The New Zealand Guild of Storytellers

I was at the Orewa Arts Centre on Friday November 25 and had the pleasure and privilege of witnessing a concert titled ‘Love Death And Geraniums’ by The Roaming Rhymester Keith Levy and The Dirt Road Orchestra from nearby Puhoi. Keith tells his original stories from the heart and they cover all of life’s emotions that matter. From love to sadness to social and political injustice. He accompanies himself with simple chords picked in minimalist style on his classical guitar and is backed too on selected stories by The Dirt Road Orchestra’s internationally acclaimed violin virtuoso Murray van Hoorn who’s sensitive fiddling adds another voice to Keith’s stories. Keith’s ‘He’s My Brother’ would stir the hardest heart and ‘He Lives In A Bus’ is not only his own story but also speaks of injustices in our own ‘free land’. Keith is Jewish and this comes across very clearly as does his Kiwiness but his stories are universal.. His unique rendition of ‘Suzanne’ really blew me away as he and The Dirt Road Orchestra honoured the late great Leonard Cohen. The Dirt Road Orchestra are five excellent musicians and sing with marvelous harmonies. Their lyrics written by Andy Hamilton and Matt Jones paint pictures of New Zealand life that most in the audience would identify with. Their performing with Keith is a very special, unique and refreshing experience. Having been a Folk Singer/Songwriter here on the New Zealand Folk Music for many years I’m in a position to applaud Keith and The Dirt Road Orchestra for breaking out of the mold of most local entertainers. They can stand proudly on the international stage.

Bob Lovell. New Zealander, Romany Singer, Songwriter and Performer.

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