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DIG THE GIG BAND PROFILE: The Rockstars of University of Canterbury.


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Petia Vowell (tbc)

Ali Loan (tbc)

Pop dance that will liberate your soul.

Tans lesbian rock musician Petia Vowell is one half of the captivating duo ZENGIRL8. Vowell met her musical sidekick Ali Loan at a Chemical Brothers dance party in Auckland's Britomart in 2005.


"I'm a transsexual and performing arts teacher and possibly crazy," Vowell says. "Actually I think Ali is as well."


Loan is a Romania-born soprano Honours Masters graduate from Auckland University. She sings opera in her solo projects, while Vowell, an Auckland University Dip Grad Sound Engineering graduate, performs rock in hers. Together they create something more in the vein of pop-dance.


Vowell says most of their music is a mash up of a Bjork and Tori Amos influence with dance music and good old fashion rock guitar. The pair's first project together was a brief tour to the South Island's west coast, where their first gig was at Franz Josef Blue Ice café.


The following day they flew up to the Franz Josef Glacier and shot Neshemah the music video (which you can watch below), a sentimental song which is unlike most of their  pop-dance music. Vowell says it was the first music video ever to be made on Franz Josef Glacier. "Sporting a flimsy green dress we did the cheesy snow angel and classic snow fight," she says. "I was a glacier guide and the song's connection was saying goodbye to a lover I met in the area."


At Proud Mary on Friday ZENGIRL8 will have a guest guitarist and another keyboardist. They will begin with two Moloko numbers to warm up, and then play five originals, one of which You're My Girl, I'm Your Girl is dedicated to her Vowell's girlfriend.


The pair has been seeking ideas for collaborations for a song with fan influence, which has led to a track with the working title I'm a Gay Jelly Bean Song, which Vowell was still writing at the time of this interview.

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