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.
Bill Sevesi was the 'Godfather' of Polynesian music in New Zealand; his impact can be heard in the strum of ukeleles in classrooms across the country. In this 24-minute film Sevesi (born Wilfred Jeffs) narrates his life story, including his childhood in Tonga, making his first guitar, and his role in bringing Pacific Island music into the dance halls of 1940's and 50's New Zealand. Sevesi's bands mixed Hawaiian steel guitar with pop tunes of the day, resulting in sunny hits like 'Kissing Hula'. Watch out for uke player Sione Aleki, Tonga's answer to Jimi Hendrix.
This Artsville TV documentary plucks its way through a Kiwi-focused history of the ukulele, from Waikiki to Wellington, using the dream of “godfather of Polynesian music” Bill Sevesi as its starting point: namely “that the children would be playing the ukulele all over the country.” Presenter Gemma Gracewood (of the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra) reveals the instrument’s Pacific adoption and burgeoning popularity, and meets acolytes of ‘the uke’: from Herman Pi’ikea Clark to Jennifer Ward-Lealand, to Sevesi strumming with onetime pupil Sione Aleki.
Age Pryor is a Wellington-based multi-instrumentalist known for his association with creative collective Fly My Pretties, and for his own solo work. Pryor's recordings include collaborations with Wellington musical luminaries from Fat Freddys Drop, Trinity Roots, The Black Seeds and Wellington International Ukelele Orchestra. His musical style blends folk, groove, funk, rock and reggae.
David Parker was a key player (and lead vocalist) in late 80s band band Rhythm Cage, whose recording output was limited to three singles. After the band's demise, two singles released under the name The Parker Project showcased Parker's smooth vocals. The first — a cover of 70s soul single 'Tears on My Pillow', by American Johnny Nash — topped the Kiwi singles charts in June 1991. Second single 'Looking for the Real Thing' followed later that year. Since 2008, Parker has been a member of genre-bending ukelele trio The Nukes, who have released three albums to date.
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.
Amanda Kennedy and Livi Reihana are The Fan Brigade, a musical comedy duo formed over a mutual appreciation of each other’s Twitter accounts.
Bret McKenzie is one half of musical-comedy duo Flight of the Conchords. McKenzie and Jemaine Clement found international fame with the cult HBO comedy, which followed the duo's fictional efforts to 'make it' in New York. An Oscar-winner after writing songs for The Muppets (2011), McKenzie's screen career began after a brief role in The Lord of the Rings trilogy helped win him a cult following.