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Hero image for Dilworth Karaka - Give It A Whirl Interview

Dilworth Karaka - Give It A Whirl Interview

Interview – 2022

Dilworth Karaka was a founding member and mainstay vocalist/guitarist of reggae band Herbs. The group helped spearhead political music in Aotearoa, and played with various line-ups for over three decades. 

In this interview for 2003 television series Give It A Whirl, Karaka covers many topics, including:

• The political issues bubbling away in 1970s New Zealand, and Herbs making political music (4 minutes in)

• The early lineup of Herbs, and self-recording their first single (9 minutes)

• The cover of, and controversy over, 1981 release Whats' Be Happen? (12 minutes)

• How France's nuclear testing programme in the 1970s inspired song 'French Letter' (18 minutes)

• Touring the Pacific Islands (25 minutes)

• Making 'Slice of Heaven' with Dave Dobbyn (37 minutes) 

• The band's relationship with American musician Joe Walsh (40 minutes)

• How Charlie Tumahai brought his international experience to Herbs (53 minutes)

• Launching 1987 album Sensitive to a Smile in Ruatoria (60 minutes)

• New Zealand music and it's place on the international stage (63 minutes)

Read more about Herbs, on AudioCulture (NZ On Screen's sister website)

This interview was recorded for the 2003 season of TV series Give it a Whirl. All audiovisual content is copyright to Visionary Film & TV, and may not be reproduced.
The issues that we were dealing with, no one else was doing it. And OK, record companies didn't want to get involved with bands dealing in politics. Politics and rock 'n' roll just didn't seem to gel. If anything, they repel from each other. So, if your name wasn't Bob Marley it was really hard to sort of push your issue...
– Dilworth Karaka on the struggle of being a political band in 1970s Aotearoa (10 minutes into this interview)