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Music made for summer vibe

Published: 12 December 2023

Botanic Beats

Music maestros Lewis McCallum and Peter Urlich, headlining Botanic Beats on 25 January in Napier.

The former frontman of Th’ Dudes, Peter Urlich, and Synthony sax sensation Lewis McCallum headline Botanic Beats next month.

The Napier Botanical Gardens will be abuzz with the sounds of swing and jazz-infused crowd favourites from 6pm to 8pm on Thursday 25 January.

The annual, free, family-friendly event is a great opportunity to host some outstanding musical legends and Kiwi icons, says Kevin Murphy, Napier City Council’s Events Manager.

“Peter Urlich showcases a different part of his musical persona each time he performs in the Bay,” explains Kevin. “He’s got a real love for Napier and finds any excuse to come and visit, and share his extraordinary talents.”

It was Urlich’s DJ skills on show at Napier’s Nuit Blanche in October, as part of the Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival. Next April, he’ll be rocking as a member of The Magnificent 7, one of the support acts at the Harvest Moon concert headlined by Tom Jones, at McLean Park. For Botanic Beats he’ll go back to the influences of his formative years.

Urlich counts singing superstars Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Tony Bennett among his idols. Their songs form part of his childhood memories, he says.

“My mum loved this stuff, I grew up listening to it. I don’t think you have to be any particular age to appreciate the songwriting, and the lyrics, the really cool versions of hits from the great American song book, that people like Frank (Sinatra) did.

“We wear the suits and hark back to an era when it was cool to look cool, dress well, shine the shoes and be chic,” explains Urlich who, with Lewis McCallum, has an extensive repertoire of American jazz and traditional pop classics including staples Fever, Moondance, Blue Moon and Ain’t No Sunshine.

Kevin Murphy believes that what makes Botanic Beats magical is it gives people the chance to see talent for free in a relaxed atmosphere.

“The Botanical Gardens are a wonderful place for our community to come together and support known musicians and emerging talent,” says Kevin.

The concert also features the youthful talents of Project Prima Volta, a Hawke’s Bay music programme mentoring talented teenagers and helping them develop performance skills within a supportive environment.

Botanic Beats has plenty of space to set up for a picnic. It is advised to arrive early to find the best spots to see the stage. Food trucks will also be on site. Check Napier City Council’s Facebook page for more information closer to the time.

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