The final evening of the Late Nites season was presented by vocalist Alda Rezendi with pianist Duncan Hanyes. From the first note, Alda’s voice transported us to another place: a warm and cozy Latin American hideaway, where the air is filled with the earthy smells of coffee and rain forest, and the sunlight is reflected in water pooled in the cups of plentiful bromeliad flowers.
Brazilian and Argentinian bossa novas, sambas, tangos, and boleros unwound the evening into new dimensions of aural comfort. The alchemy of music moments transmuted heart-melting melodies and human kindness into an irresistible elixir. The audience sat transfixed at their tables, eyes closed, enchanted, almost paralytic but shivering with pleasure, goosebumps playing across their bodies. Alda is just that good.
Alda’s full alto voice radiated from her body so naturally, so it felt like Mother Earth herself was calling to you. Duncan’s playing was similarly stunning with almost human singing. His fingers weaved a universe where the source of the voice, whether from flesh or wood, didn’t matter at all, because sound is an absolute quality of a moment in time, a wave without source or destination, the key to eternity.
The Late Nites began in January 2022 as a two-month experiment to bring regular free music events in the comfortable atmosphere of the Dough cafe. It was so successful that it continued to run until June. 39 musicians over 20 weeks introduced different styles and genres with support from the Whirinaki Whare Taonga Arts and Entertainment trust in association with Dough Bakery. Duncan Haynes opened the season with Umar Zakaria back in January and closed it with Alda Rezendi in June. I’ve heard word that the new season will be back in the Spring, and perhaps it will be Duncan again who opens it.

By Charlie Queen