It was a case of sisters doin' it for themselves in 1994 when Hassanah Iroegbu and Brenda Makamoeafi's single ‘In The Neighbourhood' lingered in the Kiwi charts for 12 weeks, and won interest in Australia. The two met at school in Otara before becoming Sisters Underground— Iroegbu had moved from America; her ancestry included Nigeria and Germany. The song — produced by 'How Bizarre' maestro Alan Jansson for landmark South Auckland album Proud — was later rerecorded for a TV2 promo. After Iroegbu returned to the US, a planned album fell through, but the urban-r'n'b duo featured on several compilations.
As a showcase history of Christchurch on screen this collection is backwards looking; but the devastation caused by the earthquakes gives it much more than nostalgic poignancy. As Russell Brown reflects in his introduction, the clips are mementos from, "a place whose face has changed". They testify to the buildings, culture and life of a city now lost, but sure to rise.
In 2006 photographer Greg Semu was offered the first residency at indigenous museum Quai Branly in Paris. Just over a decade earlier his debut exhibition was on at Auckland Art Gallery — and he was making an award-nominated music video for the Sisters Underground, with veteran video director Kerry Brown. Set around Mangere Bridge, their clip exudes a palpable warmth, even if the lyrical references to MAC-10s and a hot and cruel June morning are nods to MC Hassanah’s Nigerian origins, rather than the South Auckland suburb. The song got to number six on the Kiwi charts.
This 2001 Mercury Lane episode is based around pieces on author Maurice Shadbolt, and OMC producer Alan Jansson. With Shadbolt ailing from Alzheimer’s, Michelle Bracey surveys his life as an “unauthorised author” (Shadbolt would die in 2004). Next Colin Hogg reveals Jansson as the “invisible pop star” behind OMC hit ‘How Bizarre’ and more. The show is bookended by readings from Kiwi poets: Hone Tuwhare riffs on Miles Davis, Fleur Adcock reads the saucy Bed and Breakfast, and Alistair Te Ariki Campbell mourns a brother who fought for the Māori Battalion.
Kiwi music show Music Nation introduced young presenter Bic Runga to the nation, shortly before she took her microphone skills in another direction. In this debut episode, the show's 'field reporter' Ian Hughes (aka Hugh Sundae) interviews winners at the 31st NZ Music Awards, while Runga introduces many of the accompanying videos. There are double helpings of Supergroove, who took away five awards on the night, and Che Fu sings a thank you speech a cappella. But there are murmurs of discontent over Purest Form taking the public vote for best single.
Director and photographer Kerry Brown's extended résumé of images began when he was a teenage skateboarder, snapping shots of skater culture. Having directed iconic music videos for many legendary Kiwi bands, including Crowded House (Four Seasons in One Day) and The Exponents (Why Does Love Do This To Me?), he now works as a stills photographer on movie sets across the globe.