Neil Young, live on Labour Day

by Sarah Barnett / 25 October, 2008

SATURDAY OCTOBER 25

The Secret Life of Tribute Bands, Radio New Zealand National, 4.10pm.

Watching a tribute band such as the Fab Faux is the only way Beatles fans can see their favourites in a, sort of, live form. Now every band, especially Abba, seems to have its own mini me. Kirsten Johnstone meets members of local acts to discuss the challenges and rewards of filling the boots of the greats.

SUNDAY OCTOBER 26

Auckland Writers and Readers Week 2008, Radio New Zealand National, 4.07pm.

A foodie natter this afternoon, with Alexa Johnston, Helen Leach and Ray McVinnie. Johnston's mouthwatering Ladies, a Plate is a nostalgic trip to the kitchen of some kind of übergrandma, all Louise cake and lamingtons; Leach's The Pavlova Story is the definitive work on our national dessert. The two writers join chef and food writer McVinnie to look at favourite dishes that have graced our tables and filled our baking tins.

Radio New Zealand Election Special, Radio New Zealand National, 5.10pm.

Kim Hill and Kathryn Ryan present the fourth debate in the series, looking at "our place in the world".

MONDAY OCTOBER 27

Maggie Barry on Heroes, Radio New Zealand National, 9.06am.

A blessedly politicsfree three hours for Labour Day morning. Maggie Barry reflects, with experts, on New Zealand's heroes. With Kiwi music, comedy and interviews with one or two of the nominees, Barry also ponders the qualities we most value today.

Matinee Idle, Radio New Zealand National, 1.06pm.

Neil Young has admitted he never really felt safe during the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Freedom of Speech US tour in 2006. He told Rolling Stone he was "a nervous wreck by the end of that thing ... We had to deal with death threats and bombsniffing dogs the whole time." He should have no such worries when he travels here for the Big Day Out in January - once he gets past the fruitsniffing beagles at Customs, the local crowd is likely to enjoy numbers like Let's Impeach the President. This afternoon, Phil O'Brien and Simon Morris present tracks from the 2006 tour, a mix of classic CSN&Y folk rock and recent, angry, antiwar sounds.

Music Alive, Radio New Zealand Concert, 8.00pm.

A couple of Christchurch's greatest cultural exports returned home in August to share the spotlight: Baritone Teddy Tahu Rhodes and tenor Simon O'Neill took time out from their glitzy schedules for an evening singing opera favourites for the Southern Opera: Opera with the Stars event. With sopranos Suzanne Prain and Dorothee Jansen, and the Christchurch Symphony, they sing excerpts from Tosca, La Bohème, Turandot and Otello, with highlights from Bizet's Carmen.

TUESDAY OCTOBER 28

Demo of the Week, Munt FM, 8.45am.

If you can hear it on a commercial station, Munt FM won't play it. In fact, the student radio station for Massey University's Wellington campus reckons it's probably the only station to play all demos and samples sent to them "at least once". So start sending! The Munt crew spin their favourites every Tuesday and Thursday morning about 8.45; listen at www.muntfm.co.nz, or if you're in the vicinity, tune in to 88.5.

WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 29

Nine to Noon, Radio New Zealand National, 10.06am.

When your father and grandfather were Navy pilots, the only way up is into space. And that's precisely where former Nasa astronaut Wendy B Lawrence went, in 1995 becoming the first American woman in space and, in 2005, flying on the first shuttle mission after the Challenger disaster. This is after a masters degree from MIT and clocking up more than 1500 hours flying US Navy helicopters. She talks to Kathryn Ryan today.

The Sydney Symphony Rachmaninov Festival, Radio New Zealand Concert, 8.00pm.

Japanese pianist Kazune Shimizu joins the Sydney Symphony for Rachmaninov's Fourth Piano Concerto, a work that took the composer more than a decade to come to grips with after he emigrated to the US in 1918.

FRIDAY OCTOBER 31

Music Alive, Radio New Zealand Concert, 8.00pm.

"A model concert" was how William Dart described this performance by two of New Zealand's leading musicians last October. "Cellist Ashley Brown and pianist Michael Houstoun," he continued, "are musicians of unimpeachable artistry and it was inspiring to experience them in tandem ... playing Beethoven and Brahms sonatas."

Womad Taranaki 2008, Radio New Zealand National, 11.06pm.

Burkina Faso act Farafina were founded in 1978, using traditional instruments to work in contemporary musical styles. They've released five albums and played at Nelson Mandela's birthday concert this year. They've sexed it up a bit, adding a female vocalist, and were one of the most fascinating acts at Womad.

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