Greetings from the beautiful Te Pahu about two hours south of Auckland. Here was the scene of a quite brilliant gig last night at the Sound Lounge which is an absolutely incredible house boasting ingenious accommodation for the guest artists! A little photo of the venue. THIS IS IN SOMEONE’S HOUSE.
So that was lovely and after the gig I stayed up late to skype Cardiff (not the entire city you understand) to say hello to the school pupils whom I worked with for three months on songwriting. They were having a premiere of their work which sadly for obvious reasons I had to miss but it was lovely to feel involved.
Going backwards then, my first gig in New Zealand this time was at the legendary Bunker in Devenport and was great craic as ever and thanks to Hilary and Roger for being such kind hosts. Next up it was up a bit to Orewa to be the first ever guest artist at Hibiscus Coast Folk Club and this was an absolutely lovely gig and Paul was such a wonderful host as well as giving a damn fine opening set on blues uke too! I ran a banjo workshop the next day which was good fun and hopefully inspired a bit of clawhammering before I headed up to beautiful Tutukaka to play Schnappa Rock on Thursday. This was a good fun pub gig as well as eating exquisite food beforehand and once again being welcomed so warmly by my host. This country is wonderful!
Then came Auckland Folk Festival. I played here two years ago and it was a momentous gig that set the tone for an extraordinary tour of packed houses and more coverage than I ever expected. Well I’m pleased to say that this time around the festival was basically a league apart. More stages and sessions and terrific performers once again including a young band called Tweed who I was seriously impressed with and the Aussie bluegrass band Mustered Courage who gave a rip roaring set. Such a great variety of music including Martin and Eliza Carthy so a taste of the UK there as well!
New Zealand continues to delight in a way that no place I’ve ever been quite manages – more to come starting tonight in Hamilton.