Karen Hunter takes her audience on a conscious journey through music with passionate lyrics and evocative melodies that draw from her backgroud in socio-political folk, kirtan chanting and rootsy grooves.
Karen's primary instruments are vocals and acoustic guitar, sometimes incorporating rhythmic backing tracks using percussive loops made with ‘found objects’, guitar, voice and violin.
Stylistically Karen cites amongst her musical influences; Joan Armatrading, Rickie Lee Jones , Laurie Anderson and Patti Smith. Renown as a dynamic and engaging live act, Karen has played alongside international acts Ani Difranco, Tania Maria, Toni Childs and Suzanne Vega and she has performed as an accompanist for Jazz singer Rhiannon. Karen has also accompanied Kiwi icons Shona Laing and Dave McArtney on guitar, percussion and vocals.
Karen completed a Masters of Music in Composition in 2009 and she taught at that two different tertiary education institutions for several years in New Zealand. Karen left this work to explore a more 'grass roots' approach to music. which has seen her travelling throughout South America and Europe throughout 2012 and 2013 exploring mask making, dance, street music, studying Spanish and German language as well as learning the violin!
Being something of a musical chameleon has seen Karen evolve throughout her nine solo albums to date. While her origins could be described as ‘funky acoustic folk/rock’, her two most recent solo albums albums Words&Groove (2010) and Rubble (2007) showcase Karen embracing the improvisational language of jazz. In May 2010 Hunter was invited to commisioned to create a Cabaret and the resulting 'Scrapyard Cabaret' premiered in the Erupt Festival on the shores of Lake Taupo..
The band Magic Box Experience was formed as a street performance project with Karen, Marcelo Lopez (Chile) and Yvan Calvingac (France) in 2011. Using costume, face paint, glockenspiel, guitar, Celtic fiddle, djembe and dancing, the trio performed throughout the North Island for six months before travelling to Chile to work on the streets there. MBE wrote, recorded and released 3 experimental albums of poetry, acoustic rock and socio-political commentary as well as one disc of French Celtic tunes between June 2011 and August 2012.
Hunter’s present musical adventure is one of collaborative writing and the formation of Awakening Circus, a collective work between music, poetry and philosophy. Awakening Circus is a collective of 9 songwriters, collaborating to form a whole far greater than the sum of its parts. With members based in France, Germany, Chile and New Zealand, the music of the Awakening Circus is an exotic blend of Rock, Neo Classical, Celtic and Kirtan ( music for mediation). The songs of Awakening Circus speak of rebuilding a spiritual bridge between people and creation.
...her delivery is cool and illuminating. That she can switch from a dirty jazz-blues rhythm section arrangement to a simple guitar-picking delivery to spoken word reveals Hunter as a major New Zealand talent. From every turn, Rubble is one rough-cut gem of an album. Waikato Times
.....a cracked jazz balladeer; backed by hipster-jazz and creating a creepy mood for hushed spoken-word pieces and lazy bar-room blues, it is as if Hunter has unlocked her inner Rickie Lee Jones, tending also to touch on the spirit of Tom Waits ... Rubble is a class act of an album – do your best to check it out. Dominion Post
Hunter is a "ridiculously accomplished guitar-playing, singing, songwriting Aucklander whose performances are pithy, compassionate and insightful Metro magazine
Songwriting this good can not be faked. Ripitup
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