Fly My Pretties returning to their Wellington roots in summer tour
More than a decade on from their inception in a Wellington theatre, Fly My Pretties are getting back their capital roots as part of a six venue summer tour.
The well-known collaboration of musicians are hitting the Wellington Botanic Gardens on January 22 to perform their new album String Theory, with a 14-strong cast lead by musical director Barnaby Weir.
As a founding member, he was most looking forward to getting out on the road and playing for fans past and present.
"Coming from a theatrical stage I never thought it possible to do tours like this and have it translate onto bigger stages outside, but it does."
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This time around Weir has welcomed a handful of new acts to the lineup including former Salmonella Dub frontman Tiki Taane as well as newcomers Moana Ete, Miloux and Ills Winter.
"We started slowly thinking about who would be new and good in the mix that I didn't know and also what the theme and overall presentation would be," Weir said.
String Theory - which is the group's sixth album - was recorded live earlier this year at a series of intimate, sold-out performances and was released last month.
Weir said it felt like the perfect time to tour the music with people having had enough time to become familiar with the new songs and the lineup.
"The culture of the project has been around for a bit now so people are more familiar with what it is.
"We're not a pop act, we're a live act, but we've done alright in the charts and for a live album that's pretty good I reckon," he said.
One newcomer that Weir said had been a standout so far was Moana Ete from Wellington-based R&B group A Girl Named Mo.
"She works with my theme and our band and then delivers this cool dramatic performance that people really engage in."
Ete's song Mud and Stardust had quickly drawn praise with her "soulful voice and thoughtful lyrics" described as a highlight of the String Theory show.
While she welcomed the compliment, she said at first she felt overwhelmed by her inclusion in the well-known lineup.
"It was bizarre, I was sitting in this room with Tiki Taane and The Nudge boys and was thinking, 'I used to listen to you guys, you were on my playlists'."
But Ete said she now felt more at ease around the cast and had learnt so much from each of them.
"To open up and learn other people's music reminds me that there are so many different styles thriving and I love it.
"I feel very fortunate."
* String Theory, Fly My Pretties, Wellington Botanic Garden, January 22, tickets $72, children under 12 free if accompanied by a paying adult. Tickets: ticketek.co.nz.