New Zealand: a song for remembering

Across the world this week, writers are letting you in on their favorite things about New Zealand, as the people of that country work to recover from the earthquake Christchurch and invite you to visit. One of my favorite things about New Zealand is the music, and I’ve a particular song ringing in my mind.

When you go to a music festival or a pub night anywhere in New Zealand, one of the songs you’ll quite likely hear as the music comes to a close is called Just One More Chorus. It has a melody which invites singing along, and the opening verses readily evoke the spirit that evening’s end at musical gathering brings out.

The song was written by a Scotsman, Davy Steele. It was one of the last songs he wrote before illness took him, and he did not have the chance to record it himself. In the way songs travel, though, New Zealand based singer and songwriter Martin Curtis learned it while he was at a festival off the the far north of Scotland, on Orkney, and brought it back to his home in New Zealand. Though Curtis does not often record work by other musicians, he chose Just One More chorus as the closer of his album Gin & Raspberry. That album, released in 2008, is still ranked as one of the the best selling folk albums in New Zealand.

Curtis often writes about the history and the landscape of New Zealand. He has produced a dvd called Otago My Home, in which he explores places important to his music, and is at work in another featuring New Zealand wildlife and nature. Steele’s musical friends in Scotland recently gathered to create a tribute album to the songwriter, called Steele the Show. Steele’s son Jamie is among those who sing on Just One More Chorus on that album.

Davy Steele’s song has words which take a moment of sharing music deeper, as well.

No matter what accent, no matter what tongue
When people love singing they all sound as one
This gathering of singers will go on and on
Join in the chorus
Of just one more song…

Liz Lewis, whose posts you read here regularly, is a resident of Christchurch. So it is a song for you, Liz, and a nod as well to the #blog4NZ project, through which writers are raising awareness of New Zealand as a travel destination, with the purpose that travel to New Zealand is a way to help the country recover from the earthquake.

This is also Perceptive Travel’s birthday week — we are turning four years old, and you could be in with a chance to win several fine gifts for yourself. Leave a comment at this post from Sheila Scarborough to join in.

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