Innocents and Miscreants – documenting the nu-folk musical movement

August 05, 2009  •  Leave a Comment

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Rolling in the aisles, f3.5@1/50th & 500 ISO

In which your host ponders (and promotes) the appeal of the nu-folk/alt-country bands that have been tearing up and down New Zealand.

 

The Eastern

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Stomp, f1.8@1/15th & 1,000 ISO

Much is made of The Eastern’s foot-stomping. It’s certainly a prodigious skill, but given all the other skills this band can display it’s hardly the first one to talk about. But people do, and I think that that’s because it’s symbolic of the level of involvement they have in their music (duh) and their determination to drive the show to the audience. During the show pictured above there was actually an earthquake, but my table of attendees all assumed it was Adam stomping.

The Eastern come from a parallel universe where Springsteen grew up in a bluegrass family, Lyttleton Harbour is still visited by tall-masted ships, songs are intense and come with stories, and banjos chime like bells. And I think that we’d all like to visit that universe from time to time.

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Another Adam, another hand of God, f3.2@1/250th, ISO 3200

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A Night with The Eastern, f2.8@1/250th, ISO 3200

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Calm, f2@1/30th & 1,600 ISO (ouch)

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Untitled, f1.8@1/30th & 1,000 ISO

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Giants standing on your shoulders, f1.8@1/30th & 1,000 ISO

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Untitled, f1.8@1/80th & 800 ISO

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Beard, f1.8@1/40th & 1,600 ISO (ouch)

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Hardest working band in the country, f1.8@1/125th & 800 ISO

 

Rosy Tin Teacaddy

 

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Untitled, f1.8, 1/15th ISO 1000

If you’re going to have a schtick then you have to schtick with it. Rosy Tin Teacaddy are a fake band, in the best possible way. It’s not identity fraud, it’s more like sampling from the past. The characters they play – Billy and Betty and friends – seem to have been dragged backwards through the 50s and 60s and picked up a lot of twigs,  berries, clothes, lamps, phrases and harmonies. It appeals to me because it’s alter egos without the massive egos. And the songs are wordy, clever and funny.

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Billy Earl, f1.8, 1/30th ISO 1000

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Betty Grey, f2, 1/30th ISO 1600

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Imaginative Title Here, f2, 1/30th ISO 1600

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Not Hank Marvin, but otherwise entirely in The Shadows, f1.8, 1/30th ISO 1600

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Rosy Tin Teacaddy eye contact, f1.8, 1/80th ISO 1600

 

The Ragamuffin Children

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Cross purposes, but not cross f2, 1/60th, ISO 800

The thing that amazes me most about the Ragamuffin Children is the moment of magic when they start playing and transform from an improbable collation of stories, false starts, observations and recollections to a lithe, driven and soaring display. Sweet but far from insipid.

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Untitled, f1.8, 160th, ISO 800

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Anita Clark, f1.8,1/30th ISO 1000


So, you made it to the end of the page. Well done. My closing comment is that the reason the nu-folk bands are great is that each is a little from a distinct world quite different from the norm. But at the same time it’s folk through and through because it’s communal and embracing. By the people of someplace, for the people of many places.

 


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