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Bic Runga


Country of origin:

New Zealand

Type of music generally:

Folk-influenced pop

Status:

Most recent release, Close Your Eyes (2016)

See also:

Bic Runga's site

Wikipedia's entry on Bic Runga

Comparisons:

Aimee Mann and Dido are frequently cited as similar artists; Sarah McLachlan and Natalie Merchant may be closer

Covers/own material:

Own

General comments:

I too absolutely adore Bic. Any track on her albums which aren't immediately appealing (a la "Sway") are definitely growers! (emma.wrigley@lycos.co.uk)

Last friday i got the chance to attend a listening party for Bic Runga...she played 3 songs and talked with everyone in attendance...but anyways...i've really enjoyed her cd Drive...i can't quite place what she sounds like...it's instantly likeable pop, maybe a cross between Frente and Natalie Imbruglia (which is kinda weird since Bic's from New Zealand)...Bic has an amazing voice...absolutely beautiful... (Paul2k@aol.com)

Bic's a New Zealander (I'm not sure of her ancestry) who's had the unusual benefit of getting lots of support from a big label (Sony in this case) which means she's extremely well known over here. I hadn't realised they were continuing to push her in the overseas market, but I guess it makes sense. (ectophil@netlink.co.nz)

Comments about live performance:

i just wanted to say that bic certainly is wonderful...i've had her cd since last year, and had the chance to see her live when she supported neil finn on his recent australian tour—what a show it was! bic really put on a marvelous show—just great; you could tell she won the respect of many audience members who had, until then, not even heard of her. i'd go see her again in a second if she ever heads back this way... (maier@joynet.com.au)

She's from New Zealand and was a little bit difficult to understand when she talks, but her voice was so pretty and tiny. At first I kept thinking she reminded me of Poe, but I've figured out that it's Stina Nordenstam that Bic sounds like. (Riphug@aol.com)

Bic was in fine form tonight. She performed for around one hour, doing two songs from her first album Drive ("drive" and "sway") a couple covers (i think. one was Neil Young's "winterlong") and a gaggle of tunes from the new album Beautiful Collision. She had two aussies named Ben accompanying her on bass and on guitar/harmonica while she played guitars (acoustic and electric), piano, and harmonica. She also had a drummer from a local group called Minibar backing her up. (10/02, Paul2k@aol.com)

This evening I attended a sold out (~800 people) concert by Bic at the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity here in Auckland. (And bought a signed bundle of her other two cds.)
     Wow.
     I mean, she's no Happy, but there's not a rough edge to her voice. It just flows its mellowly perfect way—she complained about this; she wants to be in a rock and roll band and smash things and stuff :)—taking you along for the ride before you can notice.
     A tiny girl standing on stage, looking at the world with those big eyes, wondering who all these crazy people are out there and what they're doing here. Just doing her own thing, unpresuming, not too certain what to do next...and then yanking some utterly beautiful sounds from...well, somewhere obviously. The acoustics in the church were great. I didn't know whether to close my eyes to better feel it all surrounding me, or to keep my eyes fixed at Bic lest this miracle disappear. (4/04, Sander)

Recommended first album:

Drive

Recordings:


Drive

Release info:

1997—Columbia Records—CK 68927

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Bic Runga—vocals, guitars, xylophone, mellotron, drums, backing vocals

Guest artists:

Gary Verberne—guitars (2, 11)
Aaron McDonald—bass (2-11)
Kate Walshe—violin (2, 4, 7)
Sally-Anne Brown—cello (2, 7)
Andrew Thorne—guitars (2-11), backing vocals (6, 7, 11)
Wayne Bell—drums (2-6, 9-11), percussion
Duncan Haynes—string arrangement (2, 4, 7), Rhodes (10)
Nick Seymour—additional arrangement (2, 7, 11)
Niall Macken—additional arrangement (2, 7, 11)
Sarah Yates—strings (4)
Karl Steven—additional arrangement (4)
Boh Runga—backing vocals (5, 6, 8, 10)
Malcolm Smith—keyboards (5, 9), additional samples (9)
Matt Wallace—guitar, backing vocals (6), percussion (7)
Peter Asher—backing vocals (6)
Josh Freese—drums (7)
Davey Fargher—bass (7)
Jay Foulkes—percussion (8)
Paul Casserly—samples (9, 10)

Produced by:

Bic Runga

Comments:

Nice pop music with enough of an edge to keep me interested. I don't like the whole of this album that much, but have definitely found it worth listening to, if overshadowed by other releases this year. (Neile)

I've been constantly playing Bic Runga's new CD, Drive, which is really really excellent. (tim@palare.demon.co.uk)

I bought this about two years ago solely on the recommendation of a New Zealander colleague. I love it, love it, love it. It's one of those albums where all the songs have a common cohesiveness, yet each work stands out alone. Although they do not sound alike, this albums reminds me in effort and effect to Sarah McLachlan's Fumbling towards ecstasy. Great music, great voice, great performances. (bill@wagill.com)

Absolutely with you there—similarly, a NZ workmate lent me a copy, and I was deeply intrigued. Shortly after that, at a nearby street market, I found a copy (albeit with a different cover) going for a fiver, and swooped on it. I was later told by another NZ workmate (the place was full of them) that what I had gotten was an original NZ release, that had somehow found its way to a market stall in South London. Anyway, it's definitely ecto, and highly recommended to everyone out there. (adamk@zoom.co.uk)

Very nice offering from a talented lady. (stjarnell@yahoo.com)

About half her songs are little jewels of perfection, often very catchy as well; the others don't seem to flow very well, but I might yet grow to appreciate them. (Sander)

If my memory serves me right—I can't find the interview, so I might have it slightly wrong—she ended up producing her debut album (or several of the songs, at least) herself after being unhappy with the attempts of various people Sony assigned to the task, so I'm guessing that she has a reasonably nice deal.
     Anyway, the album is called Drive, and it's good! Not necessarily a 'must own' sort of album, but definitely worth listening to. I mentioned it on Ecto quite a while ago, but as I can never put together a decent sentence to describe music, I didn't really say much about it. There was a five-track EP released first which was very acoustic; mainly just Bic and her guitar. The album has more variety in the instrumentation with strings, drums, bass, keyboards, as well as a few samples (don't worry—not all the songs have all of this :) but it's all fairly low-key and quiet stuff for the most part. (ectophil@netlink.co.nz)


Beautiful Collision

Release info:

2002—Sony Records—86731

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Bic Runga—vocals, acoustic guitar, dobro, guitar, harmonica, piano, drums, electric guitar, Wurlitzer, 12 string electric guitar, drum samples, string arrangements

Guest artists:

Dave Dobbyn—acoustic guitar, electric guitar
Sebastian Steinberg—bass, guitar, double bass
Alan Gregg—bass, electric bass
Danny Blume—guitar
Neil Finn—piano, vocals, Wurlitzer
Joey Waronker—drums
Geoffrey Maddock—electric guitar, 12 string acoustic guitar
Tim Arnold—vocals, 12 string acoustic guitar
Ben King—vocals
Harry Harrison—slide guitar
Darryl Ward—hi hat
John Hodgson—acoustic guitar
Steve Buchanan—clarinet
Alexander Morton—keyboards, sampling, synthesizer bass, drum programming
Jay Foulkes—percussion
Duncan Haynes—string arrangements

Produced by:

Bic Runga

Comments:

Best Reason to Like New Zealand: Bic Runga and her fabulous album Beautiful Collision. Again, it was produced by Bic and again it's full of pure, delicate, and strong pop songs. (Paul2k@aol.com)

One of my very favorite artists, Bic Runga, had a new release last year. But, after having become infatuated with her prior work, the latest release left me hanging, wanting for more, short of the big O. Bic's Drive blows away the much mellower Beautiful Collision. (bill@wagill.com)

Icky, twee, gooey. Like stuffing marshmallow into my ears. (adamk@zoom.co.uk)


Live in Concert with the Christchurch Symphony

Release info:

2004—Columbia Records—6753092

Availability:

Limited

Ecto priority:

Recommended for fans

Comments:

My cousin picked up the live Bic Runga with the Christchurch Symphony album that's only available [in New Zealand] for me. It gets a bit schmaltzy with the big orchestral arrangements (sorta '70s bacharachian), but it's still good and she does some songs that you can't find on her albums. (Paul2k@aol.com)

Further info:

Bic Runga's songs appear on the Lilith Fair Volume 2 compilation and the soundtracks to Desert Blue, American Pie, and Channelling Baby. She recorded Together In Concert: Live with Tim Finn and Dave Dobbyn.


Thanks to JoAnn Whetsell for work on this entry.

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DISCLAIMER: Comments and reviews in the Ectophiles' Guide are excerpted from the ecto mailing list or volunteered by members of the list. They are the opinions of music enthusiasts, not professional music critics.

Entry last updated 2017-02-10 22:13:04.
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