Flora Knight & Sean Donald

11 February 2018, CHB Municipal Theatre, Waipawa
By Mary Kippenberger

Take me in your car Flora, Sean, make it an old Dodge.  I’ll sit by the window, head out, eyes closed, smiling. Take me in your car, go the back way through those Virginian mountains down to Tennessee. Fill the old rusty Dodge with your searing harmonies; take me to the holler and tell me stories.

And they did.

Without warning or apology that fiddle soared, the guitar boomed, the audience sat up with involuntary glances at each other. Smiles all round. The engine roared into life and we were off.

Canadian Sean and Kiwi Flora: perhaps an unlikely mix for a foot-stomping mess of old time Americana music, but these two are the real deal. They haven’t learned mountain music from a book, or by watching clips on Youtube, they have sat at the feet of the old-timers and breathed their air.

I love both the joy and the heart-wrenching pathos of mountain music. The stories are harsh, lives are hard, survived through codes of loyalty and love – the music reflects both the poverty of the cupboard and the richness of the experience.

Flora and Sean showed extraordinary multi-instrument command and their perfect voices cut the air with just the right amount of twang. Their wry humour in the gaps between helped the concert melt on by.

One day I hope I find myself sitting discreetly, tucked in a porch corner, listening to these two jamming with friends. Imagine that. Or perhaps you shouldn’t imagine it, maybe just go to their concert. Yay for Arts on Tour, bringing artists of this calibre to small towns around New Zealand.

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