For the love of music


A melting pot of genres and a self-proclaimed dysfunctional musician bum are the roots of The Frank Burkitt Band.

Their Arrowtown debut of original upbeat music is set to cause a stir at The Fork and Tap Ale House this Sunday.

The band will end their New Zealand tour in the town, after having been on the road since November with their new album Kings & Fools.

Frank Burkitt (guitar and vocals) – a Scot – and his English partner Kara Filbey (vocals) touched down in NZ during 2014, instruments included.

Filbey landed on her feet first, scoring a job in Wellington as a research scientist, which meant Burkitt could join her adventure to Middle Earth.

The pair were quick to get back in the groove – playing their first gig in the capital just two weeks after arriving.

It was then that they met their first future band member, mandolin player Cameron ‘Dusty’ Burnell.

Burkitt was then desperate to find a double bass player, so he “infiltrated” the NZ School of Music and located James Geluk.

Soon after, fiddle player Krissy Jackson was on the bandwagon.

They’re an eclectic bunch, bringing jazz, folk, country and bluegrass into their original music.

Burkitt: “It’s hard to put it [the genre] in a box.”

The name The Frank Burkitt Band was a bit of a joke at the start, but ended up sticking because Burkitt writes most of the music and chooses the set list.

However, the song arrangements are a collaborative effort, he says.

With a full heart, Burkitt is often inspired to write songs about the natural world or an anecdote overheard at a pub.

“I’ve been in love my whole life so I don’t have the common inspiration of unrequited love or heartbreak.”

Burkitt says his writing style has evolved over the years.

When he was 18 he’d rattle out the songs, thinking ‘dog rhymes with log, that will do’.

Now he likes to write lyrics that could be read without music and still sound like a poem.

Burkitt has a lot of appreciation for his partner, who has a “proper” job.

“Without Kara – let’s be honest – I’d be a hungry man.

“It just proves that it’s possible to have one completely dysfunctional musician bum and one moneyearning scientist with a career … and she’s still smiling at me.”

The Frank Burkitt Band play The Fork and Tap Ale House, Arrowtown, Sunday, 4pm-7pm. Free admission, all ages.