Falling in love with music again

CoverFor a while there, I couldn’t listen to any music. Dance-worthy pop songs jarred with my sombre state; rock songs were too loud, too confrontational; and acoustic folk brought up emotions I wanted to avoid.

Then a musician friend of mine, Michal Williams, created a blog. Each week she posts a new song, processing what has happened to Christchurch through music. Listening to her sing and play has reconnected me with my love of music.

Now I have music playing where ever I go; there’s a soundtrack accompanying everything I do. After losing my iPod and CD collection to the quake, the library’s physical and virtual music collections have become a lifeline for me.

Among the musical stylings I’m listening to post-quake are an assortment of New Zealand musicians, including:

What New Zealand music has helped you get through, put a smile on your face, or given you goosebumps (in a good way)?

Memories are made of this

London Street demolitionsWe’ve all got our favourite memories of the music venues of our youth, some of which will now sadly remain just a memory, forever. My favourite venues both reside in Lyttelton.

The Harbourlight, now deceased, has always exerted a particular charm for me, perhaps because of its similarity to those smoky jazz venues seen so often in American films. It had a bit of Casablanca about it, a sense of being one of those places on the wrong side of town. Down at heel, off beat, comfortable, relaxed and small enough to create an intimate connection between audience and performer, it was a place to let your hair down and really enter into the spirit of the music. Like many others, my greatest hope is that it can rebuilt and that special atmosphere re-created.

The Wunderbar, which was reopened just recently, is a treasure in its own right. It’s crazy décor of kiwi kitsch must surely be unique. It’s sometimes also slightly wild collection of performers, makes it the most truly eccentric venue I have ever encountered. Like the Harbourlight it has an atmosphere all of its own, one conducive to just having a darn good time. Long may it live.

What are your favourite Christchurch venues and do you know what has happened to them?

Sunday sessions a great start to New Zealand Music Month

New Zealand Music Month launchThe first day of New Zealand Music Month in Christchurch delivered atmosphere in spades. The Eastern’s  gig in Heathcote was at the unpromising venue of St Mary’s Church Hall. When I got there however, I found chairs set up in a lovely sheltered garden and The Eastern playing their own brand of  folky alt-country music on the deck. The audience of about 70 arrived on foot, with children on scooters and bikes, the sun shone, the roses bloomed, and the children danced on the grass or lay on blankets and ate their picnic food. It was the perfect way to spend a fine autumn afternoon.

The evening launch at New Brighton Library began while the audience was still arriving. The eerie sound of Silencio’s original music filled the room, inspiring looks of curiosity and wonder. The musicians were spread around the room playing everything from hollow tubes to kitchen sinks, suspended from the ceiling (sounds awful I know, but it was amazing).

Once the capacity crowd was settled, Marlon Williams of (Unfaithful Ways) entertained with some country numbers. Williams, who was also a guest with The Eastern, has a particularly true voice, which develops a special distinction when harmonising with others and his collaborations with Lawrence Arabia were outstanding.

The big star of the night was Lawrence Arabia , formerly of the Brunettes, who delivered his eccentric, twenty-first century twist on sixties music with aplomb. His stunning guitar playing took the music to a new level. The audience obviously knew a lot of his music already and received him with enthusiasm.

There’s more fun to be had over the next few weeks – check out the events on the library website

Supper, 50th anniversary and annual meeting

Hungry yet? Here’s another food-related image from our collection as we celebrate Records and Archives Week 2011.

Supper, 50th anniversary and annual meeting

A celebration of fifty years of the volunteer run Linwood Public Library, 1959

Collated for Records and Archives Week (RAW) 2011