Blues Roots n Boogie Radio Show – 15 February 2016

This week’s show features an interview with Wellington Heads and some sample tracks off the new album Southern Night Sky as well as music from Lowell Fulson.

Blues Roots n Boogie is broadcast each Monday evening at 8.30pm on Access Radio. 783 KHz AM or steamed live on

Your host is Del Thomas. Del is one of the club’s hard working committee members and hails originally from Scotland.


Blues Roots n Boogie Radio Show – January 2016

Here’s the Podcast of our first show and features  an interview with up and coming Wellington blues musician Jake Stokes as well as music from BB King, Jake Stokes,  Knikki and Mike Beale plus news from the Wellington blues scene.

Blues Roots n Boogie is broadcast each Monday evening at 8.30pm on Access Radio. 783 KHz AM or steamed live on

Your host is Del Thomas. Del is one of the club’s hard working committee members and hails originally from Scotland.


Capital Blueswoman to Sing for the Pope

Laura Collins2All roads lead to the Pope for Wellington blues singer Laura Collins.

The 45-year-old will open and close the second annual Voices of Faith event at the Vatican next month with a hauntingly beautiful ballad penned by fellow Kiwi musician Steve Cournane and accompanied on piano by Wayne Mason, writer of the 1960s pop hit Nature.

“The whole thing is pretty surreal. I’m kind of humbled really. It is hard to believe,” Collins said yesterday.

The opportunity is the result of her friendship with Cournane, a former Wellingtonian whose Peruvian wife, Rocio Figueroa, is second-in-charge of the annual event. It was founded last year after Pope Francis called for a greater female presence in the Catholic Church.

Cournane was asked to compose a song for this year’s event and hand-picked Collins to record the song Voices of Faith. “I knew immediately I wanted to do it with people from New Zealand,” he says.

Mason Kapiti-based keyboard maestro Wayne Mason, who wrote the 1960s hit Nature, played piano to Collins’ vocals at recently closed Braeburn Recording Studio in Wellington. “What they sent back to me blew me away,” Cournane says of their recording, which was swiftly sent to the event directors.

“The next thing was, ‘Will you come to Rome to sing it?’,” Collins said. “It’s one of those left-field things life throws up. It’s an honour, and what a great opportunity.”

Mason will miss out on the Vatican trip because of cost. An Italian pianist will accompany Collins.

has been reading up on Italy and papal protocols. “What to wear – that is a major question for me. Basically we’re going with elegant.”

iwi heritage will be on display with a special piece of pounamu around her neck, created for her by a Hokitika-based musician friend.

While not Catholic herself, Collins says she is “spiritual” and supports Pope Francis’ push to empower women, a theme she includes in her own songs.

“I’m a feminist of old and this (event) rings true to me.”

She admits it will be “pretty wild” if she gets to meet the Pope.

The foundation’s executive director will formally invite the Pope this week to five-hour event is on International Women’s Day, March 8, in a room near the Pope’s living quarters. He has been invited and organisers are hopeful he will attend.

Elliotte Fuimaono

Elliotte Fuimaono

You’ll often see Elliotte Fuimaono on bass at the Bristol, leaning back with eyes slightly closed, behind Darren Watson, Dave Murphy, or the Kemptones. His baselines have anchored many a jam night and special show, and he has recorded with Darren Watson, Brannigan Kaa, and Carol Bean. Recently I joined Elliotte for a quiet beer and a chat.

In 1960 Elliotte Fuimaono was born to Maori and Samoan parents in the King Country town of Taumarunui. His early life centred around family and church: first a mainly Maori church, then a Samoan church after his family moved to Wellington when he was 9.

Music started with singing at church, and later playing on family instruments. He took up bass at his brother’s 21st. His brother was the usual bass player for the family band, but he didn’t want to do it on his birthday so Elliotte filled in and has never stopped. He has been playing in family bands since 1975. They used to play open air Christian gigs at Pigeon Park on Sundays, then switched to playing covers, and later originals, as Taste of Bounty.

After the death of dynamic Hendrix-inspired lead guitarist Roy Fuimaono, the band became Bounty, then New Shuz, playing mainly pubs, but also at Sweetwaters. Elliotte joined Brannigan Kaa’s Brown Street about the same time as Chicago Smokeshop was smoking stages all over New Zealand. The bands went to each other’s gigs, often playing at the Oaks and at Western Park jams.

The 90s found him joining South Side of Bombay, who had been going 6 years and already had a hit single “What’s The Time Mr Wolf”. Elliotte spent 3 years with them, touring New Zealand, Australia and Noumea as a full-time musician. That was quite a cool band, wasn’t it? “Apparently – I was only in it!” Lance Sua told me once that touring with SSOB was what made you as a bass player. “Apparently … [Laughs] Well, I suppose you make less mistakes.”

At jam nights you pick up songs very quickly by ear. You seem to have very good ears. “Apparently!” How did you end up getting involved with the Blues Club? “I started coming along about 4 or 5 years ago just to listen and enjoy the night. I already knew Dougal Spier – he was nice to me. I didn’t know anyone else. Then I started playing music with Dougal. I love the Blues Club. I like to go along no matter who is playing.”

Who do you admire? “I like all the big names but I like watching local guys play. I get more out of that than US players. It’s not like watching a DVD. It’s more immediate.”

New Zealand bass players he likes include Brent Thompson, Max Stowers, Max Hohepa, Ryan Monga, Paul Dyne, and another familiar face at the Blues Club, George Barris.

Elliotte admits that punctuality isn’t his strong point. A couple of times he’s turned up for a gig after the band has started playing. “Everyone knows I’m going to be late, but I’m going to turn up anyway.” I mentioned that at the previous evening’s jam I was tired and ratty, didn’t feel like singing at all, but once I started playing I suddenly found my mojo. “It always happens like that. Sometimes you turn up, you’re so tired … you’ve been on the jackhammer all day [at work], but you start playing and you get a big lift that carries you through. It happens straight away, as soon as you start the first song.”

Bluznuz guest editor (June issue) – Al Witham  – June 2008

Creative and Intellectual Life at the Capital Blues Club!

Don Laing has alerted us to a new entry in the new Creative and Intellectual Life section of Te Ara – the Encyclopaedia of NZ, featuring Bullfrog Rata and Laura Collins playing at our very own Roomfulla Blues, “organised by Capital Blues Inc, the Wellington blues club“.  Credit for the wonderful action photo to Don Laing.

Bullfrog Rata and Laura Collins


Club member profile: “Gentleman” George Barris

George Barris - Photo by Don Laing
George Barris – Photo by Don Laing

George is a stand-up man who plays a stand-up bass and electric bass.

This month, George Barris is onstage with both Highway and Midnight Ramblers.

“My first professional band was The Bitter End from Wellington. In 1968, I moved to Auckland and joined The Underdogs.” ”

In late 1968 I formed Jigsaw with Underdogs drummer Tony Walton and two friends from Wellington, Chaz Burke-Kennedy on guitar and Glyn Mason on vocals. When Glyn left to join The Rebels we became Fresh Air with Chris Seresin on keyboards.”

“I briefly joined Troubled Mind, then moved back to Wellington and was approached to join Highway.” “I did a stint with Blerta after Highway in the early 70s, and between that and my present tenure with Laura Collins, there have been too many bands and gigs to mention!”


28-29 FEBRUARY 2004

cuba-st-carnivalThe Blues stage is once again taking shape at the same site as the last festival – outside/inside the Hotel Bristol, Cuba Mall.

This year has a fantastic range of bands from country blues through to swing and jazz and across to chicago blues and back again.

Point your browser here regularly for updates and bamd information.

  • SATURDAY 28th
    • 1200: The Bruce Brothers
    • 1500: Capital Blues Extraviganza
    • 1900: The Warratahs
    • 2100: Darren Watson Band
  • SUNDAY 29th
    • 1200: Marg Layton Band
    • 1500:Wayne Mason Band
    • 1700:Shaken Not Stirred