Swingin’ into Kingston


When Aussie-based duo the Swingin’ Cowgirls take the stage in Kingston this weekend they could almost be classed as a trio. 

One half of the twosome, award-winning singer/songwriter Anna van Riel is 30 weeks pregnant with her first child. 

But van Riel says her unborn baby won’t be fazed, having already appeared with mum when she performed in front of 50,000 fans at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium. 

Van Riel, originally from Luggate near Wanaka, was hired to belt out the Kiwi national anthem at the Rugby League Four Nations final between Australia and eventual winners New Zealand last November. 

“This baby has been at an awful lot of gigs with me,” Van Riel says. 

“I keep feeling little kicks when I’m singing and especially when I’m playing the ukulele at the same time.” 

Van Riel and singing partner Kathryn Jones have each scooped a hatful of top music awards in Australia for their solo work. 

As the Swingin’ Cowgirls, they’ll belt out bluegrass and folk sounds during a fun show at the Kingston Tavern 

Organised by local clothes boutique Lady Knuckles, it’s being billed as a ‘saloon night’, with punters dressing up in Wild West costumes to win prizes. Anyone turning up on a horse will get a free drink. 

“Being from Luggate, this will almost be a homecoming gig for me,” Van Riel explains. 

“I’m back living in NZ at the moment to have my baby and it’s great to be able to do a concert locally.” 

After the birth, van Riel plans to return to Byron Bay in New South Wales where she’s been building quite a name for herself. 

As well as releasing two solo albums, in 2010 she won Children’s Song of the Year in Australia and also triumphed at the recent Rebel Yelp song contest. 

Her singing partner Jones is also making waves with her album Yesterday’s News. 

Next up, the pair plan to release their debut EP together.