What is it about Te Whanganui-A-Tara that it can produce so many great Balkan-style bands like Bazurka?
A cosmopolitan environment might help, or maybe they’re just trying to live up to the Windy Wellington soubriquet?
There’s certainly wind instruments aplenty on offer here, augmented by some skilful strings. Foregoing the oft-used sousaphone for double bass gives the All Stars more of a jazz tonality, but don’t worry,: Andrew Laking wields the dogbox with a propulsive Balkan attitude, and the overall vibe of the band is still all exotic scales and wailing melodies.
If the name of guitarist/mandolinist Justin Clarke isn’t familiar, try it with a ‘Firefly’ in the middle. He’s played with everyone from Bazurka to Bret McKenzie. His intro to Lume Lume is worth the price of admission all by itself.
Award-winning saxophonist Jake Baxendale has appeared with The Jac and The Richter City Rebels. Tristan Carter’s violin – especially on Tristan’s Kitchen Nightmare – evokes the frenzied skirling feel of Taraf de Haidouks, a sound that speaks straight to the heart.
Briar Prastiti’s emotive vocals on this album are a wonderful addition. More, please! An almost Latin feel pervades The Bridal Procession Procures More Prosecco with a flurry of snare and a bouncy bass line. Gather your guests around an open fire and pop on your dancing shoes – the Novi Grad All Stars are here to party!