Wellington songwriter and finger-style guitarist Niels Gedge brings his finely crafted acoustic songs to Leigh Sawmill on Sunday 14 May.
Niels is no stranger to Mahurangi or to telling tales. His first visit was in high school to a farmhouse overlooking Algies Bay, when there were no suburbs. “The most exciting thing a teenage boy could do was to skip stones across the glassy water or watch the farmer’s family waterskiing across the pristine view.”
He also recalls a fruitless day as a hapless passenger of a surfie who had convinced himself surf would come from the east that day. “He drove to virtually every glassy bay on the Mahurangi, and I was pretty glassy-eyed myself by the time I got out of the car.”
In the 1990s, he visited Leigh Marine Laboratory sporadically as contracts manager with Auckland Uni Services.
“Somehow, these visits always happened on sunny days and were a great antidote to my office at the University in town. Some of the researchers were in the legendary Leigh Buoys blues band led by Dr Russ Babcock. They were pretty good.”
Niels now lives in a seaside community in Plimmerton, north of Wellington, and captures the essence of it in his song ‘The Plimmerton Waltz’. His most recent songs are on his latest CD ‘Southern Land’, including ‘My Father’s People’, and follows on from his first album ‘Maui’s Whale’.
His influences include country, folk and blues and his songs evoke the idiom, places, landscapes and history of Aotearoa NZ.
“In that sense I am a folk singer and it is one of the reasons I want to sing in smaller places in the country.”
He says Leigh Sawmill is one of the iconic country venues that every touring muso wants to play at. “If you want to be a musician in Aotearoa then you must tour, because our cities are not big enough to work in for any length of time.”
Niels has performed throughout New Zealand in clubs, pubs, cafes and festivals. He has also performed in the UK, Fiji and France.
Apart from touring his own work, he has been running sing-arounds, focused on New Zealand songs, at folk festivals. “There’s a bunch of ageing folkies up and down the country who have all learned a few, and some are superb songs. But there’s no coherent movement to keep this music alive. If we don’t use it, we’ll lose it.”
Info: Niels Gedge plays Leigh Sawmill on Sunday May 14, 5pm, $10