Flip Grater – On food, music and parenting

Singer-songwriter Flip Grater, Christchurch born and raised, is back ‘on stage’ after a hiatus from performing since the birth of her first child. We catch up with Flip to coincide with her gig appearance at Blue Smoke with fellow Cantabrian-bred Andrew Keoghan, as part of his Something Going On Tour promoting his latest album Every Orchid Offering.

Flip Grater (Image supplied)

Flip’s music has been described as sultry, languid, indie, folk and personal. Her albums include Pigalle, While I’m Awake I’m at War, Be All and End All and Cage for a Song produced by her own label, Maiden Records, and she has published a book The Cookbook Tour: Adventures in Food & Music (a tour diary including recipes and a CD).

FlipGratercookbook

She is currently working on an EP of lullabies and a new album of adult material. She says she writes music “to explore certain parts of my brain that don’t tend to appear in conversation.”

Aside from music, Flip has a passion for animal welfare, wholesome foods and cooking, and is a Francophile. And of course there’s the new love in her live, her young daughter.
We flicked some quick questions to Flip about her passions:

You’re an avid cook and vegan, what foodie books are you enjoying that you can recommend?

Currently I love the Yotam Ottolenghi books, Whole: Recipes for Simple Wholefood Eating and Thug Kitchen.

PlentyMorePlentyOttolenghiNopiWholethugkitchenthugkitchen101
What music do you like to listen to when you’re cooking?

If my husband is cooking it’s always gypsy jazz. For daytime summer cooking I prefer (Belgian musician) Stromae or Rokia Traore, for evening or rainy day cooking Leonard Cohen or Gillian Welch.

You have a toddler now. How has parenthood changed your music apparoach?

Well for a start it’s pretty hard to get quality practice time in as my daughter loves to play the guitar with me if I pick it up. It’s all about fitting it in nowadays… trying to find quiet moments to play and be inspired.

You were vegan at 15 and even got your nickname Flipper from your animal rights activism. What form does activism take for you these days?

These days my activism mostly looks like setting a good example – living a vegan lifestyle, reducing plastics in our home, eating and wearing organics etc. but I have written a few pieces on my blog www.ewyum.com about certain food topics I feel passionately about.

You’re from Christchurch (having grown up in Parklands) and spend time here when not living in France. What are some of your current favourite spots in the city?

It’s been great being back seeing the new city coming to life. I miss the old High Street and lanes like Poplar Lane but I’m loving OGB, The Origin, Smash Palace, Mumbaiwala, Pot Sticker and The Cornershop Bistro in Sumner.

What role do libraries play in your life?

I’ve always appreciated libraries but never so much as right now! When we first got back from France we used New Brighton Library for all of our printing and boring officey stuff around my husband’s New Zealand Residency and applying for rental properties etc. Then I was there weekly during pregnancy reading an unhealthy amount of baby-related books. Now I take my daughter to keep her bookshelf rotating (and keep me sane by changing up the bedtime books). It’s truly invaluable.

I’ve been loving introducing Anais (my daughter) to classic English books like The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Peepo and her favourite book – Avocado Baby. And it’s great to find some brilliant newer books and New Zealand books in Te Reo like Kanohi and the Reo Pepi series. At the moment I’m loving reading her Little One by Jo Weaver and Lucy Ladybird by Sharon King-Chai.

KanohiLittleOnePeepoLucyLadybirdVeryHungryCaterpillar

Some of Flip’s Favourite Reads – on Music, Food and Parenting

Just kidsIdleParentFrenchChildrenDon'tThrowFoodPowerofNowBuddhismforMothers.jpeg

Flip Grater’s Bio
Listen:
Flip Grater CDs in our catalogue
Read: Flip’s parenting and food blog: ewyum
Follow: Find Flip Grater on Facebook

Check out other local musicians: New Zealand Music Month in May at Christchurch City Libraries

“Here comes your band…”

The iconic and legendary Pixies are well and truly back and we are giving away tickets for their Christchurch show on 9 March.

In 2014 they returned from a 23 year hiatus amid much anticipation with their comeback album Indie Cindy, which was met with thunderous applause & critical acclaim (…from myself, at least!) and if they’d stopped there I would’ve felt completely satisfied as a lifelong fan. Having waited since 1991 for an album of new material (Trompe le Monde), it’s clear that they’ve picked up right where they left off – melodic, lyrical, grunty, and with bucket loads of their signature explosiveness.

Pixies
Pixies 2017 lineup. Image supplied.

It’s now the early stages of 2017, they’ve got a new bass player (Paz Lenchantin), and I’m stoked to be readying myself to see them live right here in Christchurch, on Thursday, 9 March at Horncastle Arena, as they tour their latest album Head Carrier.

Released late last year, Head Carrier is yet another example of their signature sound and songwriting styles, and if you’ve never heard them before then this album is well worth a listen if you like bands such as The Stone Roses, Smashing Pumpkins, or even The Jesus & Mary Chain – another 1990s indie band due to make a comeback this year.

If you’re keen to win a double pass to the Christchurch Pixies show just answer the simple question on our competitions page.

Good luck and see you on the night!

Photo Hunt October: Strumming on the Roof tops of New Regent Street, 1966

Strumming on the roof..
Highly Commended entry in the Christchurch City Libraries 2008 Photo Hunt. HWC08-ANZC-011 CC-BY-NC-ND-3.0 NZ.

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.

RIP His Royal Purpleness – Prince

It’s a sad day for the music world. Prince of Purple Rain fame died on Thursday in his Paisley Park home. He was well known for his sexually-charged lyrics and his musical genius. He was a multi-instrumentalist.

Cover Cover Cover Cover

“As one of the most gifted and prolific musicians of our time, Prince did it all. Funk. R&B. Rock and roll. He was a virtuoso instrumentalist, a brilliant bandleader and an electrifying performer,” U.S. President Barack Obama said in a statement.

Prince fought for many years to ensure copyright was upheld on all his music. So much so that there were many legal battles, no Prince music videos appear on YouTube, there is no official Facebook page nor official Prince website apart from one page promoting his latest album Art Official Age.

Fan girl and proud of it

I’m mocked mercilessly about my raving and hyperventilating but I don’t care, I know exceptional talent when I see it. I won’t be swayed from my mission to getting everyone I know to listen to my favourite singer and all time amazing person, Tami Neilson. A Canadian now living in New Zealand, she has a powerhouse voice with a stunning range, able to belt, swoon or blues her way through the songs she writes that are about heartache, love and loss but also just the joy of living.

Tami Neilson with awardShe is a winner of the Apra Silver Scrolls Award for best song and has numerous NZ Music Awards, and you may have seen her on numerous television shows, most recently 7 Days and singing with Dave Dobyn at the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards. She also created the soundtrack  for local series The Brokenwood Mysteries.

I thought I’d let everyone know that we have just received in her latest album, Don’t Be Afraid, into the library collection, to add to her other earlier ones, and it’s a doozy, just like last year’s epic and award winning Dynamite (which I am told is on it’s way into our collection soon).

With a soulful voice straight from the golden age of country and rockabilly music, Tami Neilson has been described as “A red-hot honky-tonker, somewhere between Patsy Cline and Wanda Jackson with perhaps just a little bit of Peggy Lee sophistication.” -Nick Bollinger, NZ National Radio

I’ve stalked her like a Justin Beiber fan stalks the Beibmeister, having seen her perform four times in the last year, even flying to Auckland recently so I could be at her album launch. It’s almost reached the restraining order stage, as Tami now knows my husband and I by sight and gives us great big warm hugs, “Hey, you guys!”, and I’ve got a picture of her with me and everything…. (yes I’m 53 not 13!)

electric guitarThere’s been this huge upswell of Alt Country/Americana awareness in this country over the last year or two, in part mostly to artists like Tami Neilson, Dave Khan and some Canterbury boys; Delaney Davidson, Marlon Williams and Ben Woolley. Marlon just picked up two awards at the New Zealand music awards mentioned above. These talented young men have been in well known local bands such as The Eastern, Unfaithful Ways and Devilish Mary and the Holy Rollers. Original music, passion and talent combine, and to see them live is just a joyous night out, pure and simple.

But if you can’t get along to a gig, we also have their CDs in various forms, and you will often see on the album sleeve a selection of the above artists as they often get together to add their talent to each other’s projects. There are so many exceptionally talented New Zealand musicians trying to make a living out there, so if you’re into music, keep your eyes open for local gigs, they’re everywhere.

The next opportunity to see the tremendous Tami here in Christchurch will be at the Nostalgia Festival in February at Ferrymead Park, along with The Phoenix Foundation, The Eastern and Devilish Mary and the Holy Rollers to name a few. Don’t miss it!

Rock’s Backpages are here!

Some of my earliest musical memories involve heated debates between my parents about what should be next on the record player. Mum wants ABBA and Dad wants Led Zeppelin. The compromise was Queen.

Everyone has musical memories and heroes. I had Madonna posters on the wall, even though Dad had nothing good to say about someone who takes crucifixes so lightly. Our latest eResource embraces and feeds our love for music by providing articles, reviews and interviews with the well-known – and not so well-known – musical artists that have haunted our hearing.

Rock’s backpages is a wonderful archive of musical journalism that covers from the 1950s until today. Just yesterday I spent half an hour listening to an interview with Robin Gibb talking about surviving the Hither Green railway crash which killed 49 people in 1967. This is an example of the random gems of information you come across while searching this eResource. Who hasn’t sung regardless of skill? Who hasn’t danced despite a lack of coordination? Dive into this new musical eResource from us and find your musical heroes waiting.

Led Zeppelin and Tchaikovsky

One of my earliest music memories is my Dad playing me Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. He was always more of a Led Zeppelin fan in truth, so his knowledge of classical music was surprising. Then again anyone who listens to the 1812 Overture with its cannon fire and chimes at the end would be forgiven in thinking this may have been the start of “heavy metal”.

I can and do stream the 1812 Overture on Naxos Music Library and Music Online. I only did it at work once and my productivity went up – true story. By the end of that piece of music I felt like I could run a marathon despite being stuck at my desk. I only did it once at work though, because people stared at my manic legs jiggling up and down and my hands waving invisible conductor batons.

If you enjoy music in all its forms then we have streaming eResources for you available 24/7. I mean who doesn’t want to listen to Turkish Hip Hop on Contemporary World Music? Or maybe watch Verdi’s La Traviata at the Royal Opera House in Convent Garden on Naxos Video Library? There is a huge range for everyone to help you rediscover past musical memories and make new ones. I think it was Dick Clark who said “music is the soundtrack to your life”. What will your soundtrack be? Mine started with cannon fire let us hope it doesn’t end with a whimper.

Record Store Day: Put the needle on the record

Record Store Day is on Saturday 18 April 2015. For New Zealand events and releases, check out Dubdotdash’s listing of Record Store Day events.

In Ōtautahi, Galaxy Records has Bad Evil live instore (“middayish”), and rare and collectable vinyl from the vaults. Pennylane Records will be celebrating over the weekend too, Lyttelton’s Delaney Davidson will sign copies of his limited edition vinyl release Diamond Dozen at the Sydenham store, 11am.

For interesting New Zealand perspectives, read:

I am partial to record store (and music label) related reading, here are some goodies:

Cover of Facing the other way Cover of Cowboys and Indies  Cover of Rough Trade

The Library caters for music lovers well, we send you off to the record store better informed and give you the chance to try before you buy. See our Music section for more information – and don’t forget next month is New Zealand Music Month (Martin Phillipps at Central Library Peterborough? Oh yes please).

Changes to our music eResources

Access to Freegal will cease at the end of this month. There are still a number of ways in which to get your groove on at Christchurch City Libraries. These include:

Music Online: A truly huge catalogue of music. Includes streaming audio of classical, popular, and world music, opera, and jazz. Music Online allows you to cross search: American Song; Classical Music Library; Contemporary World Music; Jazz Music Library; Popular Music Library and Smithsonian Global Sound.

Naxos Music Library: the world´s largest online classical music library. Currently, it offers streaming access to more than one and a half million tracks of both standard and rare repertoire and is continually updated. Jazz, world, and pop/rock are also represented in this eResource.

Oxford Music: for all your music reference queries.

All you need to access the above musical resources are your password/PIN and a need to escape this cold world and float away on a few magical music notes!

Recent necrology, August-September 2014

Some well-known people who have died recently

  • Frans Bruggen, 1934-2014
    Dutch conductor, recorder player and baroque flautist
  • Mary Cadogan, 1928-2014
    English author who wrote on popular and children’s fiction
  • Graham Joyce, 1954-2014
    British writer of speculative fiction
  • Bill Kerr, 1922-2014
    Australian actor and comedian
  • John Ritchie, 1921-2014
    Music educator, composer and conductor, ‘father’ of Christchurch music
  • Joan Rivers, 1937-2014
    American actress, comedian, writer and TV host
  • David St John Thomas, 1929-2014
    English publisher and writer who founded David & Charles publishing house
  • Eoin Young, 1939-2014
    New Zealand motoring journalist