Fiddle, punk banjo andharmony coming to city
Authentic American roots music is coming to Palmerston North on Thursday night, but the tunes may not necessarily have the original lyrics.
New York State-based folk fiddle and banjo duo Richie Stearns and Rosie Newton, who play together as Richie and Rosie, have been touring their distinctive style of music around New Zealand since mid-October.
‘‘A lot of traditional old time fiddle music has lyrics that are racist, sexist and just plain stupid,’’ Stearns said.
‘‘So, we’ve replaced those lyrics with something more sensible. It’s Southern USA and Appalachian hillbilly music with a contemporary twist to it.’’
‘‘We write and play our own songs as well, taking notice of all the influences,’’ Newton adds.
They teamed up eight or nine years ago.
‘‘We found we were able to read one another’s minds, write together and share a great dynamic,’’ Stearns said.
‘‘We’re two people, one formidable entity.’’
It’s the pair’s first visit to Aotearoa and they are enjoying every moment of it. ‘‘It’s been great - wonderful people, great reception, wonderful audiences,’’ Stearns said.
Audiences could expect an authentic experience from the two self-appointed cultural ambassadors.
Both claim virtuoso status for their respective instruments.
Their New Zealand chauffeur and tour guide, Palmerston North’s Peter Lockhart, described Newton as ‘‘a ferocious fiddle player’’, while Stearns, an innovator of the 5-string banjo, was an ‘‘outrageous banjo playing legend’’.
Together Lockhart said they produced ‘‘beautiful vocal harmonies’’.
Twenty-seven years ago, Stearns founded the Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance.
It was an annual four-day multicultural world music roots festival, held near Ithaca in upstate New York, that introduced and nurtured up-andcoming performers, along with raising money for worthy causes.
Stearns still plays a leading role in organising the festival.
Richie and Rosie play the Albert St Hokowhitu Bowling Club on November 2, with $20 bookings for the 7.30pm show via firstname.lastname@example.org, 06 329 8808 or 027 368 2361.
New York-based musicians Rosie Newton and Richie Stearns are coming to Palmerston North.