Abstract psychedelic pop music hits Shirley Library

Adam Willetts
Adam Willetts performing live

I have to admit that I am a complete novice when it comes to abstract psychedelic pop music, but as a budding librarian my craving for knowledge about the unknown encouraged me to talk to Adam Willetts about his style of music. I was especially interested as Adam will be giving a live performance at Shirley Library (Sunday 24th May) as part of Christchurch City Libraries New Zealand Music Month .

I have discovered Christchurch has a thriving experimental music scene and Adam is an important part of this and performs regularly around New Zealand and internationally, featuring alongside artists such as Dan Deacon, High Places, The Dead C, Rafael Toral, and Akio Suzuki. He was recently part of Trambience, where a Christchurch tram carriage is transformed into a mobile music venue and both the audience and performers travel through the city streets.

Adam makes his own instruments and uses his homemade synthesisers and electronics ‘to create rich and immersive fields of sound with a fragile yet propulsive sense of momentum, carefully balancing elements of euphoric beauty with seething and unpredictable noise.’

Come along to Shirley Library on Sunday 24 May 12-1pm for a musical experience like never before.

Laurie Searle at Shirley Library

Laurie Searle performs at Shirley Library
Laurie Searle performs at Shirley Library

Is there anyone out there who still thinks the library is a quiet place? It certainly wasn’t at Shirley Library this morning. After an admittedly slow start to the day we had a rather raucous storytime attended by a local kindy (that always boosts the volume) followed immediately by our first Music Month performance from pianist Laurie Searle.

Laurie spent an hour playing hits from shows, popular classics, a few jazz standards and other easy listening tunes. He even brought his own fan club – a couple of older ladies who obviously knew him well. Practically all the customers I served in that time said what a pleasure it was to have live music – one lady even said it made her want to dance.

I would love to be that musical… to just be able to sit there and play so many tunes from memory… of course I’d actually have to learn to play the piano first, then spend years practising, eventually giving up the day job as a librarian and spending all my evenings in nightclubs and restaurants playing to the punters. I think I might have left it too late though – Laurie started playing when he was 9, was broadcasting on the radio by the time he was 15 and has already had success as a trio before striking out on his own.

Alternatively you could just check out some of the CDs, tapes and even vinyl recordings we have of easy listening music and pretend.
Check out our New Zealand Music Month page for more library performances and info on local performers.

Madly looking forward to Music in May

Saturday sees the first New Zealand Music Month performances in libraries and I am uncharacteristically looking forward to working on Saturday in the Central Library because I can also catch Fire Thief .

This trio plays their own material and were great the last time they played in Central – if you like a bit of acoustic pop/rock you’ll like Fire Thief. Are they named after the Terry Deary children’s book? Or am I just a sad old librarian who thinks everything has to be named after a book?

New Zealand Music Month cometh

Every year here at Christchurch City Libraries we like to celebrate New Zealand Music Month with free performances in our libraries. This year’s programme is out in your local library now and the website has more details about the performers. Our Events Calendar will also be listing the performances as they get closer. If you missed out on the free jazz last week this is the ideal chance to get your fix of local musicians. We’ll also be doing a ‘borrow 3, get 1 free’ deal on CDs again and there will be the chance to win an Apple iPod Touch.

Watch this space!

Rugby mothers

Fabian in dirty shorts
The blogger's son... in dirty shorts

Are your children doing the Christchurch City Libraries Reading Crusade?

Although based in schools, children can enter on their own behalf if their school is not registered. Although we are in the last few weeks, a quick reader could easily get their reading log in to me by 23 March. For more info visit the Reading Crusade area of the website or have a look at the blog.

My husband thinks I am the world’s most undeserving person to be in charge of the Reading Crusade. He fell about the floor laughing when I said I had been to the CRFU offices. He said: You don’t know anything about rugby!! Continue reading

Words on wheels

I hope this isnt how theyre getting around...
I hope this isn't how they're getting around...

What’s more got more pizzazz than a set of chrome rims and a pop-off valve…and a vocabulary to boot?  Why it’s Words on Wheels of course.  While it may be fun to imagine that this involves  five of this country’s bright writing talents cruising down Bealey Ave performing selected readings out of passenger side windows this isn’t exactly what goes on. 

Instead David Geary, Anna Mackenzie, Janet Charman, Steve Braunias, and Vanda Symon will be criss-crossing the South Island, travelling to towns big and small, talking and reading to the gathered masses.

I love seeing and hearing authors in the flesh, particularly when they read their own work as you get a real sense of how they think it should be read.  Where do they put their emphasis?  How emotively do they read a particular passage?  Sometimes you find humour or added layers with an author reading.

Christchurch City Libraries is proud to host the only Christchurch stop on the 2009 Word on Wheels itinerary.  The above authors will be at the Central Library at 2pm on Monday 2 March.  This is a completely free event and no booking is required (though if you want a comfy seat you might want to come early).

The interior of the Central library is a car-free zone and we promise the only burnouts or thrown beer bottles will be fictional ones.

The history of you and yours

MatarikiAt this time of year there’s an urge to go into what I like to call “hibernation mode”.  This involves hunkering down at home on frosty nights with books or DVDs.  Believe it or not my Māori ancestors did just the same, but instead of modern amusements they turned to things such as craftwork, storytelling, waiata, and whakapapa to wile away the long winter nights.  Matariki, Māori new year, is a time to explore some of those traditions again.

In particular whakapapa was and is an important part of Māori culture (though the drive to trace and record one’s forbears is not limited to those with Māori ancestry).  For those who are interested in learning how to use library resources to trace whakapapa I will be giving a series of presentations on this topic over the month of June (see our schedule of Matariki events for dates and times).  The first session is on 4 June at Waitikiri Learning Centre so book your place now if you think you’d like to explore your Māori family history. (Warning: whakapapa/genealogy research is highly addictive)

Otherwise consider checking out these titles –

Or have a gander at our whakapapa and family history pages on the library website.