooder in Christchurch last Wednesday. My friends and I drove from Dunedin to see them and were not disappointed!

However, I and many of my friends were extremely disappointed to find we had paid more than twice the going rate for our tickets - simply, it appears, because we had the foresight to book early. Of course we are happy to pay what an artist is worth to see them but do not expect to be the victims of a Dutch auction and subsidise those who are not prepared to pay. Our seats were ok, not particularly special, set off to one side with some of the stage obscured by speaker stacks. People paying a lot less were nicely positioned centre forward.

Out of a sample of 20 people that I new at the concert, 5 of us paid $131 and the rest all paid $59. Indeed, many other friends around the country have declared that they paid $59 for tickets in Auckland and Wellington.

We are told by promoters time and time again that acts will not be brought to our smaller centres because we are reluctant to buy enough tickets early enough. It would appear that you are encouraging this behaviour, as I for one will not be in a hurry to book early in the future.

Yours sincerely

Mike Moroney

And from others:

Here's my bitter tale. The day that bookings opened for the Auckland show the ticket price was $149. I just couldn't afford or justify that so completely gave up on the idea, despite Ry Cooder having been one of my musical heroes for as long as I can remember. On the day of the concert a friend casually mentioned that he had bought tickets that day for $59. I had other arrangements made that I couldn't undo, so missed out.


Sorry to hear that, Mike. Pressure needs to be brought to bear upon promoters (and kept there), which it looks like you're doing. Also, letting them know that you've blogged this and dropped it onto your facebook, myspace, digg sites, etc, will get their attention. You don't want to come off sounding like you're whining, and you haven't here. Best to keep it impersonal and professional as you've done.

Eventually, with the help of this digital, bottom up media, booking promoters will have to standardise their methods, especially since live shows have now become, far and away, musicians' primary source of income. I can guarantee that if this gets back to Ry Cooder and his people (which it probably already has...), they'll let the promoters know, and will think twice about ever dealing with them again.

Not saying the promoters are crooks or anything, but they're at the least very badly managed and informed on the process. Trying to fill a half empty show after the fact, at the last moment, just doesn't cut it when the audience can let the rest of the world know immediately, via twitter, while they're STILL AT the concert.

I know I'll think twice about buying an expensive ticket online in advance, especially if I have to travel to see the show.

And the reply:::

to Mike Moroney

date27 November 2009 16:57

Hi Mike,

Thanks for your email in relation to the Ry Cooder & Nick Lowe performance in Christchurch.

We are glad to hear that you enjoyed the night along with many others.

In regards to your complaint about the discounted ticket price, this was a promotion to push our last release of tickets for this event. As the promoter, we are in our rights to change the ticketing price at any given time. This situation is very similiar to purchasing an airline flight at full price, to then see that same flight at a reduced price weeks after your purchase - just an example of many companies running similar promotions.

We understand that you are frustrated by the reduced price being implemented to this tour. However, we are unable to offer any form of compensation.

Kind Regards,
Daniel Hearn

Daniel Hearn
Michael Coppel Presents
PO Box 3030, Prahran East VIC 3181

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

If it looks like a folk club, sounds like a folk club...

Interesting view on taking over a venue. It's hard to get past a proprieter's core business of booze and food to let entertainment take its course.

in reference to: Not happy with existing venues? Make a new one. | Derek Sivers (view on Google Sidewiki)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Hamsterfest 2009 Review

Hamster Fest at Matamata

One of the beautiful things about going to a festival is bringing bits of it home with you.  I was driving up the long straight stretch of route 27 when I started belting out Mike Harding's Eketahuna with full lung capacity then realized he'd taken the tune from Yellow River. I don't know how much of the original he'd changed but some of the lines are classic like 'Eketahuna where the women are real with their bouffant hair and stiletto heels' This took me right back to growing up in the 50/60s and helping my mother to bouffant her hair before she put on her stilettos and went dancing with my father. It is always heart-warming to hear Mike at festivals bringing us back home with his collection of New Zealand songs. Although David Barne's rendition of Cohen's 'I lit a thin green candle' came a close second. I'd never quite got the full implication of this song until I heard his strident version. I think the black humour of it was a bit lost on the audience although I heard a few laughs. Perhaps being in love with people who make you act crazy is either out of folkie experience or too close to the bone to make one laugh.
It's always a pleasure for me to experience the continuing evolution of the music of Marion Arts. I sense a need for some kind of spiritual expression in her later songs, 'Love is a sacred river flowing down into love..... ' and the song titled My Sacred Heart gives the message of how precious love is yet love can beget love. I enjoyed being reminded too of what a fantastic musician Robbie Laven is with his bass playing enhancing everything Marion did. A musical partnership at its best.
It was a festival with no dramas I was told by one of the organizers and for a festival noted for its relaxed atmosphere everything was remarkably on time. Even the song-writers concert which had too many performers was neatly finished between two other acts on the Sunday. ( Two song-writers concerts next time please guys ) The weather was cooler than last year but there was still heaps of tent jamming and no one would have frozen in the averagely cool and fine weather. One thing I did notice was the Ceilid exuded a strong odor of sweat and beer as did the home brew unaccompanied session. It took a few deep breaths of cool night air to enter these events but once inside the music and dancing were worth it.
I always like the way the final concert includes a few standouts from the blackboard sessions. This year we were blessed with two dynamic young men whose names I did not find out but who referred to themselves as the second best shanty group, and Erin, the teenage performer of the weekend with her passionate version of Wild Mountain Thyme.
Judith McNeil (from her blog:

Friday, March 06, 2009

Bards, Ballads and Bulldust Festival

Easter weekend 10 - 12 April 2009
The beautiful high country town of Naseby is presenting the 4th Bards Ballads & Bulldust Festival at Easter 2009.
The weekend activities will be presented by 'Tui Award' winning high country balladeer, Phil Garland and based around the historic Ancient Briton Pub, which is hosting the event. Festival goers will be treated to some top quality Kiwi Country / Folk music and bush poetry relevant to the New Zealand High Country. As well as being home to Ross 'Blue Jeans' McMillan, one of the finest bush poets in the country, the Naseby festival will also play host to a trio of bush balladeers from across the Ditch.

The Bards, Ballads & Bulldust festival is the only one of its kind in the country, where the emphasis is on the spoken word in the form of bush poetry, which has a huge following throughout Australia. Bush balladry has been an integral part of our national heritage since the 1890s, but its profile has remained small, going largely un-noticed and un-recognised until the birth of Bards Ballads & Bulldust. Our bush poets are finally getting some of the accolades they richly deserve thanks to Naseby and the Bards, Ballads & Bulldust Festival.

Naseby (2000 feet above worry level) is the historic capital of the High Country and home to curling. Where better to experience high country life at its exhilerating best. Visitors can see a town changed little from the earliest beginnings of the Otago goldrush, whilst at the same time visit wonderfully preserved and historic buildings set amidst some of the oldest gold diggings in Central Otago.

2009 featured guests include:-
  • Milton Taylor     - Highly entertaining award winning bush balladeer from Australia returns by popular demand.
  • Melanie Hall     - Acclaimed bush poetry reciter from Australia
  • Suzie Carcary   - 2008 champion prize winning bush poet from NSW. Originally of Scottish ancestry & respected singer of Scottish songs.
  • Marcus Turner  - Mere words cannot describe this brilliant singer/songwriter & multi instrumentalist from Dunedin
  • Martin Curtis    - Highly acclaimed and popular Kiwi reciter & balladeer from Cardrona
  • Keith Scott       - Expat Maniototo oral historian and playright from Sydney.
  • Ross McMillan  - Famed local poet & High Country balladeer.
  • Des Styles        - Local goldfields poet from Naseby
  • Roger Lusby     - Popular Kiwi balladeer and bush poet from Nelson.
  • Dusty Spittle     - Legendary Kiwi story teller and country balladeer, who has just been inducted into the American old-time Country Music Hall of Fame.
  • Basil Fitzpatrick - Popular performance poet from Chch
  • Bush Telegraph  - Renowned Kiwiana bush band and barn dance specialists from Canterbury.
  • Phil Garland      - Multi award winning folklorist, singer / songwriter and backblocks balladeer from Culverden.

  • Good Friday - Welcome and informal gathering in the Ancient Briton Pub, Naseby with music session from Phil Garland & Bush Telegraph - a chance to join in!
  • Saturday - Live performances throughout the day from invited poets and musicians in the Ancient Briton Pub.
  • Saturday Night - Miners & Musterers Ball with Bush Telegraph in the Naseby Town Hall. Admission $20 - supper included.
  • Sunday Morning - High Country breakfast with live poetry, songs & yarns from invited guests and local Syndicate farmers.
  • Sunday - Live performances continue throughout the day from invited poets and musicians in the Ancient Briton.
  • Sunday Night - Open poets night at the Ancient Briton, when invited guests will share the stage with all comers.
  • Busking throughout the weekend in the Main street and outside the local cafe - hosted by Basil Fitzpatrick.
Admission free to most events.
Tickets to the Miners & Musterers Ball are $20 incl supper.
Well priced meals & snacks available from the town hotels and local Cafe throughout the weekend.
Accommodation should still be available at the two local hotels, two motels and the camping ground. Further accommodation can be found at Ranfurly only 20 minutes away. However early bookings are advised!

For further information contact the programme oganiser Phil Garland  or view the frestival webpage

Leven St, Naseby, Central Otago, New Zealand.
Phone 03 444 9992, Fax 03 444 8232,  E-Mail


Naseby, Central Otago, New Zealand.
Phone 03 482 2553, Fax 03 482 2553, Mobile 021 460 284,  E-Mail


Swimming Dam Rd, Naseby, Central Otago, New Zealand.
Phone/Fax 03 444 9904,  E-Mail


13A Channel Road, Naseby, Central Otago, New Zealand.
Phone 03 444 9972, Fax 03 444 9972,  E-Mail


1 Earne St, Naseby, Central Otago, New Zealand.
Phone 03 444 9990, Fax 03 444 9704,  E-Mail


58 Derwent Street, Naseby, Central Otago, New Zealand.


Tel: (03) 4449624  Fax: (03) 4449624 e-mail:


Glenis & David Crutchley 114 Kyeburn Diggings rd, R.D.2 Ranfurly Ph (03) 444 9621 or 0800 375247. Fax: (03) 444 9610 d&


SH 85, Central Otago, New Zealand. Ph/Fax 03-444 9548 :: Email:


Corner Derwent & Oughter Streets, Naseby, New Zealand.
Phone 03 444 8374, Fax 03 444 8222, Reservations 0508 NASEBY (0508 627 329),  E-Mail


Phone/fax 64 3 4449048   Email:


Ranfurly Lion Hotel & Highland Wine Bar & Cafe
10 Charlemont Street East, Ranfurly, Otago 9332. (03) 444 9140


State Highway 85 , Wedderburn, , New Zealand.
Lorraine- 03 444 9194, or Alison- 03 444 9124


For cribs available to rent in Naseby contact

Monday, February 16, 2009

Ka Mate and the folk process.

From John Archer ( on the nz-folk list

I was rather astonished to find that the Waitangi Tribunal declared that Te Rauparaha composed Ka Mate, so I have dashed the following letter off to them.

 As far as I can see, Te Rauparaha evaded the avenging relatives of a group of travellers he had murdered by crouching in a pit with his head jammed into an old lady's crotch for an hour or so, and to ease his embarrassment when he was released, he simply repeated a well-known bawdy parody of Ka Mate.

Dear Tribunal members,

May I enquire as to what evidence you based your decision that “Ka Mate” was composed by Te Rauparaha? I have searched for evidence of this for seven years, but all sources I have found indicate otherwise.

A search of articles about Te Rauparaha in old newspapers back to 1843 finds no mention at all of his use of, or his connection with, Ka Mate.

 However in the Daily Southern Cross 23 March 1867 noted its use by Kereopa during the trial of the Rev Volkner at Opotiki, as “a song composed that could convey two exactly different meanings.”

 And in 1901 it was performed at Rotorua by Tairawhiti men at the welcome for Prince Albert as “an an ancient and universal war ngeri used to welcome illustrious guests.” (Wanganui Herald and  Lyttelton Times, June 1901)

Margaret Orbell (Maori Poetry 1967) noted the ancient usage of the Ka Mate haka. She said "te tangata puhuruhuru" (the hairy person) symbolised unified strength. Brave warriors are the "hairs on the legs" of a strong chief. She also explained that "Whiti te ra" (the sun shining) symbolised light, life, peace.

E H Schnackenburg of Kawhaia (J. Poly. Soc. 1948) was told that this haka formerly celebrated the triumph of Maui in capturing the sun, as an allegorical story telling how brave men could work together with a strong, ingenious leader to ensure peaceful times when "sunny days" (times of peace) were too short and "dark nights" (periods of war) were too long.

Sir John Grace (Tuwharetoa, 1959) tells how, on emerging from beneath Te Rangikoaea, Te Rauparaha chanted  “Kikiki kakaka kau ana! Kei waniwania taku tara...  Ko wai te tangata kia rere ure... Ka mate, ka mate...”

James Cowan (NZ Railways Magazine 1935) describes Kikiki Kakaka as “A very old chant, long antedating Te Rauparaha's period. It goes back several ancient song of reunion and felicitation, often chanted at occasions of peace-making and such gatherings as marriage feasts."

Kikiki Kakaka was indeed very appropriate for wedding feasts, as it is a very factual account of a the sequence of emotions exerienced by a young lad in his first encounter with an amorous woman. (“I’m stuttering, trembling, naked! I’m brushed by your crotch... forbidden secrets are revealed... I’m trapped by your snare... who is this man with a thrusting penis? I’m investigating the hot moist depths... I’m dying! I’m dying! No, I’m really alive, a virile man who can make the sun shine for both of us.”)

Arthur Thompson (The Story of New Zealand, 1859) explains that “Singing, or the haka, was the amusement of village maidens and young lads on fine evenings... Most songs were accompanied with action...” And Arapete Awatere (1973) explained that "Most songs were composed as a group effort... Songs were reworked because the melody and symbolism of the words were liked, and to make the song appropriate to the new context."

It would appear that this is what occured when a group of flirtatious “village maidens” amused themselves by taking the old Ka Mate words and reworked their meaning into a bawdy sexual context by adding them to other sexually descriptive verses with which they teased bashful young men.

This old chant would have come to Te Rauparaha’s mind when he was trembling with fear in a kumara pit with old Te Rangikoaea’s crotch brushing his head. And I suggest that this is what he chanted when he was released from “the hot, moist depths.”

A song as complex and clever as Kakaka Kikiki would have taken a group of people a week or more to compose. A terrified, exhausted, humiliated and half-suffocated fugitive would have been unable to compose this off-the-cuff.

I have had most of the above information on my Ka Mate webpage for the past 7 years, and this page has been visited by approximately 400,000 people, but no one has sent me any claim or evidence of composition by Te Rauparaha.

Ngati Toa can rightfully claim ownership of the new meaning attached to Kikiki / Ka Mate, but I have found no evidence, either documentary or contexual, that Te Rauparaha was its composer. Instead, all the evidence points to Ka Mate being an ancient and universal haka with vivid symbolism conveying great wisdom.

Your recent decision has downgraded Ka Mate from a national literary taonga to a pathetic story of how a mass murderer on the run escaped justice.

Here's my two penneth worh - For years I've been led to understand that here in the south Ngai Tahu simply won't have anything to do with the Ka Mate haka because of its association with Te Rauparaha. They will never forget the atrocities he committed around the Mainland.
Bearing this in mind how can New Zealanders see this haka as something to unify the nation - particularly on sporting occasions, when not all Maori can agree on its use, let alone even think of unification.
The ABs deserve our support and thanks for coming up with something new andmeaningful to them!

Phil Garland 

I've been waiting for the media to raise this question about the origins
of the haka, but it doesn't seem to be happening. Just had a couple of
comments to add to John and Phil's.

First, the case appears to develop a kind of indigenous copyright concept,
one that doesn't expire 50 years after the (supposed) composer's death.
This sets a rather interesting precedent: could decendants of non-maori
composers now also claim similar

Second, has any other Maori iwi claimed ownership of "Ka mate" over the
time in which the Te Rauparaha authorship has been widely believed? If
not, this could indicate tacit acceptance of the Ngati Toa association.
Such a hybrid "Maori copyright" concept doesn't fit tidily into Western
legal frameworks, but nonetheless is perhaps acceptable to other Maori

Third, agreed: Te Rauparaha sounds like a very frightening person. I grew
up on the Kapiti Coast and he was still spoken of with a bit of dread;
later I read some of the details of the musket wars, the torturing,
war-mongering etc. But Ngati Toa can thank him for saving their iwi from
extermination. When the tribe's original lands in Kawhia Harbour were
invaded by overwhelming Waikato forces, he successfully led them on a
fairly desperate journey down the North Island to relative safety in the
Horowhenua. Of course, in doing so he displaced others (Rangitane,
Muaupoko) from their lands - but he is by means exceptional in this
regard. Yes, he did some terrible things - but he seems to have mostly had
his tribe's interests at heart.

M D Brown

Sunday, January 25, 2009

2008 Folk Album of the Year

DIY ethic sees Otago trio scoop top Folk Award

An unsigned all-women three-piece from Dunedin has won the Tui for Best Folk Music Album of 2008. Delgirl’s self-released debut album ‘Two, Maybe Three, Days Ride’ was awarded the Tui at the Auckland Folk Festival in Kumeu tonight. The acoustic group describes its sound as “skiffily, folky, country, jazzy, bluesy roots music with a Pacific edge bordering a swamp”, and creates harmonies built around the double bass, guitar, ukuleles, banjo, snare and percussion. Delgirl is made up of Deirdre Newall, Erin Morton and Lynn Vare.

The trio formed eight years ago and released its debut album in November 2007. The track ‘Ride’ from the album has been selected by NZ Trade & Enterprise to feature on a music placement export disc entitled ‘New Zealand-New Music’ which is distributed to music supervisors in TV and film worldwide.

The other finalists were Cardrona-based singer-songwriter Martin Curtis for ‘Sea To Summit’ and the Hamilton County Bluegrass Band with ‘Way Down South’. Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ) CEO Campbell Smith says: “Folk music is in good health in New Zealand. Delgirl’s album is highly deserving of a Tui – and another fine example of how some of this country’s best music and talent can do-it-themselves to create amazing work. “Dunedin has a history of fine musicians, and Delgirl shows that this talent and passion is alive across a range of genres.” The Best Folk Album award is part of the New Zealand Music Awards and it is the fifth year it has been presented at the Auckland Folk Festival. The festival is currently in its 35th year, and its 18th year at the Kumeu Showgrounds. Information about the event is available at

The Tui for Best Folk Album 2008 is for recordings released between 16 November 2007 and 15 November 2008. The Folk category was introduced to the awards in 1984.
Recent previous winners of the Tui for Best Folk Album2005 - Lorina Harding for the album ‘Clean Break’2006 - Ben the Hoose (Kenny Ritch and Bob McNeill) for ‘The Little Cascade’2007 – Phil Garland for his 18th album ‘Southern Odyssey’.
Or refer to www.nzmusicawards (see history section).

About RIANZ: The Recording Industry Association of New Zealand Inc (RIANZ) is a non-profit organisation representing major and independent record producers, distributors and recording artists throughout New Zealand. RIANZ works to protect the rights and promote the interests of creative people involved in the New Zealand recording industry. Issued for the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand by Pead PR Contacts:Campbell Smith, RIANZ. Tel: 0-9-361 3967; Mob: 021-666 399; Reade, Pead PR, Tel: 09-918 5552, 021 847 908,

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Leonard Cohen in Wellington

From Dave Barnes:
Dear nz-folk,
Well, last night I had the delight of attending Leonard Cohen's concert in Wellington. I am happy to say it surpassed all my expectations.
Held in a venue reputed to have possibly the worst acoustics in the entire universe, LC and his crew produced an exquisite sound. That voice was captured and presented to us in all its impossible depths. Perhaps one key point was holding the volume to absolute perfection rather than blasting us out of our seats. We were there for his voice and his words, and we got them in style.
And the man himself - a nimbleness that belied his 74 years as he skipped onto the stage and as he knelt to add an emphasis to various of his lyrics. Supported by 9 outstanding musicians who played with consumnate skill to showcase his performance, he delivered a mix of the old favourites along with newer works. Perhaps some of his most poignant presentation, though, was in a couple of his renditions of his unadorned poetry - just him speaking it. That reminds you of the power of his lyrics.
Whilst I, being one of the long-time converted, would be totally happy with the man and maybe just one guitarist, I have to acknowledge that brilliance of the presentation undoubtedly allowed his work to be absorbed by a far wider audience. And they were there - from 1 month old to over 80, with all generations between being well represented. An emotive night - the newer numbers, and there were many that as a devotee particularly of his first two albums I was not familiar with, were wrapped with a warmth that made them instant old friends. And for those familar ones the power of his voice brought them oh so much closer.
He displayed a superb relationship with the crowd despite not undertaking a concert for some 15 years ("when I was a young man with a crazy dream")prior to this tour. And his warmth spilled over to the "handrail crisis" (the papers had obviously had not enough real news) with the comment "I suggested that they removed the handrail, thus removing the visual barrier [for the "vertically challenged" in the front row of the galleries], but the management felt that due to the nature of my work some of the audience might choose to hurl themselves over the edge". You certainly couldn't feel short-changed - an immensely long performance that would shame many younger acts, with an impressive range of encores. He thanked all of us for keeping his songs alive - I for one will endeavour to continue to do so!