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The New Blue - A Portrait of Pixie Williams

Blue Smoke Records

The New Blue is a unique festival performance showcasing the remarkable story and songbook of the first recording pop star in Aotearoa, Pixie Williams, and the music that influenced her.

In 1948, Pixie Williams gave voice to one of the most enduring popular melodies of the twentieth century - Blue Smoke.

No one could have foreseen that the move of this shy young country girl from her beloved Mōhaka to the YWCA Hostel in Oriental Bay, Wellington, would set her on the path to sing on the first all-New Zealand-made recording. 

Written in wartime by Ruru Karaitiana, a member of the 28th Maori Battalion aboard the troopship Aquitania days after leaving Pipitea Wharf in 1940, Blue Smoke was a triple platinum hit, making Pixie a household name overnight. It was a hit overseas too, with covers by a host of international stars including 'The King of Cool' Dean Martin.

Kickstarting New Zealand's recording industry from a specially renovated studio in Wakefield Street, Blue Smoke was just the beginning for Pixie as she became a highly sought after vocalist, going on to record a second number one hit by Ruru Karaitiana called 'Let's talk it Over' selling 20,000+ records. 

Recording a total of 13 songs over two years, mixing universal themes and international music styles with the unmistakeable flavour of Aotearoa through 1949 - 1951, The New Blue has its roots in Wellington.

Hear from special guest, and Pixie's cousin, Sir Ian Taylor as he opens the show and paints a picture of Aotearoa's first popstar.

Join musical director James Illingworth and an all-star cast of musicians and vocalists including Rachel Fraser, Kirsten Te Rito and Lisa Tomlins as they bring Pixie's music to life with interpretations of her most loved recordings and the songs that shaped a generation, including Wellington’s very own ballad ”Windy City”.

Music Spoken Word/Storytelling No Restrictions


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