Those you who didn’t go to the New Zealand Music Month launch last night missed a treat. It was held in the atrium of the CPIT’s Rakaia Centre, a nice open space, with the performers playing against an impressive stained glass wall, making it a visual as well as an acoustic experience.
With a 5.30pm start the organisers thoughtfully supplied delicious free finger food and inexpensive drinks, so it was dinner as well as entertainment.
The beginning was a surprise. A sixty strong choir amassed along the first floor balcony and began to sing unannounced. The cathedral-like acoustics of the atrium created a fantastic sound – Anika Moa said it nearly moved her to tears and I thought it created a magical start to the evening.
They were followed by Christchurch-based singer/songwriter Nadia Reid and her small band. The acoustics didn’t cope with the volume of the electric instruments and I couldn’t hear her acclaimed vocal strength, but their performance was nevertheless impressive.
When Hanna Harding, a small figure dress in black and red, hit the stage with her accompanying guitarist, she immediately took the attention of the audience. She started with a stunning rendition of Roy Orbison’s Crying, which suited her powerful and agile voice to a T, then moved on to some toe tapping original work accompanied by some very impressive guitar playing.
Anika Moa was the consummate professional, starting quietly, working the crowd and building up to a rousing finale in which she inveigled her obviously unprepared fellow performers into providing a backing group and vocals – they rose to the challenge with a bit of direction and calls of more could be heard at the end.
The audience were loud in their appreciation of all the performers and it was a fun couple of hours.