THE EMPIRE CITY; SONGS OF WELLINGTON by ANDREW LAKING and BOB KERR (VUP book/CD)

 |   |  1 min read

Andrew Laking: At the Wharves
THE EMPIRE CITY; SONGS OF WELLINGTON by ANDREW LAKING and BOB KERR (VUP book/CD)

With historic photos, and subtle, evocative paintings by Bob Kerr (perhaps most fondly remembered for his terrific Terry and the Gunrunners comic book series), this book/CD by writer and songwriter/singer Andrew Laking sketches in a broad picture of moments, people and iconic places (the wharves) in the history of New Zealand's capital city.

For those not familiar with what shaped Wellington -- colonists, the contained landscape, inspirational figures, demolition and the Wahine tragedy (subject here of a reverent solo piano piece by Norman Meehan) among them -- this collection of songs (their lyrics in the book) and illustrations open the door a little  . . . and the glossary usefully fills in the finer details of the specific references: everything from Pelorus Jack to Chase Corporation.

Laking is a New Zealand political science graduate who lived in Ireland for 10 years where he released five albums on the US label Compass and here brings literate but crisp lyrics, the acoustic guitar gently embellished by a discreet cast of friends who sit back in support and let the songs speak for themselves.

covers_copyVocally Laking broadcasts on a very similar frequency throughout -- a low, urgent folk style for the most part, and sometimes you might want for more overt projection -- but the dark, reflective mood most often captures the stories and events being presented.

Beautifully presented on his own Pirate and Queen imprint through Victoria University Press, The Empire City speaks quietly, and by not raising its voice invites you in to pay closer attention . . . and Kerr's images (and a couple of recent photos by Ines MacMullen) compliment the project with similar understatement.

The Empire City; Songs of Wellington by Andrew Laking and Bob Kerr is available through VUP, $35

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Cultural articles index

NEW YORK, THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF 9/11: In a New York State of Mind (2002)

NEW YORK, THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF 9/11: In a New York State of Mind (2002)

Beyond the wingtip is a clear blue sky, exactly the same kind out of which tragedy arrived a year ago.It is September 11 and I'm flying into New York, America's capital of brashness but which... > Read more

THE CHANGING CULTURE OF CLASSICAL MUSIC: Real world murder in the house

THE CHANGING CULTURE OF CLASSICAL MUSIC: Real world murder in the house

When the recording of Robert Moran’s new opera was released in '94 there was an almost predictable ripple of controversy in the more staid sections of the classical world. And not because... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Jeff Healey: Last Call (Stony Plain/Southbound)

Jeff Healey: Last Call (Stony Plain/Southbound)

When the singer/blues guitarist Jeff Healey first emerged in the late Eighties there were two critical camps set up: those who heard him as a fiery young player in the tradition of a Stevie Ray... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: Bob Dylan: Original Album Classics

THE BARGAIN BUY: Bob Dylan: Original Album Classics

Every few years or so, some writer or magazine kicks off the idea that Bob Dylan's horrible Eighties need reconsidering. So the search is on for lost gems but, just like gold nuggets in a... > Read more