The wired and wonderful romp of a band that is Ish are in many ways a group that captures the spirit of 2021 – they're positively infectious.
Their raucous caravan of wild global folk music is the perfect vehicle to transport your heart to far-off lands and your feet to the dance floor.
Playing only one night at Toitoi in Hastings on Labour Day, Monday, October 25, these six Hawke's Bay musicians are offering a global tour without leaving town.
Ish's instigator, Dana Parkhill, is herself representative of the band's startling eclecticism. A classical flautist who has belly-danced her way through Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco, Ish is the band she has dreamed of for years.
Their repertoire takes in Bulgaria, Sweden, Moldova, Ireland, Brittany, Barcelona and beyond, layered with exuberant Klezmer and cool Latin Cumbia.
"It is a hotch-potch," Parkhill readily admits, but thanks to the wordless, beautiful musicianship of the Ish whānau, it works.
The band are fearless fiddle player Louise Ward, the multitalented Phill Jones of Tukituki Instruments, bass-playing wunderkind Chris Beernink, Dana's husband Johnny Goodhind with his guitar, bouzouki, mandolin and saxophone, percussionist extraordinaire Joe Dobson, and Parkhill on flute.
"I've thought about this for so long, having a band to make these kind of sounds," Parkhill said.
Her dream band finally came together for last year's Fringe in the 'Stings.
She'd had some tentative conversations with likely suspects, but it was when her mum died that she thought, "what am I waiting for?" and got on with making it happen.
Ish performed to a wild and whooping sellout crowd at last year's Fringe, have been rehearsing weekly since, and if you want to hear them, they're available only live. There are snippets of rehearsals on their Facebook page (@AbandCalledIsh), but you won't find them on YouTube or Spotify.
At the October 25 gig, among the 20-25 pieces will be some written for Ish by Hawke's Bay multi-instrumentalist and composer Anton Wuts.
Anton's pieces are "wild and lovely, contemporary but folkish," Parkhill said.
The show is about more than just the music. The venue will be designed to take people out of themselves and away, to sing and dance the world back into being.
"The whole show, the idea is to transport people. It will be set up so as soon as you enter, you're somewhere exotic – not a specific place, just somewhere that's not Hastings, New Zealand."
When : October 25, 8pm
Where: Toitoi Festival Hub, Hastings
• For more info, go to www.hbaf.co.nz