Jazzing it up in Christchurch

Make sure you’re in Christchurch from 3-7 April. You don’t want to miss our very own Jazz and Blues Festival.

This years festival programme is small but perfectly formed. Perennial favourite Mary Coughlan is back, as are local talents Jennine Bailey, Naomi Ferguson, Ariana Tikao, Rosa Shiels , Graham Wardrop and Harry Harrison. These guys are all  class acts and I’m especially looking forward to Mary Coughlan, Jennine Bailey and Naomi Ferguson in their Celebrating Women in Jazz session.

The star of the festival though, is Grammy Award winner Bonnie Raitt  who returns as part of a world tour to promote Slipstream, her nineteenth studio album. There’s no doubt she’ll be a sell out. She’s accompanied by other excellent overseas acts including Kiwi hero Nathan Haines (fresh from appearances at Ronnie Scotts) and a British rockabilly trio of talented multi-instrumentalists Kitty Daisy & Lewis whose latest track features in the film Gangsta Squad. Toni Randle, a Kiwi singer song-writer with a growing reputation and a fine voice, is also a guest star.

A delicious little extra this year is the chance to sample New Orleans style food at The George while you listen – giving those of us who will never make to the American South a chance experience just a touch of the real thing.

To get a good look at the  programme look for the paper copies at Christchurch City Libraries, or find it online .

Christchurch – this week in history (11 March – 17 March)

14 March 1987
“Te Maori” exhibition opens at the Robert McDougall Art Gallery. Over a nine week period, 147,012 people visited.

Christchurch Club - Latimer Square15 March 1856
Christchurch Club formed.

15 March 1982
City Council resolution declares Christchurch City a nuclear weapons free zone.

17 March 1857
First vehicle crosses the Port Hills – a spring cart pulled by bullocks negotiates the Bridle Path.

17 March 1928
Civic Theatre opened in Manchester Street. The theatre was built in the burned out shell of the old Alexandra Hall; part of the Canterbury Exhibition Hall.

More March events in our Christchurch chronology.

Sweet as – New Zealand e-book month

I come from Mt Roskill. Somebody has to.

So says Garth Cartwright of growing up in New Zealand’s largest suburb. It had acres of rugby fields and more churches than anywhere else in the country – but there were no cinemas, music venues or pubs. In search of a little more culture, a young Garth up and moved to London.

Twenty years after leaving he returned to revel in a Kiwi summer. That summer was spent travelling the country from top to bottom and observing New Zealand and its citizens in all their eccentric glory.

Taking to State Highway 1, he met old friends, cult rockers, aspiring politicians, potters, bikers, visionary artists, hunters, undercover cops and all manner of other Kiwi characters. Surfing, hitching, driving, sailing and tramping across New Zealand allowed him to reflect on how much New Zealand has changed in the last twenty years – and how much it hasn’t.

You can read Sweet as as an e-book from our Overdrive collection.

Sweet as  is also available as a paper book.