Bluesology

Dunedin blues fan Tony Nielsen is not letting his “one big regret” get in the way of delivering a diverse programme of blues music on Otago Access Radio.

The host of Saturday afternoon show Bluesology decided to sell his 1000-strong collection of blues LPs back in the 1970s, to free up cash to support his growing family. Despite some niggling remorse over the move, he says it has made him all the wiser in rebuilding his collection.

“The good thing is I’ve now got the knowledge of which are the best LPs to get. Back in the sixties when I was first importing them, it was a bit of a blind guess.”

While Mr Nielsen’s blues collection was well short of its former impressive size, he was steadily augmenting a sizeable CD catalogue with new vinyl purchases.

“I prefer to play vinyl because it does offer a greater authenticity to the sound, but everyone will have that debate.”

Mr Nielsen developed an appreciation of the genre as a teenager growing up in New Plymouth, first enjoying the blues-influenced rock of British acts such as the Rolling Stones, Pretty Things and John Mayall. He then moved on to what he calls “the real thing”, the music of black American blues artists from the 1920s forward.

Bluesology was an opportunity to share a passion for blues in all its forms, he said.

“I’m trying to convey the breadth of blues music from the 1920s right through to today, because there are a number of younger artists who are true to the tradition although they have modernised it somewhat. I don’t have any hang-ups or boundaries.”

Mr Nielsen, who spent more than 40 years working in radio across New Zealand and in Australia, has special memories of some of his heroes in live performance.

“The very first blues concert I saw was Muddy Waters playing at the YMCA in Auckland around 1969. It was incredible. And Freddie King, Hound Dog Taylor and BB King were others who came to New Zealand. I was very lucky.”

Bluesology airs every Saturday at 4pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM. Podcasts are available from www.oar.org.nz.

Photo: The real thing: Tony Nielsen hosts Bluesology on Otago Access Radio.

Back On Air with Fine Tunes

The love of new music has lured Dunedin man Alistair Addis back to the Otago Access Radio airwaves after a year-long break.

Alastair presents Fine Tune, a programme of World music, jazz, acoustic pop and rock, every Saturday evening. The former host of OAR FM’s An Aural Adventure has tweaked the formula, broadening the style of music covered and shifting to a two-hour format.

He said his time off from presenting a radio show had made him “lazy” in his search for new music.

“I really missed being on the radio, and I was finding that I wasn’t spending the time keeping up with fresh releases.

“I like to help as much as I can to get new music heard by other people.”

Alastair’s appreciation for World music had developed while he was living in Australia. Regular attendance at the WOMADelaide festival had opened his ears to the “amazing” production and “feel” of the work of many international artists.

A sunset performance by Tinariwen, the Grammy Award-winning group of Tuareg musicians from the Sahara Desert region of northern Mali, had been “sublime”, while Portuguese singer Maritza had dominated the stage with her take on traditional Fado music, he said.

A stint running a music store in Dunedin had been the fulfilment of a boyhood dream for Alistair and had furthered his interest in recordings by lesser-known artists. It had also kept him up to the play with developments on the Dunedin music scene, ensuring his radio shows included a sprinkling of local releases.

Listeners to Fine Tune could expect each edition to “start gently” and build steadily to a second hour that featured more rock-oriented or faster-paced tracks, he said.

Fine Tune airs Saturdays at 6pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM. Podcasts are available from www.oar.org.nz.

Photo: Keeping it fresh: Alistair Addis hosts music show Fine Tune on Otago Access Radio.

All Glammed Up For Friday Night Radio

Otago Access Radio’s Friday night line-up has a little added sparkle, courtesy of two committed music lovers.

Dr Glam and Demelza’s Inflammable Spandex Cafe is hosted by University of Otago music lecturer, performer and author Dr Ian Chapman, with partner in musical crime Demelza May. As the title suggests, the programme has fun and weirdness at heart.

Dr Chapman, who laid glitter-rock alter-ego Dr Glam to rest in 2014 only to resurrect him for last year’s Planet Earth Is Blue tribute to David Bowie at Sammy’s, said it felt right to lend the name to a radio show.

“Dr Glam is all about fun and this show is certainly that, so I thought I would align it to my most fun character. Thankfully, Demelza is on the same wavelength.”

Ms May agreed that the pair shared some common ground but said the show also contrasted their respective collections.

“Ian is all about the ‘70s. The time I was discovering going out and having lots of fun was the ‘80s, but I just like whatever can get me dancing and feeling good.”

On any given episode, listeners might expect to hear Dr Chapman introduce tracks from the likes of the Sweet, Slade, Bowie, Iggy Pop and the Ramones, while Ms May favoured Style Council, De La Soul, UK Squeeze, Talking Heads, Was (Not Was) and House of Pain.

A regular feature of the show was a “Local Gem” – a track by Dunedin-based musicians, some of whom were Dr Chapman’s students.

Dr Glam and Demelza’s Inflammable Spandex Cafe launches a diverse evening of music every Friday at 6pm. It is followed at 7pm by indie music show Blip In The System, at 8pm by The Vinyl Vault, at 9pm byThe Afro-Caribbean Show, and at 10pm by house and techno show The Strobe Room.

Dr Glam and Demelza’s Inflammable Spandex Cafe airs Friday at 6pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM, and live and podcast from www.oar.org.nz.

Photo: On fire: Demelza May and Dr Ian Chapman present Dr Glam and Demelza’s Inflammable Spandex Cafe on Otago Access Radio.

All About the Bass in the Strobe Room

If you don’t know your Acid House from your Dub Techno but love electronic music regardless, Otago Access Radio’s Friday night programme The Strobe Room could be just the thing for you.

The show’s host James Mather would prefer listeners simply enjoy the opportunity to sample from his huge collection of tracks, without splitting hairs over the many sub-genres of dance music that would confound even the most dedicated of train-spotters.

An Austria-based listener recently took him to task in an email over whether the music on the show was strictly house and techno.

“This is where the Internet warriors kick off,” Mr Mather said.

“I don’t care whether someone considers it house or techno; to me it’s more the vibe of the electronic music with a regular bass beat, synth sounds and percussion.”

A former “metalhead”, Mr Mather became a convert to dance music in the early 1990’s after helping organise a warehouse rave in an industrial estate in Cornwall, England. Resistance to the then Criminal Justice Bill’s proposed crackdown on anti-social behaviour saw civil liberties groups join forces with sound systems, groups of DJs and engineers working together as one, to organise unregulated dance events.

“We didn’t feel that we were doing anything wrong. We were just getting together and dancing,” he explained. “I was blown away. The music was such a physical force, it went right through the chest.”

Relocating permanently to New Zealand in 2006, Mr Mather found there was little in the way of a club scene to nurture his interest. But by that stage he had already “dialled back” the late nights and had turned instead to collecting electronic music and listening to it at home, focusing on the work of emerging underground artists and bedroom DJs.

The Strobe Room was a means of sharing his growing tracklist with the rest of the world.

“This show is for anyone with an interest in electronic music, from the harder end to the more melancholic and subdued side. There’s really too much choice.”

The Strobe Room airs Friday at 10pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM. Podcasts are available from www.oar.org.nz.

Photo: In the house: James Mather is the host of The Strobe Room on Otago Access Radio.

New Show Draws Inspiration From Radio Legend

The latest volunteer broadcaster to join the stable of music show hosts on Otago Access Radio (OAR FM) is drawing inspiration from the man who has been described one of the most important men in music.

BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel, who died in 2004, was instrumental in the promotion of new forms of music, from indie rock and punk to electronic music and hip hop. Stephen Neal, host of OAR FM show Blip In The System (Fridays, 6pm-7pm) was a regular listener to Peel’s programme while resident in the UK and plans to echo its eclectic sound in his own show.

Mr Neal, who settled in Dunedin three years ago, was schooled in the alternative music of the eighties and nineties, regularly attending gigs by the likes of Siouxsie and the Banshees and Morrissey. Radio played a complementary role in his developing interest as he searched for music that was “unique or unusual”.

“John Peel brought a lot of new music to me, things that I might never have heard about otherwise,” he said.

“I recently read an excellent book about him, Goodnight and Good Riddance by David Cavanagh, which directly inspired me to make my own radio show and play some of the music I’m passionate about.”

Peel’s commitment to featuring new artists on his programme, and the subsequent boost that gave to many careers, said much about the power of radio, Mr Neal said. Blip In The System would provide a similar gateway for up-and-coming Dunedin bands, and Mr Neal would welcome suggestions from listeners about acts he should check out.

“New Zealand music history is something I’m still learning about, and that’s one of the fascinating things about moving somewhere else in the world. It really broadens your horizons.”

The show title recognised that most people were in some way part of many social structures, and that “it’s lovely when that gets a little transposed or interrupted.”

“In whatever way, you’re part of a system you have to be part of. I hope to get you out of that at the end of the working week by offering some new sounds.”

Blip In The System airs Fridays at 6pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM, and live and podcast from www.oar.org.nz.

Click here for the podcast

Education Focus for Pacific Island Radio Show

A new talkback radio programme aimed at Dunedin’s Pacific Island communities is focusing attention on education issues.

Otago Access Radio show Talanoa Tok Tok Pacific is coordinated by staff from the University of Otago’s Pacific Island Centre and is broadcast on Monday evenings as part of the station’s Connecting Cultures Zone.

Centre manager Tofilau Nina Kirifi-Alai said the programme would provide a platform for parents and students to discuss the challenges facing tertiary and secondary students from Pacific Island communities, and to celebrate their successes.

“Most of our Pacific students at Otago have come away from home, away from mum and dad, and are learning to be independent. It’s hard, but we need to acknowledge the support they are getting from our communities and our churches.

“The more we share, the more we discuss, we can understand that it is not just them that face these challenges and we can help our students succeed.”

There were currently more than 800 Pacific students enrolled at Otago University, which adopted a Pacific Strategic Framework in 2013 in realisation of a commitment made in its charter to meet the needs of Pacific peoples.

“We want to lift the performance of Pacific students. If we have successful graduates going out to work in our communities, it will help lift them socially and economically,” Tofilau Nina said.

National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) processes would be explored and Talanoa Tok Tok Pacific would also report on events of wider interest to Pacific communities, such as local fundraisers, concerts and public meetings. Listeners would be encouraged to phone in with comments and questions on any subject of interest to Pacific peoples.

“The word talanoa means the sharing of views, so that’s what our programme is about.”

Talanoa Tok Tok Pacific airs every Monday from 6pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM, and is streamed live and podcast from www.oar.org.nz.

Search On For Specialist Music Shows

Otago Access Radio is welcoming anyone with a love of music to share their enthusiasm with the station’s listeners.

Specialist music shows carried by the community access station range from folk and roots music to baroque opera and Swedish metal, providing for a range of tastes outside the mainstream. Volunteer broadcasters create programmes that reflect their own knowledge, interests and collections.

Station manager Lesley Paris said jazz and rock genres were well represented in OAR’s current schedule but the station was keen to broaden its base of specialist shows.

“Up until recently we had an excellent programme focusing on women writers and performers – it would be great to find a show that explored that further. And I feel sure that there are fans of blues and classical music who could create really entertaining and informative shows.

“You don’t have to be an expert. You just have to enjoy sharing the music you love, and put some time and energy into developing a great show.”

Douglas MacMillan, host of Celtic World (Sundays at 2pm), said his programme was designed to promote the dissemination of Celtic cultures through music “at times framed in a historical, linguistic, social or political context”.

“Whether through nature or nurture, Celtic music speaks to my soul, at once calling me to distant shores and, wherever I am, grounding me in a place that feels like home. I’m really grateful that Otago Access Radio is here to provide an opportunity for amateur broadcasters like myself to create programming.”

Rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll aficionado Warren Voight, host of 360 Degrees ’Round Wazrock (Saturdays at 3pm), said his passion was for uncovering the influences on well-known acts such as the Beatles.

“Over the last six years with my show, I’ve been enthusiastic to have free licence to express my take on the history of popular music, and to feature my favourite artists and songs.

“I’m looking forward to future series on glam-rock greats and Kiwi artists.”

Otago Access Radio broadcasts on 105.4FM and 1575AM, and online at www.oar.org.nz. If you would like to find out more about making your own radio show, please call the station on 471 6161 or email community@oar.org.nz.

Loving the Lifestyle on the Taieri

You would be hard pressed to find a man more proud to be living on the Taieri Plain than Regan Horrell, who has channelled has passion for Mosgiel lifestyle into a weekly radio programme.

Otago Access Radio show The Plain Life finds Regan behind the mic every Tuesday afternoon, talking with Taieri residents, sportspeople and officials about events and issues of the day.

A background in journalism had stood Regan in good stead for the interview segments on the programme, most of which are live-to-air and others of which are recorded at shops, businesses and meeting places on the Taieri.

“I’m a people person so while making radio is challenging, exciting and a little bit terrifying, it’s an absolute buzz and I’m really enjoying it,” he said.

“It’s a platform for giving the community a voice. People are already coming up to me and saying, you need to talk with this person, they’ll be really great.”

Mosgiel was a welcoming community that had suffered the loss of some important businesses but had much to offer.

“There are a lot of people choosing to live on the Taieri for personal and lifestyle reasons, and the population is growing. The Dunedin City Council’s own plan identifies it as an area for growth and development.

“But there is something of an ‘us and them’ mentality with people who talk about living all the way over the hill.”

Programmes to date had included interviews with Mosgiel soccer stalwart Steven Brennsell and Taieri Community Facilities Trust chair Irene Mosley, and discussion about the future of the Festival of the Plain.

Regan, who wrote and recorded a song Loving The Lifestyle about his home territory, said local musicians would also feature on the programme.

“And not just country music – there are some amazing musicians out there, from high school students to buskers.”

The Plain Life airs Tuesdays at 5pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM, and live and podcast from www.oar.org.nz and iTunes.

Jeff Harford
Community Liaison – OARFM