DIARY - 27 MAY 2012 - CAMILLLE TE NAHU & STUIE FRENCH
DREAMS FROM SAMOA
and tanned they don't get no sweeter/ that picture on the wall tells it
all/ Pretty Katalina/ man you should've seen her/ a lavalava and her lei
Ukelele she would play/ she had em' beating down the door/ our fafine
from Samoa." - Pretty Katalina - Camille Te Nahu-Stuie French.
be no surprise Camille Te Nahu and singing spouse Stuie French induce
idyllic bliss on their second CD Big Days & Little Years.
They both fled islands of different sizes to follow their art.
Polynesian Camille hails from Gisborne on the east coast of the North
Island of New Zealand and Stuie from Wynyard on the north west coast of
Van Diemen's Land.
Gisborne is on the cliffs of Poverty Bay - first land seen by Captain
James Cook when he guided the Endeavour to shelter on October 6, 1769.
Camille, who arrived in Australia in 1999, may not have been there for
that momentous occasion.
But she dips her pen into more recent history in the duo's song Pretty
Katalina about her grandmother whose ancestors may have waved to the
good captain when he passed by Samoa.
It's unlikely French's forebears reached Wynyard until a few centuries
But the windswept town did produce former Geelong footy star Scatcher
It was also home to Warrnambool born country and rock icon and latter
day Anakie luthier Dan Robinson of Wild Cherries and Hit & Run fame
in his era as a cultural ambassador for the state.
I can vouch for the wind after a stint in 1968 playing for Burnie against
Wynyard while running the Burnie bureau of the Launceston Examiner.
Maybe I digress.
STILL BRINGS JOY
Joy/ you looked like a beauty queen/ those ol pictures I've seen
You sure were pretty in your day/ I saw you at the flower shows/ bringing
the prizes home/ and you had six kids along the way." - Beverley
Joy - Camille Te Nahu-Stuie French.
and Camille wrote Beverley Joy about his family matriarch and
mother of six.
Although Camille never met the song's subject she has plenty of visual
memories in the duo's video clip includes homegrown footage in the
French family home.
We'll share that Duncan Tombs directed clip with you during our 18th
series that begins on Wednesday June 6 on C 31.
"Beverley Joy was the first song we ever wrote together
back in 2007," French recalled.
never got to meet Mum as she passed away before we met."
French captured plenty of video footage of his Mum back in the eighties
in their family home.
in this song, we're having a conversation with her and saying what a good
job she did of raising six kids," French revealed.
The duo recorded its album, with French's production tutelage at Rancom
St studio in Botany in June last year.
Session serfs include fiddle Mick Albeck, pianist Bill Risby, bassist
Dave Ellis, drummer Doug Gallagher and Garry Steel on piano accordion.
The duo wrote 10 of the 12 songs that permeate South seas flavour with
a little help from Chuck Morgan on ukulele and executive producer Michel
Rose on pedal steel.
They do a cover of Texan troubadour Sam Baker's Waves.
And they resurrect The First Time - penned by Fred Koller who wrote
Pinkard & Bowden parody Guns Made America Great - and recent
Aussie tourist Danny O'Keefe.
Camille enjoyed a dose of Texas culture when she performed on Austin City
Limits with Kasey Chambers and also toured the U.S. with famed Feral Swing
And she cut a self-titled indie solo album in 2002 after touring with
Gina Jeffreys and Rick Price.
She also performed on Kasey ARIA chart topping hit Not Pretty Enough
and sang backing vocals for multi-award winning artists, Troy Cassar-Daley,
Beccy Cole and Sara Storer.
Camille graduated to cutting her debut duet disc with French - Not
That included a powerful version of Texan Eliza Gilkyson tune Walk
Away From Love and Love You Like The Earth by another expat
Van Diemen's Land export mentor Audrey Auld Mezera.
French, who supported Merle Haggard on his 1996 Australian tour with Troy
Cassar-Daley, wrote Ode To Roy and Chet as tribute to Haggard's
late guitarist Roy Nicholls who died @ 68 in 2001, and Chet Atkins.
a drooling puppy he follows me round/ if the nappy needs changing he can't
be found/ he never puts the toilet seat down/ but he's learning/ she drives
the car like it's a rocket/ whatever she needs Ebay will stock it/ And
money burns a hole in her pocket/ but she's learning." - Learning
- Camille Te Nahu-Stuie French.
history - how about the next generation?
Well, they named their son Chet after the late legend Atkins.
And, on this disc they wrote several songs including first single Things
Change about the challenges facing Chet and other children.
"It feels like yesterday when we had our first son Chet, and now
he's seven years old," they reveal.
"This song is a reminder to make the most of every day with your
loved ones because life can change so quickly."
They reached back a little further for Little Years.
"It was the night before Chet's fourth birthday and we were reflecting
on what a great year we'd had with him and how much we were enjoying this
time in our lives," Camille said.
"Stuie, being the sentimentalist jotted down these words, and two
years later we wrote the bridge to finish the song. Every day the words
in this song become truer. We might get a Kleenex tissues endorsement
out of this one!"
But it was a pre-marriage think tank that inspired Learning.
"It's a tongue in cheek standard hillbilly issue - a fun look at
the trials and tribulations of a relationship, and this time it's ours,"
"The idea of the song came after a pre-marriage counseling session.
In that session we had to find three things that we did not like about
each other. The results were quite amusing, and that night we wrote this
song. Thank you Minister!"
FOR ALL MONEY
Daddy's gone, gone for all money/ Cos' that little baby girl she's sweeter
than honey/ from her big brown eyes down to her little boots/ She's not
quite one but she's ruling the roost/ I wonder if our baby thinks it's
funny/ her Daddy's gone, gone for all money." - Gone For All Money
- Camille Te Nahu-Stuie French.
changes gears from South Pacific to western swing for Gone For
It's a reflection of his era with the Feral Swing Katz when he started
his own studio Swingin' Doors.
A phase where he co-produced Felicity's swing driven New Shadow disc
and Camille's 12 track self-titled disc.
boys and then a baby girl - say no more," Camille says of the gender
balance in their family.
"Daddy got his little wish and our daughter has him right where she
Such parental bliss also fuelled the lullaby New Day but not Choices
- a vastly different theme to the Billy Yates song that became a big
hit for ailing Texan legend George Jones.
"A friend's son tried to take his own life and it really hit home
for us," they both reveal.
"Who knows, one day we could be in the same situation. So now is
the time to help your children build the strength and confidence to tackle
this big world."
Time and money constraints and radio hostile wasteland in this carbon
tax challenged era means few chances for the couple to perform as a duo
south of the Murray Dixon Line.
But they have made an exception when they showcase their album at the
Wesley Anne hall on Beer Can Hill in Northcote on June 8, Caravan Club
Oakleigh June 9 and Harvester Moon Cafe at Bellarine next to Bellarine
Estate south of Geelong on June 10.
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