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Monday November 18, 2013

inbriefnews

‘Harmonica Hero’ wows audience By Nikki Papatsoumas A Wellington man who has been dubbed a ‘harmonica hero’ has made it into the semi-finals of New Zealand’s Got Talent. Kurt Mueller, who performs under the stage name KurtX, has been playing the harmonica since he was 12 years old. He is one of an original 4000 acts who auditioned for the show, which has now been whittled down to 30 semifinalists. The self-taught musician is originally from Switzerland, and has lived in Wellington for the past 17 years. He says he began playing the harmonica as a way to annoy his parents, his love for the instrument grew from there. “I used to play the accordion and the harmonica is like a little cousin. It’s handy to have your instrument and you can pull it out and play whenever you want. It’s so small and mobile.” Music took a backseat when Kurt met his wife Eileen, and they focused on starting a family and studying. When their two year old son tragically passed away 10 years ago, Kurt once again found music, this time as an outlet for his grief. “It was tough and music offered the perfect escape. I

could focus on my music and relax.” Kurt says he rediscovered his passion the harmonica, and over the last decade he has thrown himself back into it. He now has close to 150 harmonicas, and has even developed a way of making changes to the instrument to allow him to produce a different sound. By grinding the reed and weakening the base of the harmonica Kurt says he is able to play riffs like a guitar and produce a “unique sound.” “I get more potential and more out of them and more sound. It changes the whole scale to produce an unusual sound.” After watching last year’s show Kurt’s wife and four children encouraged him to enter, and he finally decided to take the plunge earlier this year. Kurt’s semi-final performance aired last night and viewers have until midnight tonight to cast their vote and see him through to the grand final. Kurt says he is slowly used to being on television, but nerves don’t tend to get the better of him when he performs. “I get excited before I perform. I come to life when I am on stage then I just forget about all the TV’s and it’s

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Out in the Square One of New Zealand’s top singersongwriters will be performing at Out in the Square during Wellington’s Anniversary Weekend next January. Anika Moa will be performing at the free community event, and co-chairman of the annual fair Greig Wilson says Anika is excited to help celebrate marriage equality at Out in the Square. “We have chosen the theme of marriage equality to mark the passing of the Marriage Amendment Bill earlier this year and also to give back to the Wellington community who has been so supportive throughout the campaign,” Greig says. Out in the Square, a free event will be held in Civic Square Wellington on January 18 2014. The annual fair for the queer community attracts over 10,000 visitors and has been running since 1986. It is a family-friendly event with over 60 stalls, great food and free entertainment.

Take the pledge

Kurt Mueller, or KurtX, performs on stage for New Zealand’s Got Talent.

just about the audience and the stage.” He says he hasn’t even thought about what he would do with the $100,000 prize money, and for now he just wants to take the exciting journey one step at a time. “Because I am inexperi-

enced with competing it is hard to tell how New Zealand will react to my harmonica playing. “It’s quite modern unusual music and it is impossible to tell is people are going to connect with it.”

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Last week marked the start of the 2013 White Ribbon Campaign to end men’s violence towards women. White Ribbon is an international movement that began after the murder of 14 women in Canada. Its focus is to change attitudes and behaviours around men’s violence towards women. This year, the campaign will focus on asking men to take The Pledge and encouraging them to build it into their daily lives. The Pledge asks men to never ‘commit, condone or remain silent’ about violence towards women. When men take The Pledge, they are provided with resources to help them take action and change attitudes and behaviours. The Pledge lets men know that thousands of New Zealanders have got their back, and support their decision to help make Aotearoa a violence-free country. The Pledge can be taken online at www.whiteribbon.org.nz

Simon “Swampy” Marsh Your Eastern Ward City Councillor

Feel free to contact me should you have any council related issues.

021 922 196 simon@swampymarsh.co.nz

Cook Strait News 18-11-13  
Cook Strait News 18-11-13  

Cook Strait News 18-11-13