What Katie did next
When Katie Noonan and Karin Schaupp met, it was a meeting of two kindred spirits, writes Ross Purdie
LAST year it was music from the British Isles and now Katie Noonan and Karin Schaupp ( pictured) are finding inspiration closer to home.
The pair’s debut album Songs Of The Southern Skies features folk, pop and jazz staples from Australia and New Zealand, reinterpreted for Schaupp’s classical guitar and Noonan’s soaring voice.
Not content with their own dynamic genre hopping, the pair invited guests such as Gurrumul, Claire Bowditch and Chris Cheney to create a record Noonan describes as ‘‘ putting different people in different worlds’’.
The george and Elixir singer, who handpicked songs such as Gotye’s Heart’s A Mess, Icehouse’s Man Of Colours and Nick Cave’s Into My Arms, has history when it comes to shifting boundaries.
‘‘ One of my obsessions is the blurring of genres in music and flipping between different worlds, whether they be jazz or pop or classical,’’ Noonan says.
‘‘ We assembled a rather abstract group of musicians to re- imagine songs by artists from Cold Chisel to Bic Runga in a totally different way.’’
The partnership between Schaupp and Noonan took root when they were introduced at a classical music festival by composer Richard Tognetti.
They bonded over the idea of turning pop into classical pieces and toured nationally with a set of songs from the British Isles, mixing Radiohead and Peter Gabriel with Elgar and Britten.
‘‘ We come from different musical places but there is a commonality in that we’re both interested in a pure and gentle sound,’’ Noonan says.
‘‘ We’re also really focused on dynamics and pushing the boundaries of what you can do as a duo.
‘‘ Ultimately it just felt right because there’s a comfortable connection between us.’’
Both young mothers who were taught by their own matriarchs, Schaupp and Noonan were keen to emphasise the contribution of women to antipodean music over the centuries.
The album includes the Pixie Williams’ classic Blue Smoke, the first pop song ever recorded in New Zealand, and Hine E Hine, a folk lullaby written by the Maori princess Te Rangi Pai in 1901.