Here comes New Zealand music's annual prizegiving.

RUSSELL BAILLIE surveys the nominations.

Che-Fu, Salmonella Dub and Anika Moa are the leading nominees at this year's New Zealand music awards. All three local artists had their respective albums hit the top of the charts in 2001, a year regarded as the second bumper period in a row for locally produced music.

Che-Fu and Salmonella Dub each have seven nominations in the "Tuis", while newcomer Moa has five care of her hit debut album Thinking Room and hit single Youthful.


The awards - which are being held later than usual in the year to coincide with NZ Music Month in May - have diversified their approach.

Reflecting the evolution and changing tastes in popular music as well as this country's increasingly diverse output, there are now R&B/Hip-Hop and Electronica categories.

The success story of the awards would seem to be Salmonella Dub, the independent left-field Christchurch dub, reggae and electronic outfit whose much-nominated, chart-topping set Inside the Dub Plates is their fourth album since 1994. They have slowly built a national following during that time.

The other success story is teenage pop-operatic singer Hayley Westenra, whose multi-platinum, self-titled debut album has her nominated in the best female vocalist category.

A notable feature of this year's nomination list is how two bands - the feelers and Stellar - which dominated past awards with their debut albums have been largely ignored for their sophomore efforts released last year.

The lukewarm commercial and critical response to the feelers' Communicate and Stellar's Magic Life appears reflected in their modest nomination haul. The feelers have three nominations (group, songwriter, album) and Stellar has two (Boh Runga in best female vocalist, the band jointly nominated with Tom Bailey for best producer).

In one of the inevitable curiosities of the awards, the R&B/Hip-Hop category features Auckland band Steriogram as nominee for their rap-rock ode to Westie culture, White Trash.

Among other possible incongruities among the nominations are the nod for Zed in the best group category for their 2000 debut release Silencer, a repackaged version of which was released last year.


So who's missing?

Well, the critically acclaimed debut album by Dimmer - which topped TimeOut's best of the year list - features only in the best cover art and video categories.

Other well-regarded local albums that missed the cut included those by House of Downtown, SJD and Cloudboy.

A few veterans feature among the nominations. Neil Finn's second solo album One Nil is up for album of the year and Finn is nominated as best male vocalist. And while fellow old trooper Dave Dobbyn has nothing under his own name, the retrospective hits collection of his first band Th'Dudes features in the compilation category.

The main part of the awards, hosted by Erika Takacs and Marcus Lush, will be held at Auckland's St James Theatre on Friday, May 10, and will feature performances by Salmonella Dub, Anika Moa, the feelers, Che-Fu, goodshirt and Stellar. Tickets for the show ($25) are available from Ticketek. A delayed broadcast will screen in the Space slot on TV2 at 10.30 that night.

NZ Music Award Nominations

Album Of The Year: Anika Moa (Thinking Room), Che-Fu (Navigator), Neil Finn (One Nil), Salmonella Dub (Inside the Dub Plates), the feelers (Communicate).

Single of the Year: Aaria (Kei A Wai Re Te Kupu), Anika Moa (Youthful), Che-Fu (Fade Away), Nesian Mystik (Nesian Style), Salmonella Dub (Love Your Ways).

Top Male Vocalist: Che-Fu, Neil Finn, Tiki Taane (Salmonella Dub).

Top Female Vocalist: Anika Moa, Boh Runga (Stellar), Hayley Westenra.

Top Group: Salmonella Dub, the feelers, Zed.

Songwriter of the Year: Anika Moa (Youthful), Che-Fu (Fade Away), James Reid and Donald Reid (Communicate - the feelers).

International Achievement: Anika Moa, Nathan Haines, Salmonella Dub.

Top New Act: goodshirt, K'Lee, Pluto.

Compilation: Various artists (Live at Helen's), Greg Johnson (The Best Yet), Th'Dudes (Where Are Th' Girls).

Producer:Malcolm Welsford (Scorpio Righting - Garageland), Paddy Free and Salmonella Dub (Inside the Dub Plates), Tom Bailey and Stellar (Magic Line).

Engineering: Dave Wernham, Tiki Taane and Paddy Free (Inside the Dub Plates - Salmonella Dub), Luke Tomes (Magic Line - Stellar), Simon Holloway (Broken Wings - K'Lee ).

R&B/Hip-Hop: Che-Fu (Navigator), Dark Tower (Canterbury Drafts), Steriogram (White Trash).

Electronica: Rhian Sheehan (Paradigm Shift), Shapeshifter (Real Time), Sola Rosa (Solarized).

Country: Beau Redding (Dime Box), Dennis Marsh (Faded Love), Topp Twins (Grass Highway).

Jazz: C L Bob (Stereoscope), Nathan Haines (Sound Travels), the Rodger Fox Big Band (Warriors).

Classical: Gareth Farr (Warriors from Pluto), Jack Body (Pulse), New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (Landscapes).

Gospel: Felt (Colour of the Sky), Parachute Band (Amazing), the Lads (Marvel).

Folk: Beverley Young (The Tinkerman's Daughter), Bob McNeill (Covenant), Jacky Tarr (Defenestration), Phil Garland (Swag O' Dreams).

Children's album: Fatcat & Fishface (Dog Breath), Kids Music Company (Singers On a High Note II), Michelle Scullion (Peaks to Plains).

Mana Reo: Brannigan Kaa (Taputapu), Ruia and Ranea (Waiata of Bob Marley), T-Sistaz (Whakamanahia).

Mana Maori: Rangiatea Concert Party (Rangiatea), Ruia and Ranea (Waiata of Bob Marley), Te Ati Kimihia (Te Ati Kimihia & the Children of Tane).

Best Cover Design: Che Fu & Kelvin Soh (Navigator), Kelvin Soh (Good - goodshirt), Shayne Carter & Andrew B White (I Believe You Are A Star - Dimmer).

Best Music Video: Che-Fu (Fade Away), Dimmer (Seed), Gramsci (Complicated).

Radio Programmer of the Year: Brad King (Rock Network), Dallas Gurney (ZM Network), David Ridler (Channel Z), Marty Lindsay Star FM Wanganui.