CURRENT ISSUE

DONATE ADVERTISE

Reviewed by Amanda Mills

Andrew Laking: The Empire City: Songs of Wellington

Reviewed by Amanda Mills

Andrew Laking: The Empire City: Songs of Wellington

Wellingtonian Andrew Laking has been a prolific folk musician in Ireland for over a decade, touring with his band Garda (performing 1500+ shows). On his return he decided to tell the story of his hometown. The result is this charming collection of acoustic-based folk tales casting a light on Wellington from the 19th century to recent times. Acoustic guitar, piano, and gentle, cooing backing vocals accompany Laking’s urgent folk tunes, with orchestral arrangements providing an authentic point of reference – these songs could be of the time in which they are set. Mayor George Troup is a good exemplar: the trumpet (played by Toby Laing) references both jazz and brass bands, two contemporary styles of music. The loveliest piece is Wahine, a beautiful piano elegy (played by Norman Meehan) for the 1968 shipwreck. An impressive cast of players includes Riki Gooch on drums, Justin Firefly (guitar) and Bret McKenzie‘s bvs. Mention must also be made of the packaging, the CD is accompanied by a book of printed lyrics and evocative paintings by Bob Kerr. A concept beautifully conceived and captured.