So much creativity on one small stage

Rock music is Kiwi singer/songwriter Boh Runga's first love.

But she's happy to have taken a somewhat less raucous road by teaming up with two icons of the Kiwi music scene - Anika Moa and Hollie Smith - first as a touring group and now as an outfit with a debut album.

And it must be said that Peace of Mind, the first album from AnikaBoh&Hollie; is a goodie, as the three singers combine their distinctive voices in a delightful foray into their musical talents.

Peace of Mind was released last week and this month the trio have been taking it on the road with the Classic Hits Winery Tour, which comes to Martinborough's Alana Estate tomorrow night.

The caravan also includes Fat Freddy's Drop, The Adults (Jon Toogood, Shayne Carter and Julia Deans) and New Zealand's got talent winner Clara van Wel.

Ahead of the album's release, Boh's excitement was palpable.

"There's definitely excitement. We really enjoyed making it and there's some great songs on it. It's a good body of work, so I hope people like it," Boh said.

"It was a real honour to record with Anika and Hollie and the whole process was just so cool."

Boh said in early 2012 the three friends were sharing a bottle of wine (or two) and musing about the possibilities of making music together. It was idle chat, but something stuck and when they met again a few weeks later they tentatively started writing.

The songs poured forth. Boh said that creative process was "what being a musician is all about for me. We loved vibing off each other and exploring the dynamics of our relationship".

In October they took their songs and tested the waters by performing live together on the annual Church Tour.

The sold-out tour was a triumph, with rave reviews and standing ovations. Anika, Boh and Hollie knew they had something special happening and they started recording at the Lab in Auckland in November.

"It just seemed like this was the right time for this collaboration and I think it works really well," she said.

No argument here as Peace of Mind is an album even greater than the sum of its parts.

Given all three women have powerful, distinct voices and styles, it must have been hard to marry them together, and surely some egos got in the way?

"No, not at all. We wrote the songs then decided who would do lead vocals on which one and that was super easy to do and came pretty naturally really," Boh said.

"There are songs Hollie sings that I can't imagine Anika or I making sound any better so whoever does the lead the other two enjoy doing the backing vocals because it's a nice eclectic blend. There were no egos. It's a bit of a sisterhood that was a really good professional and friendly working environment and we get on really, really well."

Working and recording with Anika and Hollie was so much fun, she said, going on the Winery Tour with the pair would be a riot.

"I've never toured with Fat Freddy's before and I'm very excited to be going around the country with all these great musicians in our beautiful summer."

"And I know Anika, Hollie and I are always keen for some major jam session if one happens."

Does that mean we may get to see all the acts on stage together for an almighty knees-up?

"Maybe," Boh said.

When she first started out with Stellar* in 1999, Boh wasn't looking this far ahead, so to still be recording and touring was amazing.

"I'd like to get back to the rock thing. Rock is my first love, but I haven't sung much rock lately. I like my guitar bands so maybe I'll do that again at some stage."

Don't bet against Boh slinging the guitar in true rock fashion if the Classic Hits Winery Tour descends into an almighty jam at the end of the night.

- Wairarapa Times-Age

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