Six poets and six singer-songwriters are paired together without a say in the matter in a creative collaboration.
Elvisa Van Der Leden
Equipped with only a piano, pens and paper to entertain herself while growing up in the country, Elvisa started writing poetry and music from a young age. Her school reports would often mention her knack for rhythm, despite her distracting chatty social behaviours. She has continued to develop her creativity and confidence through performing at open mics and Singer Songwriters. A highlight for Elvisa in her poetic endeavours is when her poetry was featured in the Phantom Billstickers frames around Taranaki 2 years ago.
Just 18 years old, Laura typically performs original songs which have a pop/folk vibe. Growing up she was exposed to a wide range of musical artists and styles and is inspired by Joni Mitchell, Dodie and John Mayer. A 5x A Cappella Academy Alumnus, Laura has performed with Grammy Award winning artists and the influence of vocal harmonies is clear when you listen to her first EP ‘About Time’ released in September and available for download on all good music platforms.
Graeme is an award-winning singer songwriter who doesn’t mind having a bloody good laugh in the middle of a song. The songs are deep, heartfelt, and that sort of thing, but really it’s all about telling good stories to cool people. With any luck those stories will make sense to someone. Anyone. Anyone with a soul... and perhaps a pulse. That’d be handy too. The End.
The instigator of this project, Helen is a late-to-the-party poet who didn’t really start writing until 2 years ago. Her first efforts were penned under the name ‘The Bandana Bard’. Over 350 poems later she hasn’t stopped using her lyrical observations on life to provoke and entertain. At the start of 2019, she made a decision to back her creative ideas more and subsequently, opportunities have come knocking including a WOMAD Poetry Slam Final and the Taranaki Arts Trail 2019. She’s had an article published by NZ Poetry Society, published her first poetry chapbook ‘Lighthearted’ and is in the throes of publishing a children’s book. She shares her poetry regularly on stage at Singer Songwriters and on her Facebook/Instagram pages, The Bandana Bard.
Missie started performing originals 14 years ago. You may have seen her perform in Sonic Delusion or Glass Boat however, more recently she has been tucked away quietly recording. This will be rare afternoon of performing for her.
A slow learning student of creative writing, Colin writes under the pen name Emiele. He started writing after thirty-five years of thinking about it. Inspiration for poems comes from ocean, land, people and place; the energy for experimentation comes from the talented and generous people in the creative community of Taranaki. Colin recently was a winner in the Fantastic Ekphrastic National Poetry Day Competition and has participated twice in WOMAD Poetry Slams.
Emily got an early start with music, beginning lessons in classical piano and singing as a child. A VHS of ABBA's greatest hits was probably her greatest inspiration when she began writing songs of her own, but these days Radiohead and Lana Del Rey are her main influences. Emily teaches piano, singing, and bass guitar from her home in New Plymouth, and serves as a part time drummer for local indie rock outfit, Bittercup.
Dee grew up in a very literary household and considers herself an emotive poet, pouring herself into writing when she has something to say. She likes the challenge of selecting just a few words to express a greater idea and finds poetry a vulnerable process as in some way it is always about the author. Dee has been teaching English and special needs classes for over thirty years and has published eight educational books. In her spare time she also enjoys other artistic outlets like painting and sculpture.
As a child Janet exercised her vocal cords singing along to Burl Ives and Nana Mouskouri LPS on her Dad’s stereogram.
Her musical career has included choirs, madrigal group, jug bands, Gumboot Tango and duos with Rick Coplestone, Jane Fromont, Renee Milner, Ross Halliday, Karen Clarke, and lately Wellington bluesman Dave Murphy. She has also spent countless hours jamming and performing at folk festivals, playing her beloved century old Gibson mandolin.
A latecomer to songwriting, Janet enjoys the creative challenge that song writing presents, marrying lyric to melody.
Words are Virginia Winder’s life. She has been a career journalist since 1983, has been writing poetry from age 12 and has kept every single one. This year she won the Poetry Slam at WOMAD and was a finalist in 2018. But poetry landed her the biggest prize of all - her husband. In 1988, she wrote him a poem called: “I don’t want you to be an ‘if only’.” They were engaged three months later.
Andy has been writing songs for longer than he would admit to being alive. Born and raised in the UK, he came to NZ “for a few months” in 1986. The exact number of months wasn’t specified but, so far, he’s racked up 373.
Drawing on influences ranging from David Bowie to traditional folk music to 21st century Swedish psychedelia (check out The Amazing), he never knows where the next song will take him, or when.
Gary Bovett is a poet who likes to blow his own horn, literally. Born and raised in Taranaki, this talented muso is also a wonderful wordsmith. He first won a prize for writing a limerick at the age of 10. Some 45 years later, he finds himself returning to the craft, now as a regular contributor to Pop Up Poetry events and participant in the 2019 WOMAD poetry slam.