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'Give It A Whirl' NZ Music Series Retrospective - AudioCulture and NZ On Screen

'Give It A Whirl' NZ Music Series Retrospective - AudioCulture and NZ On Screen

Chris Cudby / Wednesday 27th April, 2022 11:44AM

AudioCulture and New Zealand On Screen have cracked open a treasure trove of first-hand Aotearoa music knowledge, making available the landmark 2003 music documentary series Give It A Whirl — "New Zealand Rock’n’Roll Stories" — plus many hours worth of extensive bonus interview footage and the Give It a Girl radio series. Launched online just ahead of Te Marama Puoro o Aotearoa NZ Music Month 2022, Nick Bollinger has written a fabulously informative piece on the six part series (now a time capsule in itself) over on the AudioCulture site, which featured on camera interviews with such now-departed greats as Johnny Cooper, Max Merritt and Ray Columbus.

Each episode of Give It A Whirl tackled a different aspect of Aotearoa rock 'n' roll (and adjacent) history up until the early 2000s, covering such themes as The Swinging Sixties, Anarchy in the Air (origins of NZ punk / new wave / Flying Nun), Finding Our Own Voice (new Pacific identities in Aotearoa music), Land of Plenty (homegrown hip hop, NZ success in the '90s) and more.

To read Bollinger's full lowdown and to watch each episode, head over to the AudioCulture site HERE.

To view the The Give It a Whirl Collection, head along to the NZ On Screen site HERE, with more content to be unveiled in May.

On top of this historic resource, New Zealand On Screen have made available video interviews originally filmed for Give It A Whirl series, some more than an hour in duration. These feature in-depth conversions with Alan Jansson, Allison Durbin, Chris Knox, Dalvanius Prime, Dilworth Karaka (Herbs), Dinah Lee, DLT, Hello Sailor, Johnny Cooper, Johnny Devlin, Peter Dawkins and Shona Laingwatch HERE.

Created by Give It A Whirl participant Debbie Harwood (inducted into the 2021 NZ Music Hall of Fame) in response to the exclusion of "dozens of female artists, some of whom wrote huge radio hits and sold 1000s of albums," Give It a Girl was a 17 short form episode radio series originally broadcast on Classic Hits in 2007. Showcasing a diverse group of wāhine toa musical talent, you can listen to Give It a Girl over on the NZ On Screen site HERE.

“Popular music is entwined in our social history. It reflects Aotearoa’s diversity and who we are as a nation – and it is important that we can look back at what has shaped us. Give it a Whirl has stood the test of time and deserves to be accessible to the New Zealand public that funded its production. Securing funding and undertaking the necessary clearances to enable this to happen has been an arduous – but ultimately rewarding – journey.” - Kathryn Quirk, Content Director for NZ On Screen

Celebrating the online rebirth of Give It A Whirl, AudioCulture partnered with the NZ Music Commission to conjure up a new bespoke Give It A Whirl t-shirt for NZ Music Month, designed by Lily Paris West (Mermaidens). Going on sale in May through JB Hi Fi and select independent music stores, proceeds of t-shirt sales will be donated to music charity Music Helps — orders are available HERE.

“I was thinking of the paths forged by the musicians of our past, and the continuing impact their work has on the artists of today. I used elements from nature to tell the story — a river coming from the valley of a mountain, which speaks to a long winding history, a journey, and young ferns along the riverside represent ‘whirls’ of energetic new growth.” - Lily Paris West

Delve into Chris Knox's full hour and a half 2003 Give It a Whirl interview...


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