The family way
Naomi Arnold profiles a band, due next week, who are all about keeping it in the family:
Although there is the occasional musician who can pull off a concert with their dad - Liam Finn, Che Fu, Annie Crummer - there aren't many entire bands whose folks have the musical chops to join their offspring on stage.
Now there is. Electric Wire Hustle Family will be bringing their new collaboration to Nelson as part of the Arts Festival on Wednesday.
It's an offshoot of modern hip hop, psychedelic and soul band Electric Wire Hustle, made up of drummer Myele Manzanza and his Congolese master percussionist father Sam Manzanza; vocalist and guitarist Mara T K and his father, legendary blues guitarist Billy T K; and keyboardist David ‘Taay Ninh' Wright and his mother, traditional Vietnamese vocalist Le Nuong. Three band members; three mums and dads; multiple genres crossing over.
When Myele Manzanza asked his dad if he wanted to put on a show with the band, the older musician was into it straightaway.
"He thought it would be a great idea," Manzanza says. "He's been a big fan of Billy T K for a long time so that was an extra thing for him. It just felt like a good concept and he was happy to be able to do it, as I'm sure the other parents were too."
Electric Wire Hustle are already making a name for themselves. Their self-titled debut album was released in 2009, and over the last couple of years they have played at some of the world's biggest festivals, including Houston's SXSW, Glastonbury, The Big Chill, and Hungary's Sziget Festival.
The concept was dreamed up for last year's Christchurch Arts Festival, resulting in two sold-out shows that, Myele says, "turned out much better than any of us could have expected". "It was a really special vibe, a really warm response. We're happy to be able to do it in Nelson as well."
Manzanza attributes the audience's response to the unique experience of having their parents on stage with them. "It's a family-friendly show . . . there were plenty of rowdy youths, but the family thing is a special draw."
Although all have collaborated individually with their parents before, the Arts Festival appearance will be just their third show together. On the night, the first set will be new material with the parents, including two songs each led by the respective family member. That includes poetry and two songs centredon Le Nuong's Vietnamese heritage.
"That's quite laid-back, comparatively gentle music; stuff that suits her, but we're still putting an Electric Wire Hustle bent on it." Billy and Mana T K will then bring out the "guitar singsong stuff", and then it's Sam Manzanza's turn with his high-energy drumming. An album release is a possibility, and Electric Wire Hustle are hoping to do more festivals with their parents in tow.
- Electric Wire Hustle Family. TSB Bank Mainstage, Wednesday October 24, 8.30pm.
- © Fairfax NZ News