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Two Bohemian Rhapsodies

Associate Canterbury University Professor of Music Roger Buckton and Puhoi historian and journalist Judith Williams have published two books to mark the Bohemian settlement’s 150th anniversary in June this year.

Bohemian Journey, a Musical Heritage in Colonial New Zealand and It Takes a Whole Village – The People of Puhoi 1963 -2013 were launched at the village’s sesquicentennial celebrations.

Roger, a former Puhoi resident, has written about his time recording the folk music brought to Puhoi by its German dialect – speaking immigrants from Bohemia, once part of the Austrian Empire, now part of the modern Czech Republic.

He tells of his experiences getting to know the Puhoi Band, its dudelsack bagpipers, accordionists and fiddlers, and of his later travels to Europe to have a dudelsack of his own made and of learning to play it by Czech masters.

His personal journey is then placed in the broader context of the European folk music tradition.

Scholarly but entertaining, it brings together under one cover much that has been known and researched about Puhoi and its musicians, plus some material which will be new to readers.

He has also prepared CDs from the original 1993 and 1996 cassettes, Die Booei Musikgruppe, and Accordionists of Puhoi.

An 1863 Bohemian pioneering Pittner family descendant and resident of almost 40years in the village of her ancestors, Judith has undertaken in her book to add the last two generations to the well-documented early settlement history of her home.

This was the period which has seen the almost 100 percent Bohemian -descended population overtaken by residents from almost 20 different national and ethnic origins.

With a foreword by Dr Claudia Orange, Te Papa Museum historian and Bohemian Schollum family descendant, it uses interviews with these mainly newcomers to recall the events of the past 50 years which have created the modern Puhoi.

Roger’s book, published by Steele Roberts, Wellington, retails for $30 plus postage and the CDs cost $20 each. These will be available from the Puhoi Historical Society.

Judith’s book sells for $36 plus postage and may be ordered direct from her at PO Box 404 151 Puhoi 0951.

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