By CASS MARRETT
Actress and singer Susan ‘Sooz’ Brady remembers time spent in Gibbston Valley with her father, pioneering winemaker Alan Brady.
Despite moving around a lot as a child, Brady says Gibbston’s the place she has the longest connection to.
‘‘I can remember a time dad was driving down the road back in the ‘80s looking at all the farms going, ‘you know, one day — and it’ll never happen in my lifetime — but one day, I can see that this will be all grapes’.’’
This year, Gibbston celebrated 40 years since the first grapes were planted by Alan Brady.
Susan Brady laughs as she quips, ‘‘like, it’s well and truly happened in your lifetime!’’
This Saturday, Brady performs among those grapes at Kinross vineyard with guitarist Simon Gomez, a friend of her father’s.
Gomez is a veteran musician, having worked with The Monkees, Ringo Starr, The Three Degrees and Eddie Calvert, and played at the pre-wedding party for the second nuptials of of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in Johannesburg, South Africa.
But despite his extraordinary musical resume he says he hadn’t picked up an instrument in about 15 years — until he heard Brady sing at one of her father’s harvest luncheons.
‘‘She stood up and sang and I walked straight across to her and said, ‘you and I have gotta talk’.’’
The duo call themselves ImaginaryFreNZ and have completed about 30 gigs together since late last year.
Previously, they’ve described their sound as ‘‘from Gershwin to Gaga, from Pink Floyd to Pink’’.
‘‘What we want to do is to create an atmosphere of fun, our set list is very, very broad,’’ Gomez says.
Performing as ImaginaryfreNZ is the first time Brady’s sung outside of musical theatre.
‘‘I love acting and to be honest’, it’s probably my first love … although this is challenging it now.’’
Brady’s acting credits include roles in Shortland Street, Marlin Bay and Hercules the Legendary Journeys as well as a one-woman cabaret, two short films and musical theatre performances of Assassins and Into the Woods.
‘‘The highlight really is being able to make a living doing something you love to do … music and song — it’s just like a fundamental truth and it just gets right to the heart of things and gets rid of all the bullshit and is just what it is,’’ she says.
Joining ImaginaryfreNZ throughout the performance are singer/songwriter and Celtic harpist Kate Targett-Adams, all-round performer and producer Will Northcoat and Gomez’ daughter, singer/songwriter and pianist Emmanuelle.
The five musicians will perform mostly covers with some original songs thrown in, and it’ll be a mix between group, duo and solo performances.
Pulled together by Gomez and the team at Kinross, he says this weekend’s gig is the first of several this summer, the idea being to bring people back to wineries following the absence of tourism.
‘‘[Of] the gate take, some of it goes to charity, the rest of it is split between the musicians,‘‘ Gomez says.
‘‘We’re taking the risk and if no one turns up, we don’t get paid,’’ he laughs.
Brady says the world needs an excuse to celebrate, remember the positive things and ‘‘get back to being ourselves again’’.
‘‘Weather willing, [it’ll be] a beautiful day in the sun, some good food, great wine and good music.’’
ImaginaryfreNZ, Kate Targett-Adams, Emmanuelle Gomez and Will Northcoat, Kinross, Saturday November 27, 3.45pm; tickets $28 via humantix.com