Rachel Dawick came to Christchurch as part of her ‘Follow my Tears’ tour, during which she hopes to collect stories of women in nineteenth century New Zealand to turn into songs. When I arrived at Hornby Library, Rachel was already deep in conversation with her audience. They were discussing the untold stories of New Zealand’s first woman magician, a woman bullock team driver and an early twentieth century woman racing driver. Their theory was that women have always done these things, but their stories disappear rather than making it into the history books. Rachel’s performance deserved a bigger audience, she sings her well crafted original songs with panache and uses them to tell stories in a most absorbing way.
Tirsi, at South Library, were a rare treat. In fact I think this is the first time I have heard Renaissance music performed live in Christchurch. I was drawn into their performance space by the sound of a very pure female voice as it floated out over the bookstacks. It was the voice of Lois Johnston and she was accompanied beautifully on the lute by Jonathan Le Cocq.
These were also musician that communicated well with their audience, taking us on a tour of Renaissance Europe around 1600 in song and imparting interesting facts along the way. Did you know the lute was so widely played at the time that they used to hang them on the walls of barber shops so that customers could play them whilst waiting for a haircut? Altogether it was a charming performance and deserved the enthusiastic reception it gained from the audience.