The Honeysmiths album launched

17:00, Jul 30 2014
Former Marlborough man Leo Barrer and musical partner Sharon Ware, together known as The Honeysmiths
MUSICAL MILESTONE: Former Marlborough man Leo Barrer and musical partner Sharon Ware, together known as The Honeysmiths, have just released their first album, ifDarkness/Light

A former Marlborough man has put years of experimenting and musical collaboration into a finished album which was launched on Saturday.

Leo Barrer makes up one half of Nelson-based musical duo The Honeysmiths, who launched their 12-song album at Rhythm & Brown in Nelson.

A player of multiple instruments, he said the album had been about two years in the making, and much of the consultation took place via the internet while his musical partner, Sharon Ware, was in Istanbul.

In the few weeks before Ware left, Barrer converted the corner of his lounge into a recording studio, and they began to lay down the guitar and vocal tracks for what would become the album, Darkness/Light.

While Ware was gone he continued to make recordings, experimenting with his guitar, bass, drums, didgeridoo, sitar and omnichord.

After putting together 14 tracks, some of which featured both of their voices, and others with vocals by Ware and music by Barrer, the pair picked 12 songs to go on the album.


"It's the first one that I have felt confident enough to really put it out there. I've recorded other [albums] just for family and close friends and that sort of thing but I've put a bit of work into this one," Barrer said.

The name of the album, Darkness/Light, both reflects recurring themes in the songs, and the setting in which it was constructed, with the duo on opposite sides of the globe.

Barrer, a Nayland College learning support teacher, said singing did not come naturally to him and he had not started on any vocal work until later in life.

He began playing the guitar at 18 and developed his voice later.

"I'm in my mid-30s now and it's taken me this long to get that confidence with my voice, and to write songs that suit my voice."

Ware invited Barrer to join her on stage at a Nelson gig in 2012, which led to an interview and performance on Fresh FM for which the duo acquired the name The Honeysmiths.

Barrer also designed the cover art for the album, but they printed only about 30 CDs for the launch, since downloading songs is so prevalent now.

It can be heard and purchased online at, or purchased by emailing

Barrer grew up in Marlborough, living in Renwick and the Marlborough Sounds, and attending Marlborough Boys' College.