The Aotearoa Experience

By February 20, 2011 7,926 Comments

After holidaying in Bali for a couple of weeks we come to the land of the Long White Cloud, Aotearoa or New Zealand. New Zealand is our second home in a way. Miguel spent some of his youth here and since the first time I came here, I’ve loved the vibe of the place and the feeling I get – it feels like home away from home.
New Zealand has a very serious music scene. Julien Dyne, Isaac Aesili, Ladi6, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Benny Tones, Electric Wire Hustle not to mention the list of up and coming producers and bands, there is a high quality of music here. As always we are joined for the Kiwi gigs by local celebrity and unofficial ambassador of Latin music and culture, Bobbito Brazuka, aka Robertinho Mukai. Working at Conch Records, an Auckland institution, a hub for musicians and first stop for any visiting DJs, he also holds down his residency at Ponsonby Social Club (my favourite Auckland bar) as well as playing in many more. Look out for his new project “Latin Aoteroa” with Bobbito on decks, Isaac Aesili on percussion and horns and MCed by the beautiful Jennifer Zea.

A fun crowd at the PSC with Bobbi Brazuka and Kengo san on the decks!


Although I ended up doing some side shows, the main Cuban gigs were at San Francisco Bath House in Wellington and Splore City in Auckland. Run by John Minty, the Splore Festival takes place every other year on a great little beach in a National Park. On the “off” years John has put on something a little smaller in the city and here is where we find ourselves!

Taking place in Auckland City Hall, the Friday night was headlined by Kelis. Saturday saw Mayer Hawthorne (great show!! The boy can sing!), Belleruche and us lot! Another great vibe and fun times. It’s great to be back!


Kelis giving it on Friday with DJ NikkiBeats, followed by Shortee Blitz and J-Star too. UK represent!



Mayer Hawthorne and County covering Doobie Brothers’ “What a Fool Believes”. Girls are literally fainting!