Rock, funk, and family - Regional News | Connecting Wellington
Kora | Issue 215


Jim Beam Homegrown | Issue 215

Jim Beam Homegrown
Photo by Nichole June Productions

Rock, funk, and family by Madelaine Empson

Kiwi music’s biggest party just got bigger. Jim Beam Homegrown will light up the Wellington Waterfront on Saturday the 16th of March, with five stages filled wall-to-wall with the legendary likes of L.A.B, Katchafire, Stan Walker, Blindspott, Alien Weaponry, Devilskin, Bic Runga, Ladi6, and more.

Headlining The Park Stage at 10pm is Kora – Francis Kora (vocals, keys), Stuart Kora (guitar, vocals, keys), Dan McGruer (sampler, keys), Richie Allan (guitars), Darren Mathiassen (drums), Marika Hodgson (bass), and Karlos Tunks (guitar, vocals). Originally hailing from Whakatāne, the band’s seeds were sown in the early 1990s, when four brothers from the Kora family began playing together under the name Aunty Beatrice. Going on to win the National Smokefree Rockquest and the East Coast regional Battle of the Bands for three years running, Kora’s name and line-up shifted over the years, but they remained rooted in rock, funk, and family – both the blood and the chosen kind.

The band released their debut eponymous LP in 2007, which peaked at number one on the New Zealand charts, remained in the Top 40 for a year, and went double-platinum. They’ve since cemented their place as one of the nation’s finest live music acts – and one you just can’t miss this Homegrown. I was able to have a quick chat with Kora on the day their brand-new single Fallin for You – which heralds a new EP on the horizon – came out.

Congratulations on the new track. How are you feeling about today’s release and what would you say Fallin for You is about?

Fallin for You is a song that explores the impact another person can have on our lives, and as much as this person can help break down the walls that people can have to protect themselves, there is always a secret that they will never let go of.

Sonically, how are those themes reflected?

We’re known for our heavy rock/funk sound, so in regards to the sonics, we just went back to the roots of our sound. It’s gotta be heavy, funky, and soulful.

What are you most looking forward to about performing at Homegrown?

Homegrown is definitely the highlight for a lot of bands, as it signals the coming end to the summer shows. It’s also the place where we get to catch up with friends from other bands and celebrate great waiata from Aotearoa. 

What can audiences expect in terms of the setlist and the atmosphere?

High energy from a heavy-hitting band in an atmosphere that has always been a great vibe!

Whether you’re onstage or just enjoying those vibes, what’s your favourite part of the festival?

Watching and catching up with friends that play in other bands. But it is also awesome to go from stage to stage. Each stage has a completely different vibe/genre, so you really get a ‘best of’ selection of Aotearoa music.

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« Issue 215, March 12, 2024