Photo Hunt October: The Christchurch Banjo, Mandolin and Guitar Orchestra, 1907

The Christchurch Banjo, Mandoline and Guitar Orchestra, 1907. .
Entry in the 2013 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt. PH13-34 Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License.

Under its Honorary conductor, Mr Joseph Wright, the orchestra gave several notable performances in the early 1900s, where it earned a reputation for “honest and tuneful work”.    . At the King’s Theatre “The programme was a not too ambitious one, but each item was given nicely and brightly”. On their annual visit to Sunnyside Hospital they were given “three hearty cheers” at the end. At an advertised performance at the Choral Hall, patrons were invited to “Come and hear the wonderful Boy Banjoist, Master D’Arcy Wright”.

Many of the instruments (including Harp-guitar) are stamped The Gibson – worth a fortune today!

Information sourced from The Star. – See more on Papers Past

Christchurch City Libraries has been running an annual Photo Hunt in conjunction with the city’s Heritage Week since 2008.  The 2016 Photo Hunt is running again from 1 – 31 October. During the month of October we will be posting a series of images from earlier Photo Hunts.

Enter the 2016 hunt online or at your local library.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch & Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

Summertime, and the living is easy …

Hugh Campbell and Jon Hooker… or so it seemed for a lazy hour at South Library last Saturday. The sun streamed in through tall windows and it was easy to forget that winter is just around the corner as local duo Hugh Campbell and Jon Hooker treated book browsers and music lovers to the gentle sound of fingerpicking, slide and blues guitar.

It was great to see people hunting for books while tapping their feet to the rhythm of the blues. And one elderly couple was spotted jiving in a stately fashion as the Cannonball Rag twinkled over the non-fiction shelves.

I’d like to think that one or two young people were inspired to pick up a copy of Guitar for Beginners by Minna Lacey or to grab The Devil’s Music: A History of the Blues by Giles Oakley. I borrowed a CD called Ragtime Memories and I’m almost sure I saw that elderly couple leaving with a copy of Peggy Spencer’s The Joy Of Dancing tucked under an arm.

Hugh and Jon are playing at New Brighton Library at 2pm tomorrow and at Shirley Library at 2pm Wednesday, 25 May. Head on down, grab a sofa and enjoy a slice of summer.

Feverish fretting in the key of D

CD coverI’m supposed to be feverishly fretting about the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival, but I’ve found myself a little distracted by fretting of a different kind. Guitar frets, to be precise.

James Wilkinson is a guitarist and composer who has been on the Canterbury scene for a while now. We’ve just posted Nicole Reddington’s short interview with him on the library website. We add new musician profiles each year when music month rolls around.

You might remember him from Rua, or Hampster, or The Two Jimmies. I remember him playing solo at the Harbourlight with his fingers flying and the frets melting as he riffed off in one direction, then another, then another.

And thanks to the Naxos Music Library, I can listen to those wonderful guitar sounds whenever I feel the need. Two of his albums are included:

If you want to listen, you’ll need your library card and PIN, but be warned – next time he’s playing live, you’ll probably want to go and see him.

Marvel at the acoustic brilliance of Tommy Emmanuel

Over the years I’ve been to many great concerts with my Dad.   He’s introduced me to some of my favourite musicians including James Taylor, Dave Matthews and the Finn Brothers and I always jump at the chance to go and see someone in concert that I’ve never heard of before.  Tommy Emmanuel was one such musician, and when I went to see him in concert at the Theatre Royal a couple of years ago I was blown away.  The things that he could do with a guitar were amazing and it was easy to forget that he was the only musician on the stage.  After the concert I just had to hear more from Tommy and got some of his previous CDs from the Library.

Therefore, when I saw that we had just got Tommmy Emmanuel’s new live CD, Center Stage, at the Library I had to get my hands on it.  The CD is fantastic and it was like being back at that concert again.  One of my favourite songs from the new CD is a masterpiece called ‘Initiation’ in which Tommy shows the range of his guitar skills.

If you appreciate true musical genius, check out Tommy Emmanuel

A treasure trove of Kiwi music

The Verlaines and The Clean returnBeing a librarian means that you get to see a lot of books, particularly new ones.  It’s not every day that you audibly gasp with delight when a new book falls into your hands but it happened today.  The little black Kiwi songbook is the just about the best thing since sliced Vogels. 

Why the excitement?  Well, it has the chords and lyrics to over 120 classic kiwi songs of the pub-rock variety and features many songs from APRA’s top 100 New Zealand songs of all time.  Songs from The Clean, Dave Dobbyn, the Finns (in various incarnations), Scribe, Opshop and The Exponents are all included.  It’s an absolute must for budding buskers or summer party guitarists.  Grab this and the Outrageous Fortune soundtrack and you’ll be in full Kiwi party mode in time for Christmas.