24 May 2020

Musicians in lockdown overdrive

From Pick and Mix, 12:00 pm on 24 May 2020

New music has begun emerging in the midst of the worldwide shutdown.   

Auckland based singer songwriter Reb Fountain has been working hard promoting her new self titled album. She was due to play several big festivals in the US until they were cancelled. Fortunately she’d already recorded the new songs and Reb Fountain was released on 1 May and hit the charts immediately. 


People’s listening tastes appear to be changing as they stay at home with time on their hands. A study by The Independent newspaper has found that interest has grown in more traditional styles of music while interest in pop artists has waned. Louis Armstrong music has experienced a rise in interest of almost 20 per cent since March.


New Zealand violinist Fiona Pears has been super busy working from home in Lyttelton. She and her hero Roby Lakatos in isolation in Budapest made a recording from their respective homes. Roby also called on friends from the Budapest Orchestra to add their voices to Fiona’s arrangement of the theme to Cinema Paradiso.


A new release from American banjoist Abigail Washburn with Chinese born guzheng player Wu Fei. Both women are accomplished and virtuosic folk musicians, from the Appalachian and Chinese traditions. Their duo album combines folk tunes from their respective cultures in the same track.


Aotearoa artist Aja Ropata was hot off the blocks for NZ music month releasing her new song Kāwai on 10 May. Originally from Porirua, Aja is now based in Ōtautahi – Christchurch where she is a te reo Māori teacher now finding time to work on her debut album.  


Young British cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason has been taking advantage of the hiatus in his schedule to release a single called ‘Melody’ that he wrote inspired by folk music. He comes from a family of seven talented musicians who have all returned to the family home in Nottingham during lockdown where they have been making music together for  live streams on Sheku's Facebook page every week.  

Music Details: 

SAINT-SAENS arr Terrasson: Volière, from Carnival of the Animals - Emmanuel Pahud (fl), Jacky Terrasson (pno), Ali Jackson (drums), Sean Smith (dbass) (EMI 5 57257)
CARMICHAEL: Stardust - Louis Armstrong and his orchestra (Pro Arte 950439)
BROOKS, RAZAF, WALLER: (What Did I Do to Be So) Black and Blue - Louis Armstrong (Sony 787658)
FOUNTAIN: When Gods Lie - Reb Fountain, Finn Andrews (Flying Nun 2020)
FOUNTAIN: Quiet like the rain - Reb Fountain (Flying Nun 2020)
MORRICONE: Cinema Paradiso - Fiona Pears (vln), Roby Lakatos (vln), members of the MÁV Symphony Orchestra, Budapest (Private (Ian Tilley) 2020)
KODALY: Kállai kettös - Roby Lakatos (vln), Ernest Bangó (cymbalon) (DG 457 879)
TRAD: Water is Wide/Wusuli Boat Song - Wu Fei (voice, guzheng) Abigail Washburn (voice, banjo) (Smithsonian Folkways SFW40236)
TRAD: Bu Da Da - Wu Fei (voice, guzheng), Abigail Washburn (voice, banjo) (Smithsonian Folkways SFW40236)
KANNEH-MASON: Melody - Sheku Kanneh-Mason (cello) (Decca 2020)
HADAR arr Tom Hodge: Evening of Roses - Sheku Kanneh-Mason (cello), CBSO (Decca 483 2948)
ROPATA: Kawai,Kawai - Aja Ropata (Meetinghouse Records 2020)
C BEGLEY, B BEGLEY: Polka John/Camino Polka - Cormac Begley (concertina) (Cormac Begley 2017)
LAGRENE: Made in France - Fiona Pears (vln), Connor Hartley-Hall (gtr) (FRUITSALADA promosouth)