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Phil Garland  QSM

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  Award presented 2007

 

Philip Humphrey Garland is one of New Zealand's true musical treasures, a respected folklorist and musical balladeer who has recorded 18 albums.
For over 30 years his mission has been to gather and preserve for posterity the stories and songs of New Zealand, gaining him a QSM in 2014 for his services to folk music.

Phil was born in Christchurch in 1942 and died on March 15th, 2017.  He was a pupil of Christ's College, and his first musical group was The Fortunes in which he played guitar and sang.  He went on to join The Saints, The Playboys, The Dynamics and The Secrets, before "discovering" the folk genre.

 

 

Phil Garland with The Saints 1961


The Playboys with Diane Jacobs 1962


Plainsman portrait


Phil the Troubadour


Perth 1990

 

In his own words Phil tells us ... "My musical career started in 1958-59 at school, when I made the finals of a talent quest fronting a band called The Fortunes and I played many church dances during that time.  This was soon followed up after leaving school in 1960 by joining "The Saints" - a Christchurch Rock 'n' Roll band which had such greats as Pat Neho Neho, Brian Ringrose and singer Diane Jacobs (later to be famous as Dinah Lee) as co-vocalist with Cyril Edwards (AKA Super Cyril).  I left The Saints in 1962 to form The Playboys.  In mid-1963, Max Merritt invited us to go to Auckland and play at the venue where he had a residency while he went on an extended tour with his band the Meteors in 1962.  While he was in Auckland, I recorded "Little Band Of Gold" which went to number one on the Coca Cola Hit Parade later that same year before heading to Auckland for a year, and it wasn't until my return home that I started singing and compering at The Plainsman with The Dynamics, and continuing on with The Secrets, until discovering folk music in late 1964.  On returning to Christchurch at that time, I began to develop an interest in folk music.  I travelled to Britain and Europe performing the few Kiwi songs I knew at the time.  On return I founded the Christchurch Folk Centre which I ran for about 8 years.  I also founded the Christchurch Folk Music Club and am one of only three life members.  I have performed extensively throughout New Zealand and Australia.  In 1971 Rotary International recognized my influence on this genre and presented me with an award for my contribution to New Zealand entertainment.

   

Two of my songs were selected to represent New Zealand in The United Nations Songbook.  Radio New Zealand commissioned me to write a musical documentary for national broadcast during 1977.  This programme Landfall New Zealand was selected from 60 international entries as the winner of the prestigious Hoso Bunka Award in Japan.  In 1981 I appeared on the American TV show "Our Amazing World" singing traditional and original New Zealand songs to an estimated audience of 60 million viewers.  Further plaudits and awards were to follow when my album Springtime In The Mountains won the inaugural Folk Album of the Year at the New Zealand Music Awards in 1984.  My musical contribution to the peace album Send The Boats Away two years later, helped it achieve a similar status in 1986.  After my relocation to Australia in 1987, two further albums Hunger In The Air in 1987 and Wind In The Tussock in 1989 also reached finals selection in the New Zealand Music Awards."

Additional information is available at AudioCulture  —  www.audioculture.co.nz/people/phil_garland.html