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April Fool

Good morning everyone and thank you for all the lovely birthday wishes :) I had a wonderful day which started off with a drastic change.

This pic went up on twitter early in the day..

It was great to shock/surprise friends and family, and was time for a change I think :-)

It's been a lovely march and now it feels like winter is here.. I went to Auckland and ended up playing a show last minute, opening for Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls at the Studio.. This happened through Neil who is wonderful :-) Here's a pic:

I've been getting more and more lost on Twitter, so if you think I'm not writing enough here, come see me there, it's a very different blog/thing..

The next concert coming up will be at the Loons in Lyttelton -christchurch, on the 24th of April.. See the poster here on the site or go to the Facebook event page.. The Loons is a brilliant venue, this will be my first time playing there and we're planning on previewing something special on the night so come and be a part of it..Call the Loons Or Click here for booking online It's been a crazy few weeks so there are no Tshirts up on the Etsy site yet, but this week will be listing some new stuff and the Tshirts are coming.. promise :)

Hope you all had a wonderful April Fool's day! send me your pranks ;-) xox!

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Twittering.. and Etsy

This is just a quick post to let you know I've recently gotten a little bit lost on Twitter.. If you want more short updates go to this site and click follow ;) Also, we are working on items for the Etsy site, first two stencils are done for the Tshirts and they'll be up soon I promise.. Have designed a few steam-punk things too and as you'll see on the Twitter site I've been making hats...

I'll be in Auckland next week, and then playing at the Ellerslie flower show in Christchurch on March 14th, I'm on between 3.3ö and 4.30 on the main stage.  xox

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Something old.. Something new..

Happy new year! I've been a bit absent from the blog for a while now.. Here's what has been going on.. In January I played two shows with Marty Casey, he came and did a tour of New Zealand to support CanTeen *a wonderful charity supporting young people living with cancer. We played in Christchurch at AL's bar, and in Dunedin at 10 bar.. We met the day before the first concert and then played two songs together both nights, lots of fun and will put up some pictures and video here soon..

I played in Hagley park for the Christchurch city council as part of the 'Lazy weekends' outdoor concert series, except the day that I played there was a thunderstorm.. As I got to the gardens, we could hear the thunder rumbling in the distance and it didn't look good for an outdoor concert.. But there were plenty of (brave) people, already set up with picnics and so I played.. it rained a bit during the first few songs, and I dried my guitar with a towel in between songs.. then it was lovely until the end. When everything was packed up, it was like an explosion went off.. thunder, lightning and black skies.. it rained like I've never experienced here..

I believe these are the most memorable concerts.. more so than just a lovely day outside ;)

It's the best time of year here in Christchurch now, with the summertimes festival, buskers and festival of flowers on.. Went to a brilliant show in the botanical gardens last week, it's on every night until the Feb 15th, ''The Complete history of cinema (abridged)'' Highly reccommend going (bring a picnic) to see it...

I've had several requests for T-shirts lately.. So we decided to set up an Etsy store.. *I love etsy.. it's a wonderful site for all things handmade.. And rather than mass-produced printed photo-style T's, we've decided to do hand-stencilled ones.. Something a bit more personal and different.. *so if there's something particular you'd like to see in the store.. now is the time to contact (use the contact button here on the site) :) Would love to hear your ideas.

I have a little time off at the moment, we're working on a new music video and I'm writing. There will be more info here soon about upcoming concerts, but I can tell you we're planning one for early april, and I'll be playing during Earth hour in march *more info soon..

I'm about to share something I never have before.. When I have a little time, I love designing and making jewelry.. Since we set up the etsy store, I decided to list some items.. they're one-off-handmade pieces using glass, crystals, lava and all sorts of bits and pieces.. Hope you like them.. Lots more coming soon.. and the T-shirts will be up in the next few weeks...

xox

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Live videos and more teaching

I went to Taupo last week to do another workshop for the NZ music commission and ended up learning lots myself.. I played ukulele for the first time and loved it! I had 23 students in the workshop, and then played for the whole school outside after their lunch break.. They were so lovely! and it was a beautiful sunny day!

Only 9 days till christmas now, and it's finally summer! My vegetable garden is looking great and will have new potatoes very soon..

I mentioned on the mailing list that my favourite chocolate is now available here in Christchurch, and got some great replies.. I have no idea what this is but really curious to try it..

Here are some photos from the mentoring program:

The boys, and the Pink ukulele..

And these photos below were taken at the Nut Point Gallery concert last month. They now have a site up with videos from the concert here. Scroll down to see the videos.

Photos by Matt Stead.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/iqYTmTAhIzc[/youtube]

[youtube]http://youtu.be/kwErL_6ueS0[/youtube]

xox

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Mentoring Program and Southern Amp..

It's been quite a while since I last wrote here, Lots of things going on and it's looking like it's going to be an interesting summer! (we had frost, snow and hail only a few days ago, and yesterday was 31 degrees..) Last weekend was Southern Amp, which was wonderful! And I've attached some photos from there, here below.    *Photos by Matt Stead.

I've just finished a course of teaching here in Christchurch for the New Zealand Music Commission. It's called the mentoring program, where musicians go to schools, and teach music in a different way... (which I think is brilliant, because I didn't really enjoy the way they tought when I was at school..) This is more like a songwriting workshop, and it's just such a great thing to take part in. My last class was five very talented boys, and I can actually show you something wonderful ;) one of my students was already writing music before the workshop, and is going to go very far I believe.. this is his performance on What Now after he won a songwriting competition there recently, his name is Rahul and he's 12 years old..

[youtube]http://youtu.be/Gef5ysouaVQ[/youtube]

If you're watching this on the facebook site and can't see the video **here is the link**

I'll be doing some more teaching near Taupo next month, which is where my cat came from.. (I've been away from home for a few days and he just cannot get enough smooches right now.. they say dogs don't have too much of a sense of time as in how long you've been away for, wether it's an hour or three days.. but I really think my cat knows..)

I've moved house since I last wrote here, and have been writing lots of new songs.. Will be making another music video very soon with the same crew as worked on 'Feels so good' This time for 'The devil and me' and looking forward to it..

Next concert coming up is at the Nut Point Gallery on the 29th this month. I haven't played there before but I think it will be lovely. It's about 22km from the city center, and is part of their songwriters series.. xox for now

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Sunshine and spring

It's lovely to be home. For the first few days it was a bit cold and grey but it seems spring has finally kicked in. Everything is blossoming and beautiful.. I went to one of my favourite places here on Sunday..Pegasus Bay.. and did a short video there. Initially the video blogging was just meant to be while on tour in Iceland, but I've decided to keep going for a little while and share some of New Zealand too ;)

[youtube]http://youtu.be/fdsMqEq9g9s[/youtube]

Coming up is the Alexandra Blossom Festival, and Southern Amp.. more info here in the Live section. And I'll be playing in Cathedral Square on October 5th for the World Harmony Run after the concert at the Arts Centre. xox

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Home, and Copenhagen

I'm home now. Copenhagen was wonderful! it didn't rain while I was there, which was really nice. I got very sick on the day I left Iceland, and completely lost my voice. Nothing would come out louder than a whisper - I literally couldn't even fake talking.. But I'm very stubborn and refused to call the two venues and cancel the concerts. But went instead to see an ear nose and throat specialist and find out what it was or if anything was damaged, and was told I've over-strained my vocal chords (from doing many concerts in a row, and singing/writing in between..) a bit like a sprained muscle.. But he prescribed an inhaler (which I used only on the day of the concerts) and some kamillete herbal tea. (I think it's eccinacea?) and I got through without having to cancel :)

The first concert was at an art opening at Nordatlantensbrygge. The artist wasHelgi Thorgils Friidjonsson, who is Icelandic, so there were a lot of Icelandic people there although all the speeches were in danish.

The picture here was also taken at Nordatlantensbrygge upstairs, there was an exhibition on Greenland 1906-1908 a lot of beautiful sketches and old diaries.. The picture is with a stuffed polar bear..

Then in the evening I played at Cafe Blasen, which I think is the smallest venue I've ever played in (even smaller than the church in oddi, Oddakirkja) and it was amazing! there was hardly room to breathe in there, absolutely packed with people and it had such a wonderful vibe! very very  cosy!

And I visited Tivoli! on the first day in Copenhagen, completely voice-less and went on the demon rollercoaster without being able to scream... very strange experience.. I felt somehow pollite, just sitting there and smiling...  Here´s a short video from the second day, taken in between concerts..

[youtube]http://youtu.be/E5o6g-guU-M[/youtube]

Now I'm home and voiceless again.. settling into the time zone and geeking out on the new iphone (I'm a bit of a gadget nerd) Just over two weeks until the next concert so I can rest a little..

Here are my friends babies Pinto and Pottle, I've been knitting in Iceland while touring, and made these two little Lopapeysa's for them.. (traditional Icelandic woolen sweaters) *they do have a purpose, little ones get very cold here in the New Zealand winter..

And here is mine, this is Brjánn / Brian, I posted a picture of him here a long time ago but there's a more recent picture now on the right :) He's a hairless sphynx cat..

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Last post from Iceland

Today is my last day here in Iceland. There are so many things I'm going to miss all over again, and so many things I meant to do but there just wasn't time for... It's a beautiful sunny day today, and this summer has just been incredible! I went for one last trip out of town on sunday.. to where the Icelandic forest videos were taken, and got to relax a little :) Now I'm getting everything sort of into one place so I don't leave anything behind, and getting ready for the concert in Denmark.

Very happy with the tour and the final concert, here are some photos from the night.. Taken by Sigurdur (thank you)

The dress was made for me by STARKILLER - an awesome Icelandic label..

Not sure if I've mentioned this before, but since you can see it so well in the pics; My guitar strap is made from catfish.. by Gustadesign

and there is a review of the final concert here..

Bye for now :) next post will either be from Denmark, Singapore or New Zealand.. xox

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Picking Berries in Iceland.. And not really naked

The tour is now officially over.. although the last concert is tomorrow night in the capital - Reykjavik..  I have to share with you a couple of photos (thank you to Guðmundur Heiðar Gunnarsson, who took them, in Ísafjörður) This one here below made me think of a certain scene in Forest Gump.. because it looks like I'm playing naked.. (I'm not really.. you can see in the second picture)

I've been writing a lot on this tour, and have started and finished a few songs while backstage before a concert.. there's a mention of the concert in Hólmavík here... I wrote a song upstairs(backstage), finished it five minutes before the concert, then came downstairs and played it for the first time live.. :)

Today I played at Poppland on Iceland radio Rás 2.. you can read about it here.. and should be able to listen to it in a few hours online.. it's Poppland at 15.00pm.

Tickets for the final concert are available online here at midi.is.. It will be at Domo - Þingholtsstræti 5, 101 Rvk and starts 9pm

And on friday I'll be playing in Denmark! WIll be my first visit there too.. ''Concert in Denmark - Friday 5th September @ Cafe Blasen. 9pm start  **Cafe Blasen is located @ Nørregade 6 basement, 1165 Copenhagen C. ''

Picked lots and lots of berries in Ísafjörður..Six boxes full! -five of them with blueberries.. yum! and one jam has been made (although I must admit not by me..) But instead of using sugar (there is soooo much sugar in jam..) used boiled and mashed dates! and it tastes wonderful! Here's a short berry-video blog..

[youtube]http://youtu.be/1zTD_J2XNbE[/youtube]

Only six more nights to sleep in Iceland.. I keep saying and it's so true, this time has just gone by so fast!

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The West Fjords

It's been a wonderful couple of days ! (there I go again on the 'wonderful' but truly it has..) I'm currently in Ísafjörður, the concert this evening is a 40 minute drive away so I now have just a little time to relax and write this.. I visited the museum of Icelandic sorcery and witchcraft, in Hólmavík yesterday and took some pictures..

To scare your enemy: carve this symbol into a piece of oak, and throw it at his/her feet..

To win over a woman/girl: put this symbol on a piece of pigs gut using blood from your left nipple, and make her sleep on it for one night. You won't need to ask her after that..

Uppvakningur (the Icelandic version of a zombie..)

the beautiful Icelandic Raven..

The keeper of the Museum..

This verse was on the wall, it's the Executioner's verse.. and here below is the translation (warning.. this is nasty..)

from the 17th century:

Beat and castrate, bite and skin, blind and scratch and flog them. Burn alive and exile men, dismember and hang them.

I higly recommend you visit this place if you're travelling in Iceland. There is also an exhibition on called theSorcerer's cottage.. I took a little video there that you can see here below..

[youtube]http://youtu.be/a-CPqnfOZ68[/youtube]

Stayed at a wonderful old farm last night, built around 1920, and only a 20 minute drive from where the concert was.. and every inch of earth here is covered in berries! blueberries and crow-berries (krækiber) and I was given some homemade blueberry jam after the concert! and then some crowberry juice from the farm :) I'm going to pick some berries on the way home on sunday (that is, of course, after watching the game.. Iceland is in the 2008 olympic finals in handball.. playing france for the gold..)

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North Iceland.. And over using the word wonderful

I'm back in town again for two nights and then off to the West Fjords for the last part of the tour. Last week I played three concerts in North Iceland, at Sauðárkrókur, Akureyri and Dalvík. At Akureyri I played at the Green hat -græni hatturinn (which is also the name of a very famous Icelandic children's book) and did a short video there. It's a lovely venue and we had a great night there.. On saturday at Dalvík I played in the Church 'Dalvíkurkirkja' which was built in the 50's and has recently been done up, and is a very beautiful building. I also heard that the poem 'Dalakofinn' which I sometimes sing was written in a little hut nearby..(it's a poem that was made into two different melodies as an Icelandic folk song, I sing the version my grandmother used to sing to my dad and his 12 siblings)

Only 16 days left in Iceland and time is flying by, there will be a concert in Reykjavik at the end of the tour (around the 29th) which will be announced here in the next couple of days. I've not managed to catch up with everyone yet and it's looking like it's going to be quite hectic next week.. and I keep thinking there's a month to go... madness :)

But I get to skip the winter and hop straight into spring in New Zealand. I'll be playing at the Alexandra blossom festival at the end of September, then at Southern Amp in Christchurch, and at the Nut point gallery in November.. looking forward to another beautiful summer :)

Here is a little article in the West fjords news site bb.is..

and here's the video from the green hat: (will do some more in the west fjords, hope to show you the Icelandic horse.. ;) )

[youtube]http://youtu.be/AuWfZyISpzU[/youtube]

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Half way

The tour is now half way through, another six concerts to go and one in Reykjavik before I go... Three in a row at the end of this week in North Iceland, Sauðárkrókur, Akureyri and Dalvík.. where I heard there's the museum of magic! (all the old viking magic) which I really want to go and see..

Did an interview with Rúnar at Bylgjan this week, which you can listen to here, and I played 'The day before' live.

Then played at Bæjarbíó in Hafnarfjörður last friday. Instead of writing about it, here's a very quick video blog from there:

[youtube]http://youtu.be/6tpRHN3Znts[/youtube]

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Record breaking weather

Have now been in Iceland for a month, and will be for just over a month longer.. It's been so wonderful and it's so nice to see everyone again. Time is flying by so fast and I'm so happy that the coldest bit of winter will be over when I get back to New Zealand. The weather has just been incredible, an all time high the day before yesterday when it reached 27 degrees! (celcius) and I found myself (for the first time ever - in Iceland) taking shelter in the shade! The trip to East Iceland (Djúpivogur and Egilsstaðir) was wonderful.. Ended up having a spontaneous camping holiday with the family by the Lagarfljót (of which there is the story of the Lagarfljót Wyrm: ... A worm/dragon living in the Lagarfljót, near Egilsstaðir, Iceland. ... The unnamed dragon (referred to by the Saxon draca and wyrm) defeated by Beowulf ... And having packed only for two nights, ended up being away for 6 :)

Here are some photos taken on the drive..

This one is my favourite (below) the ''one lane bridge but you can't see if a car's coming''

Yesterday was another stunning sunny one, and stayed warm all through the night.. I did an interview on the Iceland News program Kastljós, which you can watch onlineby clicking here.. It was live, and was recorded at 8pm lastnight in central Reykjavík.. in the evening sunshine...

Tonight I play at Draugasetrið á Stokkseyri.. which is the Ghost centre... and another one of my favourite places to play... I'll post some video and pics from there soon...

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East Iceland

Just got to Egilstaðir and am staying at the hotel where the concert will be this evening. Everyone has been very helpful and lovely and I'm looking forward to playing tonight.. I have two new songs but not sure if they're ready to come out quite yet.. I'm holding back so I don't get ahead of myself, as almost all the songs I'm playing here (from the Live at Al's album) are new here.. Drove for about seven hours today through the beautiful landscape but am quite happy to be done with driving for the day.. Did a little video at Jökulsárlón, which is an amazing looking glacier filled lake where quite a few movies have been filmed including Batman Begins and James Bond.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/fVp87rwDeWM[/youtube]

Last weekend there was some serious Icelandic camping - which was just brilliant (and slightly painful when the crew decided to form a 4 storey human pyramid at about 2 in the morning) All the things I had missed so much! when Icelanders camp, they do it properly.. a giant bonfire and all the people at the campsite gathered and all ended up singing some of the well known camping and party songs extremely loudly..

Tomorrow I'm at one of my favourite places.. Djúpivogur.. a small village in East Iceland where I'm playing in a beautiful wooden building Hótel Framtíð. Will also get to see Gústa, a wonderful designer who made my guitar strap (it's made from fish leather -catfish) Check out www.gustadesign.is

And here are some new photos, these are by Valdis Thor ( valdisthor@gmail.com) The collar I'm wearing is knitted, using Lopi. inspired by the Icelandic Lopapeysa

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on tour in iceland

I've spent the last four days out in the country with no internet ;) it's been wonderful and sunny! (I'd forgotten you can get sunburned here too) I wrote two songs, and played two concerts - the tour has started! The first was on thursday night in 'Oddakirkja' - about a 10 minute drive from Hella, and it is the smallest and I think most beauiful church I've ever see.. It's tucked away in the middle of nowhere (sort-of) and it just has a wonderful vibe! the crowd were so lovely and the whole thing just amazing ... Have a look at the video below.. (I had a backstage area in the 'Skrúðherbergi' ) We had a full house and it was just the perfect place to start the tour... some photos here below as well :)

[youtube]http://youtu.be/nDZoM0fIzmU[/youtube]

This was the view from the stage:

and this is the church from two sides:

and an amazing sculpture inside:

and one from the concert.. taken from just inside the door:

This evening I played at 800 bar at Selfoss, which was wonderful too :) gorgeous lighting and at the end of the concert, the sun passed by the front door, (which was glass) and lit up the whole room beautifully :) Then drove home around 12am in the sunset... Off for some weekend camping tomorrow xox

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Radio interview - Bylgjan.is

I'm off to the country now.. Will be staying at a summer house for the rest of the week, and heading to the concerts from there.. A nice chance to relax (it's where the first two video-blogs were recorded..) But sadly.. probably no internet.. So more stuff will be up early next week..

I did an interview with Ívar Guðmundsson at Bylgjan yesterday morning, and you can listen to it online in two parts.. I played a request for him, a song by Bubbi Morthens.. Click here for all the info *** Here for the first part and first song *** and here for the second part and Ívar's request ;) There are photos up on Bylgjan.is too, here's one:

Also.. The concert this thursday in Oddakirkja is not in Þykkvabær like we thought, but in Rangárvellir.. They have concerts there regularly.. I'm very excited to see the building. And one more thing.. **Click here to read the interview in Morgunbladid 15/07/08*** (small version here below) xox

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More of Iceland

Hello again :) The tour is only six days away from starting now, and the posters are ready, (and of course the dates are all up in the live section here..) I've been all over Reykjavik for the past week, this morning was an interview at Létt Byjgjan which you can read about here.. and listen to here.. (in Icelandic)

The tour is also a Facebook event.. but here's a map of Iceland with little red stars where I'm playing.. and also the tour poster... (more video blogs coming soon..)

PS: if you are in Iceland.. the Live album is now available from Tónlist.is

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Iceland - Summertime

It's been one week and it's so lovely to be back. The things I had forgotten I was missing.. like the smell of Iceland summer.. and Blóðberg.. Which I've just discovered is Thymus Praecox - or Creeping thyme in english.. and the candy... nothing compares to Icelandic Kúlusúkk (chocolate coated liquorice bits) And you can actually order Icelandic candy and more online here at www.nammi.is 

I played last friday for Hemmi Gunn at Bylgjan (Icelandic Radio station) in Akranes, where there was a big market and carnival set up outside and it was 20 degrees, then went away for the weekend to a summer house in Hella where everything is green and beautiful.. Did a couple of short videos yesterday to show you around..

Here are some pics and videos full of goofyness.. my first video-blogs and highly embarrassing really.. xox

[youtube]http://youtu.be/XFfD0VhCrtU[/youtube]

[youtube]http://youtu.be/ee447zQ1KgU[/youtube]

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Glastonbury 1

Am writing this from Heathrow airport and will be boarding the plane to Iceland in less than an hour.. It's been a wonderful few days at the Glastonbury festival.. Amazing costumes! not too much rain.. and it was even sunny and warm today.. Sadly I'll be missing the last day there.. not much time to write now so here are some pictures.. Will post some video and write some more very soon.. xox in the meantime

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Travels

Hello everyone... I'm currently in Singapore, but my flight leaves in a few hours for London, then heading straight to the festival..

I'll be playing at the Astrolabe - on friday at 5.30pm. The one day I had to relax in Singapore was wonderful! Had the famous 'singapore sling' (see picture) and visited Chinatown, Little India, Mustapha and the Zoo (surprised to see they have polar bears there... and they're trained!) Will be posting pictures and video here after Glastonbury.. xox

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