The folkies are coming

Winston Watusi
Music Plus

A whole bunch of people with acoustic instruments are heading towards Tauranga. It happens that way sometimes.

Music here used to be very much a matter of famine or feast. Like those buses that eventually arrive two at a time there were long periods of waiting.

Not anymore.

Often the music we get is determined by certain festivals. This month it's the Auckland Folk Festival and touring acts - some of whom you could happily call ‘famous’ - are looking for places to play within comfortable range of Kumeu where the annual Auckland bash occurs.

Let's have a gander at the wave of folk music about to wash over Tauranga...

The big night next week is Thursday (January 23) when there are no fewer than three gigs of a folky persuasion that might be of interest.


If you're at the Mount you'll find five-piece Canadian band Rosier playing at Totara Street.

This is the first visit to New Zealand for the well-travelled Montreal-based band.

They've been together for ten years now, having started life under the name Les Poules à Colin. They've toured Canada, the United States, Europe, the United Kingdom, Australia and Africa, playing everywhere from small towns to the countries' national folk festivals.

The original name (for non-French-speakers) pretty much means Colin's Chickens, which was both a play on the title of a traditional Quebec song and a comment on the band members: they are Sarah Marchand (vocals, piano), Béatrix Méthé (vocals, fiddle), Éléonore Pitre (guitar/vocals), Marie Savoie-Levac (bass, vocals), and titular multi-instrumentalist Colin Savoie-Levac who contributes guitar, lap steel, foot percussion, mandolin, banjo and vocals.

Together they mix Quebec folk music with a pot-pourri of jazz, pop, bluegrass and contemporary styles.

They boast some very fine original compositions, bringing a modern sensibility and approach to the folk tradition. You can have a listen on YouTube and elsewhere online.

The show is timed for 7pm, tickets are $35  via Eventfinda.


Meanwhile, on the other side of town, a veritable folk legend is returning to Tauranga after many years.

Seventy seven year-old Irish singer and musician Andy Irvine is performing at The Te Puna Quarry Park. I could easily say something like: “he needs no introduction” but he possibly does outside folk circles.

Irvine has played on literally hundreds of albums, and I mean literally,  er, literally.

Back in the mid-sixties he was in Sweeney’s Men; in the seventies he was a founder member of Planxty, possibly the greatest of all traditional Irish groups.

Christy Moore was another founder and Irvine went on to play on many of that great singer's albums.

He also played extensively in a duo with Paul Brady and was a member of both Patrick Street (eight albums) and Mozaik (three albums). There's also a slew of solo records. And that's just scratching the surface.

Like I said – Legend.

For $20 tickets and more details about his Tauranga show call promoter Rosie Holmes on: 07 5526291 or: 0284 121316 or email:

Jam Factory

And then there's the Jam Factory...

That same Thursday they have young Aussie folkie Askya playing. He's from Western Australia - so has come a helluva long way - and is supported by another Australian, James Abberly. They also play together as you can see on their Eventfinda listing, and are really very good. Doors open at 6.30pm, tickets are $15 from Events Pronto or Eventfinda.

The following night (Friday January 24) Paul Ubana Jones is at the Jam Factory and he really doesn't need any introduction. Doors open 6.30pm, tickets are $30 from Events Pronto.

And, before that, this Sunday (January 19) the rather wonderful Mancunian indie-folk duo Good Habits are at the Jam Factory. They comprise singer/songwriter/cellist Bonnie Schwarz and international Klezmer accordionist, Pete Shaw.

That sounds like an odd line-up but I can assure you they are quite remarkable. If in doubt go to YouTube and search for Hitch by Good Habits. It's kinda astounding. Doors again at 6.30pm, tickets $15 from Events Pronto.


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