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The Flow Collective - Album Review: Flow

27 Mar 2022 // A review by Kev Rowland

This is a wonderful album, very New Zealand, but also very much classic singer-songwriter in a way which is not often heard these days. It took me a while to think who they remind me of, but in the end, I settled for English singer Talis Kimberly and Australian Maryen Cairns, both incredible performers who have released essential albums. This one revolves around the vocals and piano of Elizabeth de Vegt, who used poems from Airini Beautrais’ collection Flow: Whanganui River Poems as lyrical inspiration for an album and event based on the Whanganui River. Recorded live at the Royal Whanganui Opera House in January this year, she was accompanied by Elise Goodge (taonga puoro, vocals), Andrew Wetherall (electric guitar), Brad McMillan (drums), and Hamish Jellyman (bass, synth, vocals).

The accompanists are just that, there to provide additional nuances and touches on the songs which are fully formed and once can imagine Elizabeth also performing these solo without any additional instrumentation. Although there are times when Elizabeth plays acoustic, for the most part she is sat behind the piano, where she has a wonderful touch, while her vocals are always direct and full of message. The songs move between different styles, often within a traditional folk styling and one can imagine this being listened to a great deal within the UK folk circuit in particular. One item which does make it stand out is the use of Taonga Puoro (traditional Maori musical instruments), which provides a haunting quality to the music. There are times when they up the tempo, and mix it up somewhat, but the arrangements are always designed to have the vocals front and centre, even if they are more country and pop than folk.

This is such a full-formed album, with strong performances, that I cannot help but think that although this may be the debut for The Flow Collective, Elizabeth must have already recorded other albums as this is so full of confidence. I know I need to find out more about the band and only hope they will be bring this show to Auckland at some point as I would definitely be there. This is a gorgeous album, timeless in its approach, and beautiful in all facets.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

About The Flow Collective

Flow: Beautrais x de Vegt is an album and show that celebrates the Whanganui River and the stories of its people. It is made up of fifteen original compositions by Elizabeth de Vegt using poems from Airini Beautrais’ collection Flow: Whanganui River Poems (VUP2017) as lyrical inspiration. The compositions celebrate traditional and contemporary musical forms, including jazz, working songs, sea shanties, folk, country and pop. More importantly, this unique creative collaboration, elevates the stories at its core ensuring they continue to be shared and remembered.

Flow was recorded live, in the historic Royal Whanganui Opera House in early January 2022 with accompanists Andrew Wetherall, Hamish Jellyman, Brad McMillan and Elise Goodge.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for The Flow Collective


Year: 2022
Type: Album

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