Musical explosion to shake Wairarapa to its core

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A series of concerts will hit Wairarapa in coming months ranging from a Gunslingers Ball to a word-slinging music writer.

Up With People spokesman Mark Rogers said the performances will spotlight "a host of names from rock, country and literature" in a concert series that launches with a solo show from Anika Moa at Masterton's Lighthouse Church on March 23.

Up With People will then celebrate NZ Music Month in May with two shows "that are a real coup for the region", Rogers said.

First up is the notorious Gunslingers Ball, an evening of Americana, country and bluegrass courtesy of Bernie Griffen and the Grifters, The Broadsides featuring award-winning songwriter Tami Neilson, D Burmester and The Blind and John The Baptist, a Wellington-based band that supported Don McGlashan at the Carterton Events Centre last year.

"The touring show is a big draw right across New Zealand ever since its early days in the back-room bars of Auckland and has since earned a reputation as a hugely entertaining night out thanks to its eclectic mix of styles and big-name players," Rogers said.

Up With People teams up with Hedley's Bookshop in May to bring to Wairarapa best-selling author and legendary music-critic Sylvie Simmons for an exclusive Lower North Island appearance to talk about Leonard Cohen - the subject of her internationally acclaimed biography, I'm Your Man.

Simmons is a music journalist and award-winning writer who in the 70s shifted from London to Los Angeles, where she began writing about rock music for Sounds, Rolling Stone, the Guardian and Mojo.

She has since published biographies of Serge Gainsbourg and Neil Young and her Leonard Cohen biography has been a big hit with New Zealanders and readers of the genre in Wairarapa - I'm Your Man has been one of the best-selling music titles for Hedley's Bookshop.

As well as reading from the book, Simmons will be interviewed by fellow music writer Simon Sweetman, about her career in the music industry.

Details of both the Gunslingers Ball and the Leonard Cohen evening will be soon announced and tickets for the Anika Moa concert are on sale. from dashtickets.co.nz and from Vinyl Heaven on Jackson Street.

- Wairarapa Times-Age

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