NZ Music Month: Cairo Knife Fight's Nick Gaffaney recommends...

By Sam Wicks

It’s New Zealand Music Month – the perfect opportunity to go in search of something new. Each day we’re asking a member of our local creative fraternity to throw a little limelight on an artist or group they want you to know about.

Nick Gaffaney of Cairo Knife Fight. Photo / Supplied
Nick Gaffaney of Cairo Knife Fight. Photo / Supplied

"Leila Adu is genuinely one of the quiet overachievers," says Cairo Knife Fight's Nick Gaffaney.

"Since 2003 she's released four albums, worked with people like Steve Albini (Nirvana, PJ Harvey, Joanna Newsom) won an MTV Iggy Artist of the Week, toured the USA and Europe several times, and is currently undertaking a doctoral scholarship at Princeton University - that's an insane CV for a musician most New Zealand music fans won't know much about!

"I had possibly the best introduction to Leila's music you could get - I joined her band. When I moved to Wellington from Auckland in 2003, her drummer Chris O'Connor was going in the opposite direction, so I jumped straight into her band without ever having heard her music.

"I was amazed at the sound of Leila's voice and the subtlety she brought to the band arrangements of her songs, not to mention how hard she worked to get such a niche sound out into the public arena - something she did far better than most before she moved offshore.

"I really love the way she makes the albums of solo and band songs which are often so catchy and sing-able, but she also has this whole other side as a composer of some quite complicated 'classical' music that gets performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

"It's pretty remarkable to be able to span that kind of diverse landscape."

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