Mamazita

This story was first published at Hello Zukeen

Dunedin has been a fruitful environment for musicians in recent years. A new wave of bands has risen from the North Dunedin slums, prompting a number of writers to dub the movement as the ‘new Dunedin Sound’.

Bands like Mild Orange, Albion Place, The Shambles and Marlin’s Dreaming have caught the attention of the country and have once again, directed ears to the dreich metropolis way down South.

Among them is the five piece soul outfit Mamazita. While moustaches, long hair and surfy guitars have come to typify the new Dunedin Sound, Mamazita breaks the mould. Their single Hey Jazz is a nod to motown and gritty jazz bars. The song comes from the bands forthcoming release Mana Wahine.

The five piece is the creative baby of vocalist and songwriter Karleigh O’Connor. Karleigh formed the group in Dunedin last year after playing solo shows around town.

“I had been doing the 'pub covers' thing for a couple of years, but it wasn't all that fulfilling, more just a job. So I was pretty stoked when I met the boys in the band; the synergy was there from our very first jam, and we just never looked back really” she tells me.

While Mamazita’s approach marks a sonic divergence from their muso peers, the band drew inspiration from the vibrant scene they were a part of.

“There was this real air of inspiration and creativity amongst the crowd I was hanging around with, everyone just kind of started channeling themselves so passionately and authentically into all these creative ventures, which really inspired me to jump on board and start writing and performing more of my own music” Karleigh explains.

“The vibe in Dunners was always so supportive and accepting and that's what I loved most about it. You'd think it could be intimidating being a soul band in an alty, surf-pop heavy environment, but I think having the confidence to own our sound and having a real passion for it meant we didn't ever really worry about not fitting the mould”.

Hey Jazz is a welcomed release from Mamazita. It’s an elated heart-melter imbued with a lot of soul. Treat your ears and stay posted for the release of Mana Wahine.