New Zealand folk music

Scotland, postponed

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John Collie (1834-1893)

Around this time (September 2020) I’d planned to travel to Scotland, on my first visit. There was to be a family gathering for my sister’s wedding in Edinburgh.

The trip’s now postponed indefinitely, for obvious reasons

The idea was to visit Boyndie, Banffshire, where my great-great-grandfather John Collie grew up.

In 1856, in his early 20s he published a book : Poems and Lyrics (in the English and Scotch Dialects).

I‘ve started setting some of it to music.

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Loose Autumn Moans (2003)

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“Wellington, NZ composer Dave Edwards with some able assistance from duo or trio the Winter... Guitars, violin, cello, and percussion all stack up… He’s got a persona that’s all his own.”

George Parsons, Dream Magazine #5

All acoustic, with a string section, recorded and mixed on analogue equipment, and originally released on cassette in 2003 – new 2020 remaster.

Featuring

Sam Prebble (violin)

Mike Kingston (cello)

sam & san

and Simon Sweetman on percussion.

simon w newspaper

Wellington, New Zealand

Bats Theatre, Wellington NZ 2003

 

Loose Autumn Moans consists of five acoustic ensemble tracks:

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

The album is structured as a progression from summer (with a NZ pohutukawa tree in flower on the cover) through autumn – a time of harvest, preparation, shortening daylight, and the shedding of old dead layers – and finishes with an extended live version of ‘O Henry Ending’, recorded at the Winter’s first gig.

 

The original C60 cassette (and later online) release included solo interludes recorded in 2002. These are now available separately as

After the Filmshoot (2002)

By focusing on the 2003 sessions Loose Autumn Moans becomes concise, emphasising the lyrics and the jazzy acoustic instrumental interplay – a mini orchestra to bring colour.

Sam Prebble RIP, 2014

Loose Autumn Moans is dedicated to Sam Prebble (aka Bond Street Bridge), who died in 2014.

Further listening

The collaboration with these guys followed on from

The Winter: Parataxes

The Winter live at Photospace Gallery, July 2003 (photo by James Gilberd)

The Winter‘s debut: electric and acoustic trio improvisations for guitars, cello and percussion, by Dave Edwards, Mike Kingston, and Simon Sweetman (2003)

“A strange sonic brew that includes dissonant rock textures, rough outsider folk-blues mysteries, electric and acoustic improvisations and a considerable part of tasty feedback. Imagine equal parts Derek Bailey, New Zealand’s Pumice and classic ’60s blues/folk and you’re in the right ballpark.”The Broken Face

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Solitude

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Written in 1856, but timely perhaps?

This poem is the first of 44 pieces in the book Poems & Lyric by John Collie.

It was written by my great-great-grandfather in Scotland. 164 years later, living in 21st century coronavirus lockdown NZ, we’ve all had to bring back solitude. Creating music’s become a solitary pursuit again (or else a virtual one). Adapting this poem gave the chance for a 12-minute acoustic epic whose time had come (again).

lyrics

OH give me near some swelling stream to stray, 0r tread the windings of some pathless wood, For I am wearied of the bustling day, And long to meet thee, gloomy Solitude: That I with thee may climb those shelfy steeps, Which frown majestic o’er the boiling deeps. Read the rest of this entry »

Sonnet on Summer

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from Poems & Lyrics by John Collie (1856)

Rosemary Bromley, Dave Edwards, Hans Landon-Lane

Clever Hansel – ukulele vocal
Dave Edwards – guitar, harmonica, vocal

This was the last in-person collaboration before the COVID-19 shutdown, recorded in Lower Hutt, New Zealand, March 2020.

John Collie (1834-1893)

THE sweet breath of summer blows fresh o’er each plain,

The woods have resumed their lost grandeur again;

The groves with the notes of the blackbird are ringing,

By fountain and streamlet the wild flowers are springing.

And the breath of the heather bell sweetens the breeze,

And the old stormy ocean lies slumbering in peace;

And the wild bees are humming around the wild flowers,

Afar above earth the lark proudly soars;

The bleat of the lamb on the moss-cover’d hill,

The sound of the shepherd’s pipe jocund and shrill,

All tell in a language most striking and plain,

T hat summer, fair summer, is reigning again,

The old face of nature her smiles has put on,

And the blustery appearance of winter has flown.

The Marion Flow (part 2, Wellington 2001)

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It’s lo-fi, organic and about as eclectic as one could manage. Kind of reminds me of Nick Cave if he had grown up in Timaru. No pretentious American accents or catch phrase choruses, just a bunch of people making music. A little beauty!” – NZ Musician, August/September 2002

The Marion Flow was originally a longer album which spanned recordings from New Plymouth in 1999 and Wellington in 2001.

This page is for the 2001 Wellington recordings: produced by Paul Winstanley, & featuring Chris O’Connor (drums), Chris Palmer (electric guitars), Simon O’Rorke (percussion), and more. Recorded at Thistle Hall, Wellington, 2001, and mixed by Joe Callwood.

For the earlier 1999 New Plymouth sessions see The Marion Flow (part 1, Taranaki);
By the time the opportunity arose to finish recording the Marion Flow I’d been thoroughly immersed in the Wellington free jazz and avant-garde music scene, and was very fortunate to have help from some of the top players there. I’d never studied music at school or been in a conventional band, and was out of my depth technically… so working around my limitations became a spark to creativity.

Edwards’ music is often a sculpture rather than a melodic composition. Within this chosen form, amongst all the writings rantings & poetry there’s much difficult pleasure to be had for the musically adventurous.” – Brent Cardy, Real Groove, July 2002

In 1999, aged 20, I’d left New Plymouth, a large rural town, where I grew up, and moved to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, where I’d been born and where my early pakeha settler ancestors had lived in the 19th century. The Marion Flow reflects this journey, geographically, sonically and spiritually.

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I’ve now reissued the two halves of the album separately – to emphasise the sense of time and place, and stylistic evolution, and to re-present them more concisely for the short-attention-span 21st century.

Further listening

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The Marion Flow (part 1, Taranaki 1999)

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It’s lo-fi, organic and about as eclectic as one could manage. Kind of reminds me of Nick Cave if he had grown up in Timaru. No pretentious American accents or catch phrase choruses, just a bunch of people making music. A little beauty!” – NZ Musician, August/September 2002

Produced by Paul Winstanley, & featuring Steve Duffels, the Digitator, the Dadapapa Magickclone Orchestra and more. Recorded at the TFC Lounge, New Plymouth, 1999 – with special thanks to Brian Wafer.

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The Marion Flow is a pre-millennial fusion of warm acoustic pop, spoken word and postpunk discord.. An almost-acknowledged New Zealand classic from Taranaki – of its time (the ’90s!) yet timeless.

In 1999, aged 20, I left New Plymouth, a large rural town, where I grew up, and moved to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, where I was born. The Marion Flow reflects this journey, geographically, sonically and spiritually.

The Marion Flow was originally a longer album spanning recordings from New Plymouth in 1999 and Wellington in 2001. I’ve now reissued the two halves separately – to emphasise the sense of time and place, and stylistic evolution, and to re-present each more concisely for the short-attention-span 21st century.

This page is for the 1999 New Plymouth sessions;

Further listening

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The Land of My Youth (by John Collie, 1856)

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Poem by John Collie (1834-1893),

 

from his book Poems and Lyrics in the English and Scotch Dialects, published in Banffshire, Scotland in 1856

Performed by his great-great-grandson Dave Edwards on banjo at Wairarapa TV in Masterton, New Zealand, 4 May 2019.

John Collie emigrated to New Zealand in 1858. This poem seems to anticipate his leaving Scotland forever, to start a new life in a new country on the opposite side of the world.

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Eastern

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4th May 2019 at Wairarapa TV May Music Marathon

Solo guitar version of a tune by the Electricka Zoo, from our 2017 debut album:

It’s based on the hijaz scale and a 7/8 rhythm.

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Here’s a Health to my Cronies (by John Collie, 1856)

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19th century Scottish drinking song, by John Collie (1834-1893), from his book ‘Poems and Lyrics

Played by his great-great-grandson Dave Edwards – first public performance of this piece, at Dragon Inn, Featherston, NZ, 6 Feb 2019 .

A couple of months later I played it at Wairarapa TV May Music Marathon on 4th of May 2019

which features on the Live 2019 album.

HERE’S A HEALTH TO MY CRONIES.

HERE’S a health to my cronies where’er they reside, Whether this side or that o’ yon big rowin’ tide ; I care na what country or kingdom they claim, Be they English or Irish to me it’s the same, Gif their hearts to a glass o’ gude whisky incline, I instantly class them as “Cronies o’ mine.”

Awa wi’ yon nabob purse-proud o’ his gear, Neither he nor his wealth hae charms for us here; Awa wi’ yon fop wi’ his clear headed cane, A bit trip through the warld, it’s use may explain; But welcome my cronies wherever ye be, To join in this gude reekin’ bumper wi’ me.

A fig for the wealth that this warld can gie, We naething brought here, sae we’ve naething to lea; The farmer wi’ ousen an’ acres galore, Has his crosses just now, an’ may sune count on more; Then come here, my cronies, let’s kick awa care, As lang’s we’ve a groat or a shilling to spare.