Herbs to light up Gisborne

EARLY DAYS: The cover of Herbs’ album Sensitive to a Smile, which was released in 1987. The single of the same name went to No 9 in the New Zealand charts. A video for the single was shot in Ruatoria, by future Once Were Warriors director Lee Tamahori. A documentary about Herbs is due to be released on August 15. Picture supplied
WARMER DAYS: Che Fu greets the crowd at the Pasifika Fusion Festival at Hihiaua Peninsula, Whangarei, in 2017. He will be saying hello to Gisborne at the Dome next week. Northern Advocate file picture by John Stone

The standard for Pacific reggae is widely regarded to have been set by New Zealand band Herbs who will be joined by hip-hop, R&B and reggae artist Che Fu at the Dome next week.

Herbs might have pioneered the Pacific reggae sound but after their performance at the 2012 Sweetwaters music festival Herbs’ band members spent a long night convincing reggae legend Toots Hibbert of the validity of Pacific reggae, reported New Zealand Herald journalist Alan Perrott in the same year.

“He eventually grudgingly accepted their version of the Jamaican form as authentic.”

Polynesian Panthers co-founder Will ‘Ilolahia was Herbs’ manager in the early days, and their music often carried a political message. The aerial photo on the cover of Herbs’ recording debut depicted the police eviction of Bastion Point protestors in 1978 and their stance on nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific was clear in their 1982 hit French Letter. They still managed to mix burning big issues with feel-good rhythms though.

Che Fu (formerly Che Ness) shares roots with the band. His father Tigi Ness was among the Polynesian Panthers’ Ponsonby and Grey Lynn-based activists. Tigi Ness was also in Auckland’s other reggae band, Unity.

Young Che called the Herbs musicians uncles. When Herbs visited his dad, the kids were sent outside to play while Tigi Ness and the Herbs musicians sat in the kitchen “and this funny-smelling smoke came wafting out the window”, says Peter McLennan in music mag Audioculture.

A documentary called Herbs — Songs of Freedom, by director Tearepa Kahi (Poi E: The Story of Our Song, Mt Zion) will be released on August 15, five days after the band’s show with Che Fu at the Dome.

Considered a pioneer of hip-hop and Pasifika music in New Zealand, Che Fu was a founding member of the band Supergroove.

As a solo artist his 1998 debut album 2b S.Pacific went double platinum and produced four top 10 hits.

  • Herbs acoustic and Che Fu perform at the Dome on Saturday August 10. Presale tickets $25 from the Dome, Rewa Pohatu at Bar 59 or from ticketspace, door sales $30.

The standard for Pacific reggae is widely regarded to have been set by New Zealand band Herbs who will be joined by hip-hop, R&B and reggae artist Che Fu at the Dome next week.

Herbs might have pioneered the Pacific reggae sound but after their performance at the 2012 Sweetwaters music festival Herbs’ band members spent a long night convincing reggae legend Toots Hibbert of the validity of Pacific reggae, reported New Zealand Herald journalist Alan Perrott in the same year.

“He eventually grudgingly accepted their version of the Jamaican form as authentic.”

Polynesian Panthers co-founder Will ‘Ilolahia was Herbs’ manager in the early days, and their music often carried a political message. The aerial photo on the cover of Herbs’ recording debut depicted the police eviction of Bastion Point protestors in 1978 and their stance on nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific was clear in their 1982 hit French Letter. They still managed to mix burning big issues with feel-good rhythms though.

Che Fu (formerly Che Ness) shares roots with the band. His father Tigi Ness was among the Polynesian Panthers’ Ponsonby and Grey Lynn-based activists. Tigi Ness was also in Auckland’s other reggae band, Unity.

Young Che called the Herbs musicians uncles. When Herbs visited his dad, the kids were sent outside to play while Tigi Ness and the Herbs musicians sat in the kitchen “and this funny-smelling smoke came wafting out the window”, says Peter McLennan in music mag Audioculture.

A documentary called Herbs — Songs of Freedom, by director Tearepa Kahi (Poi E: The Story of Our Song, Mt Zion) will be released on August 15, five days after the band’s show with Che Fu at the Dome.

Considered a pioneer of hip-hop and Pasifika music in New Zealand, Che Fu was a founding member of the band Supergroove.

As a solo artist his 1998 debut album 2b S.Pacific went double platinum and produced four top 10 hits.

  • Herbs acoustic and Che Fu perform at the Dome on Saturday August 10. Presale tickets $25 from the Dome, Rewa Pohatu at Bar 59 or from ticketspace, door sales $30.
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