Brighton’s Great Escape shifts the spotlight on New Zealand this year for a special showcase of four indie folk acts that are not only making sizeable waves in their own country but are being also being felt across the globe.
When you see who I’m talking about, I’m sure you’ll find a good enough reason to get yourself down there to support them. All of them (except one) have featured on Folk Radio UK:
Out of all the artists featured Hollie Fullbrook, aka Tiny Ruins, has probably been the most prominent over the years in these pages starting with a review in 2010 of her collaboration with A Singer of Songs prior to her debut the following year. Even then she stole the show as Melanie shared:
Tiny Ruins dominates the affair and it feels safe to say that the album, vocally, is hers, as the woody timbre vocals are perfectly suited to these tales of blustery evenings, late night journeys and within these, recurrent mentionings of crossing “to the other side”, pointing to lack of time and the fragility of life. Read the full review.
With her 2011 debut Some Were Meant for Sea the sentiment was also clear…three years later she was signed by Bella Union….
In fact she may appear NZ’s answer to Laura Marling, her vocals wise and rich beyond their years, while the clarity of her stripped back folk songs belie the depth in the words uttered and curious stories told. Read the full review.
Lyrically she is indeed one of a kind. For her Great Escape performance and UK tour she will be accompanied by drummer/ percussionist Hamish Kilgour of legendary Flying Nun band The Clean…a pairing that has the mirrors the duo performances of Jim White and Nina Nastasia…a rare and beautiful combo.
Christchurch resident Aldous Harding was the next name on the list to literally blow us away. I say ‘us’ as I passed her 2014 debut album to Thomas to review and his opening paragraph really set in context what we all felt..
For those of us who are relatively ignorant of New Zealand’s creative industries it is tempting to think that the country’s output is limited to Peter Jackson, Flight of the Conchords and Katherine Mansfield. Sure, there have been some more than decent bands down the years – from the Flying Nun label’s impressive roster in the 1980s, admired by Pavement’s Stephen Malkmus amongst others, to more recent bands like The Ruby Suns – but none of them have had a huge amount of exposure in Europe or North America. Whether Christchurch resident Aldous Harding can change that remains to be seen, but on the strength her self-titled debut album she certainly deserves to. Read the full review.
Next up…Nadia Reid. Now this lady stood well and truly out from the crowd, quiet recently in fact, with her debut album Listen to Formation, Look for the Signs. Again she made a huge impression and James felt the same buzz as well…
The singer-songwriter at times can seem like an over-populated breed, where middling platitudes outnumber emotional insight. But, when you hit upon the real thing, it is unmistakable. New Zealand native Nadia Reid is the real thing, a fact that her debut album Listen to Formation, Look for the Signs backs up in spades. Read the full review.
Originally from Port Chalmers, Dunedin Nadia has a richness of voice that conveys a depth of emotion and wisdom beyond her years. She has already claimed her place as one of New Zealand’s most evocative and profound young songwriters with the release of her debut album Listen To Formation, Look For the Signs late last year. A wider UK/European tour will follow.
Finally, the only male in the showcase (a refreshing change)…and the only name I’m unfamiliar with. I’ll be honest, I’d never heard of Anthonie before but when I heard this…I was more than happy to hear more, yep, I can get the Rufus Wainwright comparisons, but honestly?…I like this more.
Anthoine is an indie rock songwriter with narrative lyrics who finds inspiration in everything from long-form journalism, local politics to Roman Polanski’s Chinatown in his latest album Successor. With an arresting, theatrical live show, Tonnon has already supported the likes of Beirut, Okkervil River, Yumi Zouma and Courtney Barnett back home. Onwards and upwards!
All four of the above artists have been finalists for The Taite Music Prize – New Zealand’s answer to the Mercury Prize, celebrating artistic merit, creativity, innovation and excellence in an album.
NEW ZEALAND @ THE GREAT ESCAPE 2016
Friday 20h of May, 12pm – 4pm, Paganinni Ballroom (The Old Ship Hotel), Kings Road, Brighton
12.00pm – Aldous Harding
1.15pm – Anthonie Tonnon
2.15pm – Nadia Reid
3.10pm – Tiny Ruins & Hamish Kilgour
Additional Evening Showcases:
Friday 20th May Venue: Sallis Benny 7.00pm
Friday 20th May Venue: Queens Hotel 8.30pm
Tiny Ruins & Hamish Kilgour
Saturday 21st May Venue: Sallis Benny 9.00pm
Saturday 21st May Venue: Patterns Upstairs 6.30pm
NADIA REID Full UK tour:
29. May – Bexhill-on-Sea, UK / De La Warr Pavillion
30. May – Leeds, UK / The Fox & Newt
1. June – London, UK / The Lexington / VENUE UPGRADE
2. June – Manchester, UK / Portico Library
3. June – Todmorden, UK / Golden Lion (Crazy 8s)
4. June – Glasgow, UK / Broadcast
5. June – Edinburgh, UK / Sneaky Pete’s