Marion Arts and Robbie Laven have busy musical lives but they rarely perform together any more.
All that is about to change when the duo reunite to play with Kokomo at the 16th Ave Theatre on Friday, October 13.
Back in the 70s Marion and Robbie fronted one of New Zealand's ground-breaking bands, Red Hot Peppers. With Peppers they toured New Zealand and Australia and recorded albums and film soundtracks for RCA and EMI. Nick Bollinger's new book about the New Zealand music scene has a vivid description of Peppers supporting Dragon at the Wellington Town Hall.
After the band split up the duo continued to play together for the following years, featuring at festivals and concerts throughout Europe.
Decades later the pair are still active musically, Marion writing and recording a diverse series of albums, everything from folk music and classical guitar CDs to ukulele songs. As a songwriter she tackles subjects as varied as a concept album based on The Lord of The Rings to songs about her cat.
Meanwhile, Robbie is constantly making music, playing jazz, country, blues and pretty much anything else. He is one of the country's most respected multi-instrumentalists, playing everything from guitar, fiddle, mandolin, harmonica and washboard, though to flute, saxophone and much more. He currently plays with the Bay City Ramblers and has been a frequent live guest with Kokomo in recent years.
That's what led to this musical reunion. At a party with the band Marion and Robbie played a few songs and admitted it was years since they'd actually performed together. With an upcoming show at the 16th Ave Theatre the band immediately enlisted them to both play an opening set and to guest with Kokomo later in the night.
For Marion, working in this theatre is especially poignant and takes her back to childhood days: “My mother, Lola Arts, produced quite a few plays there in her day,” she says. “I used to hang out for hours backstage amongst the scenery, breathing in the atmosphere of the theatre. It's a lovely venue and we're going to make this a night to remember.”
Tickets for Kokomo & Friends, 8pm on October 13 at 16th Ave Theatre are $22.50, available from www.eventfinda.co.nz.
The Weekend Sun has one double pass to the concert for one lucky reader.