'Don't Forget Your Roots' was released in July 2011 as the second single from Six60's self-titled debut album. The laid back meditation on family reached number two on the singles chart. The video, directed by Robin Walters, is set around the student accommodation area of north Dunedin, where the band members met while three of them were studying at Otago University. Some of the city's most notorious flats are featured, including 660 Castle Street where three of the band members lived, and the group first rehearsed.
Wellington’s Black Seeds serve up another dose of their brand of funky roots reggae on this, their debut single from third album Into The Dojo. Director Jason Naran’s video is based on a concept by former Black Seeds member Bret McKenzie (who cameos briefly on Kitchen Cam 1). The result re-imagines the concept of social networking, with a cast of online fans grooving to the music. The video was judged Best Roots winner at the 2006 Juice TV Awards.
On this song from her debut EP, bilingual Wellington singer/songwriter Ria Hall marries her respect for tradition and her use of te reo and kapa haka to the very contemporary beats of producer Riki Gooch (Eru Dangerspiel, Trinity Roots). This mix of old and new is echoed in director Jessica Sanderson's video. It casts Hall as four characters drawn from mythology to ward off the evil of Babylon and is set against a strikingly modern dreamscape of video effects, imagery and lighting. It won Best Video by a Māori Artist at the 2012 Māori Music Awards.
Salmonella Dub’s roots, dub, and drum’n’bass cocktail is shaken up on this single from their fifth album One Drop East. John Chrisstoffels’ energetic video won Juice TV’s Best R’n’b/Urban award in 2003. It borders on the claustrophobic as the camera gets right in amongst the band and an enthusiastic audience (swathed in appropriately rasta red, gold and green lighting). An apple-munching brass section might be a first but it’s megaphone-wielding singer Tiki Taane who is the centre of attention as he toasts up a storm.
The second, double-sided Toy Love single 'Don't Ask Me' / 'Sheep' was released in April 1980 and reached number 10 on the Kiwi pop charts. That year the band signed a contract with Michael Browning — a former manager of AC/DC — and made the move to Sydney, the prize being a studio album and a way bigger audience, but disillusionment soon set in. Sheep jumps out of the gates with driving drums and guitars and lyrics about numbness and confusion, all confirming Toy Love's punk roots. The band wander aimlessly around city streets and rock out in a cramped flat. Punk lives!
“This song is called ‘Medicine Man’ because music is my medicine, and failing all else in life, music remains the constant no matter who else is there.” So said Tama Waipara of the first single from his third album Fill Up the Silence, which was rated Best Roots Album at the 2014 NZ Music Awards. The song’s beat is credited to a Papua New Guinean influence, but Jessica Sanderson’s video roams widely: from Pasifika and colonial drummers to carpark breakdancing and getting lost inside headphones in a laundromat, from poi to pop and lock — to where “love is in the music”.
Canadian import Tami Neilson showcased her range with fourth album Dynamite!, colouring her country roots with lashings of rockabilly and gospel — plus this track, where she channels torch singer Peggy Lee doing a “sultry nightclub blues” (as the Herald's Graham Reid put it). The black and white video reflects the deliberately retro, minimalist vibe of the song, with Neilson grooving at front and centre while guitarist, bongo drummer and a trio of doo-wop vocalists chime in behind. 'Walk' won Tami and brother Joshua Neilson the 2014 Silver Scroll songwriting award.
Set at the apex of the magnificent Te Mata Peak, Ed Davis' spectacular one shot wonder appears devilishly loaded. Opening on a transmitter tower, we pan to discover our brooding hero slouched in front of TV. Cropping to widescreen allows Davis to cleverly frame the action and draw focus, as our axe wielding hero busts a valve, unleashing a world of hurt upon the offending appliance. Backing away from the dispute, amidst breathtaking scenery, we close on the root of evil - the loathsome tower.
Kora’s formation in Wellington in 2002 saw them associated with the city’s burgeoning dub-roots scene, but the Whakatāne brothers’ music mix also extends to elements of funk, soul, rock, house and metal. That genre-defying diversity is in evidence on this track from their debut album, as a relaxed reggae intro gives way to stomping electronica-tinged funk rock. This performance video shot in Auckland at AUT’s Vesbar captures the band in their live element, complete with a crowd-pleasing freeze that turns them into a 3D tableau, and strobe-lit climax.
With departed founder member Phil Judd back in NZ, this UK written Tim Finn rocker took Split Enz even further into pop territory and away from their art rock roots. Of a piece with the most energetic New Wave of the time, it was accompanied by a video with an appropriately frenzied performance which former member and Enz historian Mike Chunn rated as one of their most infectious. The band are wearing Noel Crombie’s art-school designed suits, Neil Finn looks ridiculously young and endings don’t come much more abruptly than this one.