Secretly this is festival director Pitsch Leiser’s most eagerly anticipated show this year, the band he’s been wanting to host since long before Harcourts Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival was a twinkle in his eye. He explains why:

“I have danced to Shooglenifty live like my life depended on it, over 20 years ago at New Zealand’s first ever WOMAD in Western Springs, Auckland, 1997. They were playing alongside Fundamental and Afro-Celt Sound System, Neil Finn... It was exciting! Their charismatic energy on stage and the kind of music they played – tradition Scottish folk music mixed with all sorts of world music riffs and influences, electronic elements and irresistible beats – I have never forgotten that amazing experience. While I haven’t seen them perform since, they’ve always been on my list to bring to Hawke’s Bay and raise the roof of the Spiegeltent.

“So I am extremely excited about welcoming Shooglenifty here this year. 

“The band members will have aged a bit – well, it has been over 20 years – but their music is like a good wine or cheese: with age it gets better and better, more complex in its flavours. In recent years, they’ve collaborated in India with Dhun Dhora, adding another whole layer of complexity to their musical journey.

“Musically this show will be fantastic. The band will be coming pretty much straight from India where they have been recording an album with these amazing Rajasthani musicians, the culmination of an incredible world music collaboration. So they will be primed to share some of their freshest material with a live audience, along with many of their time-worn favourites.

“There will be dancing – one cannot go to a Shooglenifty concert without dancing – that would be like having dinner without salt and pepper. The Victoria Spiegeltent has a big capacity, and there will be plenty of space for dancing – we’ll make sure of that. It’s quite a thing to dance in a spiegeltent; it’s not often you get the chance to dance on a sprung wooden floor. So this is a really special opportunity to not only see one of the world’s most extraordinary festival bands but to come and enjoy a really good dance floor within a magical space. Altogether it will be a beautiful, uplifting experience.”

Shooglenifty will be play the Victoria Spiegeltent, 26 October.

Shooglenifty’s New Zealand tour was featured recently in the NZ Listener. You can read the article here on Noted.com

And here’s an article on the work they’ll be touring and their origins: thelabel.co.nz

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