News of New Zealanders via Global Media

Releasing Expectations

Releasing Expectations

Auckland-based band Cut Off Your Hands are described as a “vicious and vibrant foursome” and frontman Nick Johnston, “the new Iggy Pop of the New Zealand pop-punk pioneers” on a British news website. The…

Sunshine Travels

Sunshine Travels

Auckland band the Ruby Suns are fusing the sounds of the South Pacific and California, “bridging the gap between world music and pop.” Sole permanent member of the band, American Ryan McPhun permanently resettled…

Dropping in on Europe

Dropping in on Europe

Wellington’s Fat Freddy’s Drop will tour Europe in November on the back of their latest release, the mammoth nine-minute track ‘The Camel’, which readers are offered free to download at the Times Online site….

With rapturous applause

With rapturous applause

Gisborne-born soprano Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, 64, “came, sang and conquered” with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at a Ravinia gala benefit concert. Looking every inch the beauteous diva in a stunning red-and-black ensemble, Te…

Vocal ambassador

Vocal ambassador

Christchurch soprano Hayley Westenra, 21, performed with the US National Symphony Orchestra at the 28th annual broadcast of America’s popular 4th of July concert, Capitol Fourth before returning to the UK to continue a…

Spoilt for shenanigans

Spoilt for shenanigans

Wellington’s Bret McKenzie likes Los Angeles eatery Pie n’ Burger because “the name lets you know what you’re going to get. No surprises.” This is one of a sampling of places McKenzie recommends in…

Synthesised on Flying Nun

Synthesised on Flying Nun

Lead singer of Wellington band the Phoenix Foundation, Samuel Flynn Scott released his debut album The Hunt Brings Us Life in 2006 but continues to work with the Foundation which recently promoted their latest…

Taranaki has Guests

Taranaki has Guests

Since 2003, thousands have converged on New Plymouth’s Pukekura Park in March for three-day international music festival WOMAD, which from this year becomes an annual event. WOMAD 2008 featured over 300 performers from 14…

Shocking Advance

Shocking Advance

Auckland pop band the Shocking Pinks have signed a four-album deal with New York label DFA Records, which also represents LCD Soundsystem and Hercules & Love Affair. Founder and ex-Brunettes member, Nick Harte says…

Drawing Comparisons

Drawing Comparisons

Masterton-born indie pop rocker Pip Brown, 28, otherwise known as Ladyhawke, is garnering enthusiastic reviews in London – the Guardian dubbing Brown’s sound “exquisitely distracted insouciance over fabulous machine melody.” Her second release ‘Paris…

Union Man’s Aria

Union Man’s Aria

Christchurch-born singer Max Merritt, who fronted Max Merritt and the Meteors, will be inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame alongside New Zealand band Dragon. “I didn’t expect it – it was an incredible…

NZ Pop’s Work Permit

NZ Pop’s Work Permit

Auckland band Ruby Suns has the UK press “salivating” over its latest guitar-pop album Sea Lion, with other acts like the Brunettes, Connan and the Mockasins and Lawrence of Arabia proving…

Comedic Eclecticism

Comedic Eclecticism

Flight of the Conchords have “a gift of genre-blending that makes even David Bowie’s efforts pale in comparison,” writes London Time Out. Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie shift comfortably from the soft-hitting hipn hop…

Singer Performs on Ice

Singer Performs on Ice

New Zealand singer/songwriter, Mihirangi has returned from a trip to Antarctica where she filmed a video for her latest single No War. “They put me on this iceberg all by myself!” she said. “It…

Scaling the Opera Ladder

Scaling the Opera Ladder

New Zealand tenor Geoffrey Knight is a versatile individual, a former member of motorbike gang Highway 61, a stuntman, actor and deep sea trawlerman, Knight is currently performing Gilbert & Sullivan’s operetta Utopia Limited…

Dame Kiri’s festival circuit

Dame Kiri’s festival circuit

Soprano Dame Kiri te Kanawa is to perform at three North American summer music festivals – Washington D.C.’s Wolf Trap, Chicago’s Ravinia and the famous Ontario Elora Festival on July 13. Elora artistic director…

Sound System Men

Sound System Men

Hamilton reggae group Katchafire are touring the US “spreading their Aotearoa Roots” to big crowds from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Hawaii, where the band headlines at the One Love Reggae Festival. Lead singer Logan…

Lightning Success

Lightning Success

Liam Finn is currently touring the United States promoting his 2007 solo album I’ll Be Lightning, and is mesmerising critics there. In Texas, former Dirty Vegas frontman, Steve Smith was impressed with how Finn…

Pacific Mix

Pacific Mix

Eleven-piece New Zealand band Te Vaka travelled to Macau where they enchanted the audience with the sound of the South Pacific, just as they have done at venues throughout the world…

Maconie Explains Stockhausen on War

Maconie Explains Stockhausen on War

Composer and musicologist New Zealand-born Robin Maconie writes about celebrated German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen’s controversial statement after September 9/11, in which he called the terrorist attacks “the greatest work of art” ever. Maconie writes:…

Off-Stage Antics

Off-Stage Antics

Wellington-born musician and “New York Rock God” Dean Wareham formed the band Luna in 1992 and later, together with his second wife Britta Phillips, Dean & Britta. Black Postcards is Wareham’s…

Promises Reviewed

Promises Reviewed

Dunedin indie band Die! Die! Die! is currently touring Los Angeles and Austin, Texas to promote their latest album Promises, Promises released in the US in February. Die! Die! Die! may sound less like…

Full dance card

Full dance card

New Zealand singer/songwriter Liam Finn is in Brooklyn, New York playing at the Music Hall of Williamsburg before an interview on Letterman and a tour as support act for Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder….

Bursting Into Canzone

Bursting Into Canzone

New Zealand bass-baritone Paul Whelan stepped out of the audience and onto the stage to sing the part of Raimundo at a London Coliseum performance of Lucia di Lammermoor. Whelan, who is due to…

The most popular

The most popular

Wellington comedy pair The Flight of the Conchords won best comedy album Grammy for their debut EP The Distant Future at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. The EP…

Pianist in Demand

Pianist in Demand

Award-winning New Zealand pianist and current associate professor of piano at Florida State University Read Gainsford has performed throughout the world as solo recitalist, concert soloist and chamber musician. Gainsford performs at Middle…

Dazzling Debut

Dazzling Debut

Liam Finn’s solo debut, I’ll Be Lightning, has received widespread praise in the US, where it was released this week. Paste magazine calls it “a dazzling solo debut” while The Wall Street Journal praises…

Christchurch soprano tops UK sales

Christchurch soprano tops UK sales

Hayley Westenra‘s breakthrough album has been named the UK’s biggest-selling classical record of the 21st-century to date. Pure (2003), the Christchurch singer’s international debut, went gold in its first week of release in…

An appreciative audience

An appreciative audience

The Telegraph describes Crowded House’s performance as “just like old times” and Neil Finn’s voice as “Lennonnish” in a review of their show at Manchester’s MEN Arena. “There’s a long tradition of audience participation…

Nearing perfection

Nearing perfection

The Guardian‘s guide to the world’s greatest music acts beginning with C features Flying Nun luminaries The Chills. The band’s 1994 best-of, Heavenly Pop Hits, is recommended to first-time listeners. The Guardian: “Set…

Music that moves you

Music that moves you

The acclaimed NZ String Quartet is currently touring the United States’ East Coast. Formed 20 years ago, the Wellington-based group consists of cellist Rolf Gjelsten, first violinist Helene Pohl, violinist Douglas Beilman and violist…

Home tour for Split Enz

Home tour for Split Enz

Iconic NZ group Split Enz will tour their home country next year in support of their new live DVD/CD, One Out Of The Bag. Split Enz recorded One Out Of The Bag in 2006…

Cosmic pop

Cosmic pop

One-woman Christchurch act Bachelorette is winning over Australian audiences with her “beautifully odd, inter-planetary pop”. Annabel Alpers is currently touring Australia with her new album, Isolation Loops, which she recorded in a remote wooden…

Kora impress offshore

Kora impress offshore

Whakatane band Kora is steadily building an international fan base to rival its one in NZ. The five-piece band – which consists of brothers Brad, Stu, Laughton and Francis Kora, and Dan McGruer -…

Auckland band makes the cut

Auckland band makes the cut

Auckland power-punk quartet Cut Off Your Hands scored an invitation to play at New York’s “suffocatingly cool” CMJ Music Marathon, one of the US indie scene’s premiere events. Cut Off Your Hands was…

Emotions running high

Emotions running high

Crowded House were praised for their “emotion-drenched performance” at The Greek Theatre in an LA Times review. LA Times: “he group’s exquisitely crafted songs are infinitely rich with melodic and harmonic invention but lyrically…

Check one-two

Check one-two

Auckland five-piece The Checks featured as the Guardian’s New Band of the Day for August 22. Music critic Paul Lester: “These five New Zealanders may be teenagers, but they sound as old as the…

Nerd chic in Seattle

Nerd chic in Seattle

A San Diego entertainment guide has hailed NZ as “the new Seattle” for its flourishing alternative music scene. The article name-checks HBO show Flight of the Conchords, starring Wellington folk-comedy duo Brett McKenzie and…

NZ blues great mourned

NZ blues great mourned

NZ blues and soul music great Sonny Day (Hone Wikaira) has died from respiratory complications aged 64. Day launched his career in the late 1950s with his band Sonny Day and the Sharks,…

Popera stars of tomorrow

Popera stars of tomorrow

Rotorua “popera” singer Elizabeth Marvelly has been signed for a rumoured three albums by record giant EMI. The 18-year-old soprano is related to Sir Howard Morrison, and toured NZ with him and…

Crowded House on Love and Loss

Crowded House on Love and Loss

An LA Times review finds Time on Earth, the new album by the recently reformed Crowded House, to be a moving exploration of love and loss. “Pop music reunions are, more often than not,…

Small fish hits big time

Small fish hits big time

Greymouth singer-songwriter Steve Edwards has become a star in the UK without even releasing an album. A copy of One By One, a song from his upcoming Fish out of Water album, was…

The Sweet Sound of Success

The Sweet Sound of Success

NZ company Marshall Day Acoustics has won the contract to design a $400 million concert hall in Paris. Marshall Day, together with French architect Jean Nouvel, beat 97 international design teams for the…

Finn spreads the word

Finn spreads the word

Tim Finn talks about future recordings with brother, Neil, being made an Officer of the British Empire, and the recent spate of band reunions (Spilt Enz and Crowded House included) in an interview with…

The way of Music

The way of Music

The Way of Music by Robin Maconie (pictured), a New Zealand born composer and musicologist who studied with Olivier Messiaen and Karlheinz Stockhausen, is a listener’s guide to the hidden meanings of…

Big pond, big promise

Big pond, big promise

Wellington singer/songwriter Brooke Fraser relocated to Sydney three years ago, hoping to create an Australian following to rival the one she enjoys back home. In NZ, Fraser’s first album – What to do…

Lullabies and Love Songs

Lullabies and Love Songs

Dean Wareham of Dean & Britta recently toured the US with a well-received new album, Back Numbers. Born in Wellington, Wareham first emerged on the New York indie scene in 1991 with the…

Westenra joins Celtic Woman

Westenra joins Celtic Woman

NZ soprano Hayley Westenra is currently touring the US with Irish group “Celtic Woman”. The group of five women – four singers and a fiddler – shot to fame on the back of a…

Finn welcomes world to his kingdom

Finn welcomes world to his kingdom

Tim Finn has embarked on a tour of the UK and Europe to promote his latest solo album, Imaginary Kingdom. Finn wrote most of the album in NZ, which he says had a…

Don’t Dream it’s Over

Don’t Dream it’s Over

A new album and world tour by Crowded House, has made headlines across the globe. According to chief songwriter Neil Finn, he and bass player Nick Seymour have been considering regrouping since the tragic death of…

Musical milestones

Musical milestones

The Guardian gives a whirlwind overview of NZ music history, from kapa haka to deep house. Milestones of note include the formation of Split Enz in 1971, Flying Nun in 1981, and hip hop…

Kilgour flies solo

Kilgour flies solo

David Kilgour of seminal Flying Nun band the Clean has launched a new solo album entitled The Far Now. “The songs sprung into my lap and pretty much decided how they wanted to…

For those about to rock, we salute you

For those about to rock, we salute you

Buskers Max Tetley (11) and Alex Philpott (10) opened the show for US rock-comedy duo Tenacious D, after impressing singer Jack Black with their performance in Christchurch’s Cathedral Square. Black (School of Rock,…

Another Outstanding Achievement

Another Outstanding Achievement

NZ singer Hayley Westenra has been named one of the 10 outstanding young people in the world in the Junior Chamber International‘s prestigious annual awards (the Jaycees). The 19-year-old diva was selected from a pool…

No rocky road for Natasha

No rocky road for Natasha

Natasha Bedingfield, has a cameo role in the sixth Rocky sequel, starring Sylvester Stallone. Originally asked to write and perform the film’s theme tune, she was convinced to make her on-screen debut by…

All grown up

All grown up

Veils front man Finn Andrews is compared to Tom Waits, John Lennon and Nick Cave in a glowing Guardian review. “Andrews’ voice is no longer that of an anguished child, but the trembling…