7 Feb 2024

Fresh sounds from the Dunedin music scene

From Nine To Noon, 11:10 am on 7 February 2024
Top left: Sylvie Harper, Before the Snooze (photo: Paul S Allan). Bottom left: Tahu & the Takahē, Sammy Alixander.

Top left: Sylvie Harper, Before the Snooze (photo: Paul S Allan). Bottom left: Tahu & the Takahē, Sammy Alixander. Photo: Supplied

Music academic Ian Chapman shines a spotlight on a quartet of Dunedin acts that are proof positive Otepoti’s diverse music scene is in great shape heading into 2024. 


'Tears You Cry' by Sylvie Harper

15-year-old Sylvie Harper is a Year 11 student at St Hilda's Collegiate.

In the last two years, she's won the Best Vocalist Award at the Rockquest regional finals and was also a finalist at the Gold Guitar Awards in 2021. She is also involved in musical theatre, most recently starring in the St Hilda's production of The Little Mermaid last year.

"Sylvia is a very active songwriter, composing songs for her rock with and collaborating with their peers and also writing tracks for her solo career.

"Although she's been making music and singing her whole life Sylvie has begun to really focus on original songs this past year and has worked with some really supportive vocal coaches and producers.

"It's quite a challenge I think to take a fairly sad subject matter and make it really harmonically melodically interesting like Sylvie does. I think she's got a great future."

Sylvie's current mentor is musician and University of Otago Senior Teaching Fellow David Harrison.

Watch Sylvie covering Dolly Parton's 'Jolene':


'Just Like A Song' by Before the Snooze

Before the Snooze is a four-piece band formed in 2018 and influenced by British music from the late '80s and early '90s like The Happy Mondays and The Stone Roses.

They released their debut album Wipe the Slate in 2021.

Songwriter Steven Hillman says it was lead guitarist Wes Jenkins who brought the guitar riff and chorus for 'Just Like A Song' into the rehearsal room then he wrote the lyrics and added a simple baseline.

"The intention was to make something really groovy and positive while the lyrics point to some darker feelings about the modern world."

This song is available on the Before the Snooze Bandcamp and the usual streaming platforms. Any money made from sales will go towards completing their  "all-important second album".

Watch Before the Snooze play their 2023 single 'Concentrate on Better Things':


'Lost in Translation' by Sammy Alixander

17-year-old Sammy Alixander is a singer-songwriter in her final year at Otago Girls High School. She was a finalist in the Play It Strange songwriting competition in 2022, and a category winner at the New Zealand Gold Guitar Awards in 2023.

She has been heavily involved in performing arts since childhood making her Dunedin stage debut in 2017's musical version of Mary Poppins.

In the upcoming Otago Girls high school production of Legally Blonde, she plays Elle Woods.

Sammy is also working on music with David Harrison.


'New Heart' by Tahu & The Takahēs

"This well-established band is the brainchild of one of the nation's most flamboyant larger-than-life musical identities - the inimitable and holy magnificent Tahu Mackenzie.

"Dunedin audiences have been loving Tahu's brand of blues and soul for many years.

"Tahu has the most flamboyant stage costumes and performance possess of just about any New Zealand artist that I've ever seen."

Watch Tahu & The Takahēs play 'New Heart':