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Green Dollars musicians unite

Masterton musicians Lisa Jimmieson, left, and Gail O’Callaghan. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Erin Kavanagh-Hall

For Masterton musicians Gail O’Callaghan and Lisa Jimmieson, two heads are better than one.

One of the most fulfilling and rewarding parts of Wairarapa Green Dollars is to see our traders embrace the opportunity to share their gifts and talents with the community.

Lucky for us music lovers, a special friendship has created a new band: with members Gail and Lisa debuting their (as yet unnamed) duo at last month’s May Music Market.

Both Gail and Lisa have been composing and playing music since their youth, but family commitments and other circumstances saw them put their instruments down and barely hum a note for over two decades between them.

Lisa, born and raised in Auckland, has been singing since age 13, and has both sung and played bass for covers, originals and jazz bands.

In 2008, she appeared on the New Zealand version of Stars In Their Eyes, lending her smoky voice to a near-perfect impression of Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie.

Now, after a two-year break she has teamed up with Gail through connections in the Green Dollars community.

Gail, who grew up in Christchurch, first learned the ukulele at age nine.

Her first “big gig” was playing The Twist at a concert at the Civic Theatre.

On moving to Wairarapa in the 1970s, she became a member of the Country Music Club – where she formed a band named Saffron, which supported Sir Howard Morrison on his tour of Wairarapa.

For the next 20 years, she would play in a range of local bands – as a bassist, her skills were often in demand.

“We’d play all that old music – Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Tina Turner, Fleetwood Mac.”

Sadly, both women’s musical careers came to a halt – Gail’s in the mid-90s after she became a full-time carer for her mother, and Lisa when she moved to Masterton and struggled to find a like-minded community.

But meeting for a cuppa, suggested by a mutual friend and Green Dollars member, put an end to their musical dry spell.

“Lisa and I are from different generations but, musically, we mix together really well,” Gail said.

“Just goes to show music is universal.”

The duo played some of their original music at the May Green Dollars market alongside other Green Dollar musicians.

All are welcome to the Wairarapa Green Dollars AGM, held on Friday, June 8, at the Wairarapa Community Centre.

The meeting starts at 7pm, but there will be a basket market and pot-luck meal starting at 5pm.

The next market will be held on Saturday, June 23, at St John’s Hall in Greytown, 10am-2pm.

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