History

Marion_in_early_performing_days.JPGMarion's Early Performances...Public musical life for Marion began in the Folk scene in the 60's, when she discovered folk & classical guitar. She soon began songwriting and performing, becoming the darling of Tauranga's social elite, appearing at clubs and private concerts in houses of the city's wealthy set.

Robbie_the_Folkie.jpgUniversity...While studying at Waikato university doing an M.A.degree in French and German literature, she performed at folk festivals and sang with a brass rock group Swellfoot's Assembly. She eventually joined up with partner, multi-instrumentalist, Robbie Lavën. Robbie, an experienced bandsman, was also very active in the Folk scene in Auckland and Hamilton, playing with John Bergersen, backing folksinger Marilyn Bennett , was a member of The Mad Dog Jug, Jook and Washboard Band also led rock band Molly.

Robbie_and_sitar_at_Ngaruawahia_Rock_Festival.JPG

Robbie had an interesting musicological leaning and played some fantastic instruments. He studied Indian music with his friend Raman Chibba with whom he played sitar at the Great Ngaruawahia Rock Festival.

Marion_Joins_the_1953_Memorial_Society_Rock_n_roll_band.jpgMarion Arts & Robbie Lavën...Marion joined Robbie's Rock'n' Roll revival ensemble The 1953 Memorial Society Rock'n' Roll Band. This concept performance proved to be very influential on her career to follow.

Red_Hot_Peppers_with_anklungs.jpgRed Hot Peppers is born...After completing her M.A., Marion, Robbie and Mike Farrell (R.I.P) started a successful, eclectic, original rock band. Red Hot Peppers. They toured NZ for 3 years playng many concerts and pubs. They made the band's first NZ album TOUJOURS YOURS for RCA.

RHP_signing_with_EMI_Australia.jpgRed Hot Peppers in Australia...Like many Kiwi bands, Red Hot Peppers soon tested their strength in Australia, acquiring management, agents, road crews and switched to EMI (Australia) as record company.

red_Hot_Peppers_in_costume.jpgPeppers, as they were affectionately known, recorded SOLO, (a film soundtrack), BRIGHT RED and STARGAZING for EMI (Australia).

Marion_Aussie_rock_chick.JPGBased in Melbourne, the band played too often in unsuitable venues and the stress began to show. The line-up saw many personnel changes and at various times included: Mike Farrell (guitar) Jim MacMillan (drums) Paul Baxter (bass) Maurice Keegan (guitar), Vaughan Mayberry (drums) Pete Kershaw (bass) Neil Reynolds (drums).

Red Hot Peppers play "I've Just Seen a Face"

RHP_laughing_it_up_streetwise.jpgThere were of course some good times and many photo opportunities.

Marion_Arts_And_Her_Red_Hot_Peppers.jpgMarion Arts And Her Red Hot Peppers...After withdrawing from the OZ Rock industry, Marion fronted a new line-up, Robbie playing electric guitar, Dennis Giannini on keyboards, Ray Pereira on percussion as well as some funky drums and bass. This band was called Marion Arts and Her Red Hot Peppers and made some great, original (unrecorded) music.

MArion_Arts_and_Robbie_Laven.jpgMarion in Europe...Daunted by the machinery of the Australian pop industry, and the scars it left, they travelled to Europe where they toured and recorded in Europe for 5 years. Marion and Robbie were a great hit at large music festivals in Holland, Belgium, Denmark and Ireland. Both Marion and Robbie were influenced by the many music styles to be heard in Europe at the time. The main influences were Greek, French, Gypsy Jazz and Brazilian music. There were 3 recordings from this period.: THERE'S TWO SIDES TO IT, THE LOST ANGEL and ONE DAY IN HOLLAND. The last two recordings added Dutch bassist Harry Emmery.

Marion_Mahina_and_Robbie_en_route_to_Bruges.jpgMarion Goes Home...Missing her native NZ, Marion returned home to raise 2 talented children with Robbie. Settling in Auckland, Marion continued to record and perform solo. (SOLO PERFORMANCE Ode Records, NZ). She performed at festivals and returned to Australia briefly as guest of the Perth Folk festival. While living in Auckland, Marion had some interesting musical duos with other female musicians: Mahinaarangi Tocker, and later Martha Louise. Robbie joined Marion and Mahina for a concert in Bruges.

Vocalists_with_the_1932_Jazz_Orchestra_Murray_Chennery_and_Marion.JPGJazz Vocalist in Auckland...For 10 years Marion was the resident female vocalist with Auckland retro big band The 1932 Jazz Orchestra, (later Tuxedo Swing), employing her great sense of style and performance. She appears on two of their recordings.

The Glamorous Mrs B LogoThe_Glamorous_Mrs_B..JPGMusic in The Bay Of Plenty...The Bay of Plenty, her home, began to call, and in 1994 Marion settled in Tauranga. Believing the shift to the provinces to be the end of her performing career, Marion slowed to a happy life of motherhood and private music making. However the call of the professional musician is not easy to ignore and she goes on to create some interesting performing concepts. Marion and Robbie decide to work together once more and start a glamorous, fairly outrageous retro dance/show band,

The Glamorous Mrs. B, performing music from the 20's, 30's and 40's. Marion takes the role of a Sophie Tucker styled, extreme personality. Robbie plays sax and some Django guitar, Pat Hura sang and played bass, Les Beale played drums and Trevor Braunias played jazz guitar. The band, proving to be too unorthodox, folded early from lack of work and support. The Glamorous Mrs. B did not record, its only legacy being a series of copyist bands that followed.

Marion_Arts_live_photo.jpgOther Inspirations...After the folding of The Glamorous Mrs. B, the guitarist of the band, Trevor Braunias, and Marion formed a duo Marion Arts & Trevor Braunias, performing around the city for quite some time, creating a fairly daring new blend of jazz and more acoustic styles. After this, Trevor and Marion could be heard briefly in Magnifique, a sophisticated band doing "continental" flavoured material, inspired by Piaf and Dietrich. This line-up included her now adult son, Oscar Lavën, on sax, trumpet and other wind instruments. Magnifique did not record.

with_Oscar_Laven_in_Top_Hat.jpgTop Hat was a duo that Marion enjoyed with talented son, Oscar Lavën. The repertoire was mostly from the 30's, Oscar also having the family flair for that musically exhuberant decade. Apart from a youtube home video, Top Hat did not record.

Top Hat play "It Don't Mean a Thing"

Bonjour_Swing_recording_line-up.jpgAgain in the retro field, Marion often guested with The Vintage Jazz Band of Auckland (later The New Orleans Joymakers), with whom she continued to perform for 2 years or so, demonstrating an irresistable presence, vitality and style. The style was New Orleans Jazz. A CD was made of Marion performing live at the Tauranga Jazz Festival with the band, with another talented guest, Will Sargeson on piano.

Bonjour_swing_retro.jpgBonjour Swing... Robbie's longstanding duo, The Blarney Boys, halted in its tracks while at the same time Marion left Tuxedo Swing, leaving the household a little too quiet. They decided to start a gyspy Jazz styled duo and called it Bonjour Swing. Robbie and Marion played on gypsy jazz guitars, both taking lead and rhythm roles. The repertoire featured Hot Club classics such as 'Minor Swing', 'Dark Eyes', 'Nuages', and 'Blue Drag' , but broadened its compass with Marion's original instrumental and vocal compositions in the style. Many of the vocals were sung in French, including interpretations of material by Edith Piaf, and Jacques Breland other French classics.

Bonjour Swing play "Bonjour Swing"

In 2011 Marion ventured out at the National Jazz Festival with a new line-up, Marion Arts With Prisoners Of The Sun : herself on acoustic guitar and vocals, 2 percussionists from Brazil, Jeronimo on cahon & pandeiro and Carlos Souza on congas, small percussion and vocals, adding Robbie on fretless bass and Oscar on flugelhorn & soprano sax. The music was almost entirely original except for a bevy of songs by Brazilian composer Tom Jobim.

After this concert, Marion and Carlos teamed up as Rhythm Palace. This duo presented a lively repertoire of guitar and percussion music (mostly original) and a selection of original, French and Brazilian songs. They were seen regularly around the traps in Tauranga and the Mount in concerts and cafes.  Robbie went on to play with Jeronimo and other Brazilian friends in a samba/rock unit called Figa Mandinga Band. He is often seen around the Bay as sideman with various ensembles, playing fiddle, mandolin, washboard, guitar.....

Recently Marion has been playing SOLO, having developed a guitar style of composition and performance (rarely seen in women guitarists) which is complex, developed and exciting, reflecting her varied influences: classical/jazz/rock and folk. Her singing, songwriting, excellence in French Chanson, retro jazz and  interpretations of classics continue to be as classy and advanced as has been throughout her adventurous career.