Stations, by Derek Lind (New Zealand)

In 1994, an editor let me review this album for his Christian magazine “Reality”. I hustled him to review The Winans “All Out” but I did not succeed. He really wanted someone to review Derek Lind’s Stations album, so gave me the job. I was not that enthusiastic to do it. However, I pretty much liked Lind’s previous album Slippery Ground so had a connection. Lind is known in Christian circles for his unapologetic content.

Reviewed by Peter Veugelaers. 1994.

When leading New Zealand ‘underground’ artist Derek Lind performed at last January’s Parachute Music Festival he gave us a taste of his not-yet released new album. That Saturday night at the festival the atmosphere was electric, charge with anticipation—an atmosphere reflected in this album, which bubbles with poetic honesty.

As with his previous releases, Stations has a distinctly New Zealand flavour. Here that flavour comes through most strongly in “My Grandfather,” Derek’s engaging recollection of his personal heritage, marvellously captured, while “Ukulele” also embraces his Rarotongan wife Ra’s family heritage.

Yet Lind’s vision is international too. His travels with Tear Fund around parts of Asia have resulted in a number of powerful, poignant songs throughout the years.

Most of this continent’s inhabitants live with violence, oppression and poverty, making Derek’s lifestyle, as he says on the album jacket, seem “petty” and very comfortable. This is indicated in the beautiful song “Nothing Looks The Same,” written in Manila: “I get to fly away/You get to stay”—a powerful reminder of our privileged global position which digs deep at the soul. What could I do in their situation? Can I help them?

The song “Lightening Strike” adopts another familiar Lind line: the angry, voice-in-the-wilderness prophetic denunciation of the American Christian music industry, of people living double lives. Yet this voice is heard less often on “Stations”, which opts by and large for a quieter, more intimate atmosphere, more akin to the song “Picture” on his Slippery Ground album.

In “Ukulele” Derek sings, “This was going to be a picture, but it turned into a song.” Derek Lind, once an art teacher himself, paints a number of deftly sketched, sharply realized pictures on this album, portraying real life situations in a thoughtful, stimulating and challenging way.

A very accessible album with warmth, backbone and integrity.

Reviewed for Reality magazine.

Grass is greener

I wonder what Harry and Meghan would have found if they had considered living in New Zealand twenty years ago?

Kiwi spirit is what pastor and baritone Rodney Macann talked about in my interview with him in 2000. Rodney Macann was, in 2000, leader of the ministry team Wellington Central Baptist. Later, he was the NZ Baptist national leader. As well, he was singing throughout New Zealand and Australia with the major Opera and concert organizations like the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the NBR Opera NZ.

Interviewer: What do you think is the mood of the New Zealand public, considering the economic downfall, distrust of the government, the ‘brain drain’ (New Zealanders heading overseas to live and work), and our Olympians not performing up to expectations.

Rodney: I think the public mood changes hugely and very, very quickly. For example, if we think about sport for the moment, people are a bit downhearted that we didn’t do so well. But my view of it is, is that we are a tiny country with very limited resources.

We’re naturally quite physically strong.

Interviewer: What do you mean physically strong?

Rodney: I think we grow up in a country that provides a very, very healthy environment. That could be changing because our figures are most probably skewed a wee bit by people who are getting overweight on junk food and this sort of thing. Kiwis, for the best part of the last century, have most probably healthier food and living conditions than most other parts of the world and this is shown in the physique of the average Kiwi, I think.

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