Toru re-ignites the glowing embers of a 25 year musical association between Denny Stanway, James Wilkinson and Davy Stuart from Rua, the legendary Christchurch Celtic band formed by Denny's husband, the late Jimmy Young.
The name? In Maori it means ‘three’, in Japanese ‘the sea’. It seemed a logical progression from Rua (two), and the days when Rua built up a significant fan base,performing at major music festivals both here and overseas, recording multiple albums to critical acclaim (winner of two New Zealand Music Awards) and touring several times with AOTNZ.
Rua called it a day several years ago, but the music won out and now they’re back again with Crossing Borders, singing songs of love, landscape, loss, heritage, friendship and connection. Denny: “Crossing Borders as a concept came about through physical relocation after the Christchurch earthquakes, dealing with the stress and anxiety of long-term earthquake issues,and the death of a partner.”
Crossing Borders also reflects their varied ancestry. Davy is a transplanted Scot, James has German heritage and Denny is European Maori - despite what her blue eyes and blonde colouring might suggest, her maternal grandmother was born near Kopu. “We are Ngati Maru au Hauraki.”
Most importantly, Crossing Borders reflects the music that moves these musicians. “From original NZ songs to old Celtic ballads, we cross genres with rhythms from the Irish drum, the Bodhran and vocal arrangements featuring all of the band.”
Australian virtuoso violinist Lindsay Martin is a member of Toru when available and is currently working from his studio in Woonona, NSW to add fiddle to Toru’s latest CD. He too will ‘cross borders’ to add violin and mandolin to the mix.
Denny Stanway: - “...the consummate singer”; “...a voice you won’t forget”; “...a true diva of song” - vocalist for the groundbreaking early 80’s Auckland based group Acoustic Confusion, supporting act to Don McLean, performer at numerous NZ arts festivals, folk festivals and WOMAD ….has recorded with Shona Laing and Mahinarangi Tocker.
James Wilkinson: - virtuoso guitarist, fretless bassist, singer/songwriter, composer - his music straddles multiple genres such as Celtic, folk, blues and rock, often with a nod to the quirky and avant garde - a modern day troubadour.
Davy Stuart: - skilled guitar and bouzouki player, noted for his Chamber Music and AOTNZ tours with harpist, Helen Webby. Internationally renowned luthier – on this tour, all four musicians will play instruments made by Davy.
Lindsay Martin: - began learning the classical violin at the age of seven, plays an 1890’s French violin, a Davy Stuart mandolin and Martin D28 guitar. He is highly regarded on the Australian folk scene, one of the best accompanists in the country, and sought after as a musician in his own right.