It's hard to reduce legendary band Split Enz down to a single sound or image. Soon after forming in 1973, they began dressing like oddball circus performers, and their music straddled folk, vaudeville and art rock. Later the songs got shorter, poppier and — some say —better, and the visuals were toned down...but you could never accuse the Enz of looking biege. With Split Enz co-founder Tim Finn turning 65 in June 2017, this collection looks back at one of Aotearoa's most successful and eclectic bands. Writer Michael Higgins unravels the evolution of the Enz here.
A delightful animation accompanies this number one single from folk-poppers Avalanche City. With its big, catchy, chorus, the song delivers the feel-good factor and the video captures its quaint essence perfectly with its cast of storybook pirates and penguins. Mass exposure for the song came when it was used for TV2 promos and it took off on release, going gold in four weeks (despite being earlier available as a free download).
The lead single off Maisey Rika’s 2009 self-titled EP is accompanied by a delicate and moody music video. After catching up with supportive friends, Rika continues singing her song about starting over in Auckland's Albert Park. Then she hits the road in in the back of a ute, playing her way through Auckland city and on into the countryside. The 'Letting Go' single helped Rika's EP reach the NZ Top 40, following on from her previous double-platinum success — when at age 13 she released an award-winning album of traditional Māori song, E Hine.
Creating New Zealand's first local hit involved a lot of trial and error, as a company best known for making radios grappled with how to make records. Sixty-six years later Neil Finn visited musician Jim Carter, whose Hawaiian-style guitar is part of the magic of the original 'Blue Smoke' track. Finn "gently persuaded" Carter to help him record a new version on a laptop in just a few hours. Alongside newsreel shots of WWII soldiers, this evocative clip features footage of two musicians from different generations sharing memories, and making music about saying goodbye.
Shona Laing's long musical career began with '1905', a song dedicated to Henry Fonda. At 17 years old, Shona took the song to second place on talent show New Faces in 1972. Early the following year it rose to number four on the NZ top 10. This short live clip, thought to be filmed at Christchurch Town Hall, captures Shona in extreme close-up, serving to magnify the emotional intensity of the song. Don't be fooled into thinking this is a mimed performance; her voice is absolutely spot-on, and the crowd reacts with rapturous applause.
Captured on a single camera, Wellington band Hogsnort Rupert perform their number one hit 'Pretty Girl'. That their performance is interspersed with Christmas footage rather than anything more appropriate to its subject matter suggests that this clip was made for an end-of-year show acknowledging the song's status as New Zealand's biggest-selling single in 1970. It also won that year's Loxene Golden Disc Award. And, of course, it offers a chance for viewers to see the late Alec Wishart performing his immortal line "Come on, my lover. Give us a kiss."
Mixing nostalgic home movie style footage with images of Age Pryor looking slightly melancholic, this video dates from the singer's second solo release, City Chorus, released in 2003. Pryor went on to co-found the Wellington International Ukelele Orchestra, and contribute songs and vocals to ensemble album The Woolshed Sessions.
A live performance music video taken from the highly acclaimed Live at Bats album. Simply but stylishly shot and edited, this clip suits the moody style of this folk rock song from Fly My Pretties creative director Barnaby Weir.
This black and white performance music video is taken from debut album Live at Bats (2004), back when the plan was for the Fly My Pretties ensemble to be a one-off project. Written and sung by Age Pryor — with vocal help from Tessa Rain — the gentle folk song is enhanced by simple but effective shooting, and attentive use of split-screen editing. The track was recorded in Wellington's Bats Theatre.
The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra's version of Bonnie Tyler's wrenching 70s hit was the title track of their debut EP. In director Tim Capper's video, they manage to take the song to new levels of pathos with vocalist Andy Morley-Hall's quest for a slice of vegan apple and rhubarb tart. The location is a crowded Deluxe Cafe (where the ensemble emerged from informal Thursday morning sessions). Age Pryor contributes the solo and, amongst the group's massed ranks, there's a masked nod to absent member and Flight of the Conchord Bret McKenzie.