About

The new book, ‘Sweet As: Journeys In A New Zealand Summer’ by Garth Cartwright is out now.

After 20 years away, Garth Cartwright returns to home and roadtrips from one end of the country to the other to see what’s changed – and what hasn’t.  That summer was spent travelling the country from top to bottom and observing New Zealand and its citizens in all their eccentric glory. Taking to State Highway 1, he met old friends, cult rockers, aspiring politicians, potters, bikers, visionary artists, hunters, undercover cops and all manner of other Kiwi characters. Surfing, hitching, driving, sailing and tramping across New Zealand allowed him to reflect on how much New Zealand has changed in the last twenty years – and how much it hasn’t.

New Zealand born, South London based, oft’ wandering, Garth Cartwright is the author of three books:

PRINCES AMONGST MEN: JOURNEYS WITH GYPSY MUSICIANS

MORE MILES THAN MONEY: JOURNEYS THROUGH AMERICAN MUSIC

and the new release:

SWEET AS: JOURNEYS IN A NEW ZEALAND SUMMER

Also, contributed to MILES DAVIS the complete illustrated history (Voyageur Press)


Garth wrote the Introduction and eight biographical chapters on the life and music of Miles Davis for this gorgeous, new Voyageur Press book. Whether a devoted jazz fan or a connoisseur of cool Americana, the Illustrated History is a gorgeous book to both delve into and to read at length.
Garth has contributed to several Voyageur Press books, including Rockabilly: The Twang Heard ‘Round the World and Whole Lotta Led Zeppelin (http://www.voyageurpress.com) and considers working on the US publisher’s titles a great pleasure.
“To be commissioned to research and write 20,000 words on Miles Davis was a dream come true. Outside of Louis Armstrong I can’t think of another musician whose music has meant so much to me across my life. Voyageur’s dedication to presenting intelligent, beautiful books on great musicians puts them in the forefront of arts publishing.”

Garth’s been writing his entire adult life. Initially beginning with scribbles on Auckland punk and reggae bands as a teenager in the early 1980s, Garth developed into one of New Zealand’s most outspoken writers on visual arts, music, sport and all things multicultural. Winning two Qantas Journalism awards in 1989 and being awarded an Arts Council grant, he took off to the US where he brought a rusty 1976 Buick Skylark and covered 25,000 miles in search of surviving strands of blues, soul, Cajun, Tex-Mex and other American roots music. Passing across the US border into Mexico, he travelled around Central America and Cuba then returned to the US where he lived in San Francisco for several months before the Gulf War policies of Prez George Bush made him take refuge in London.

Arriving in 1991 at the height of the recession meant much time spent impoverished and unemployed alongside stints doing shit jobs picking fruit, doing door and stage at the Edinburgh Festival’s largest comedy theatre, packing videos, bussing tables in Covent Garden Restaurants, temping, cold calling for market research firms and labouring on the New British Library building site.

Garth escaped the McJob syndrome by winning the Guardian’s 1996 Award For Music Writing and has since written for all the major UK broadsheets and magazines, reported for The World Service arts programme The Strand, penned a human rights report on Romania’s Gypsy Musicians ‘A Little Bit Special’: Censorship & Romania’s Gypsy Musicians (www.freemuse.org), written a world music guide for Tower Records, contributed to both 1001 Albums & Songs You Should Hear Before You Die, written for various Time Out and Voyageur Press books, compiled and written sleeve notes for various albums (both Princes Amongst Men and More Miles Than Money have respective “soundtrack” CDs out) and such.

Garth’s latest release is  SWEET AS: JOURNEYS IN A NEW ZEALAND SUMMER, a travelogue/memoir about New Zealand, published by Allen & Unwin in September 2011. He is also at work on a genre novel and several other writing projects.

Sweet As: Journeys In A New Zealand Summer: After 20 years away, Garth Cartwright returns to home and roadtrips from one end of the country to the other to see what’s changed – and what hasn’t.  That summer was spent travelling the country from top to bottom and observing New Zealand and its citizens in all their eccentric glory. Taking to State Highway 1, he met old friends, cult rockers, aspiring politicians, potters, bikers, visionary artists, hunters, undercover cops and all manner of other Kiwi characters. Surfing, hitching, driving, sailing and tramping across New Zealand allowed him to reflect on how much New Zealand has changed in the last twenty years – and how much it hasn’t.

“Opinionated expat Kiwi writer and art and music critic Garth Cartwright has written “a love song to Aotearoa”.  Nick Bollinger, The Listener NZ

Princes Amongst Men – Journeys With Gypsy Musicians: an authoritative and entertaining tale of travelling through Eastern Europe and discovering the history and characters of Romany Gypsy music and culture in places like Serbia, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Romania.

Cartwright plunges through Serbia, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Romania, pursuing tunes. To capture his passion, he uses a manic prose style, frothing with energy, swinging from panic and confusion to exuberance and complete loss of control.  What distinguishes Cartwright is his style, his verve and his whole-hearted engagement with his subject. The final few pages list about 80 CDs and 20 films by and about Balkan Gypsies; having read the book, you’ll find yourself rushing out to buy them.

Josh Lacey, The Observer (UK)


More Miles Than Money – Journeys Through American Music: explores the dirt roads of American music, taking the road less travelled and finding the many unheralded musicians, personalities and places that don’t usually feature in the image of modern USA.

This is music writing like it used to be. Opinionated, passionate, informed, real, and about the music makers and the stories behind them.” Graham Reid, elsewhere.co.nz

But if you see this in a bookshop, pick it up and open it anywhere. I guarantee it will have you hooked in seconds” Charlie Gillett

As well as being informative and entertaining books both Princes Amongst Men and More Miles Than Money now have accompanying soundtrack CD’s.


More Miles Than Money Soundtrack CD:

The compilation gathers a huge variety of music; many never released in Europe and largely unknown in the US. More Miles Than Money features blues, soul, country, funk, rocknroll, Tex-Mex, Native American song and powwow, mariachi, banda-rap and more, providing a vast overview of the richness of Americas regional music forms.

Alongside older household names such as Hank Williams and Memphis Minnie there are contemporary US icons too, including Mexican-American rapper Jae-P and the Navajo singer Radmilla Cody. Sam the Sham, Charles Wright, the Dells, T-Model Ford, RL Burnside, Lefty Frizzell, Dale Watson, Billy Joe Shaver, Johnny Cash, the Goodees and other musical icons are featured with extremely rare songs.

America may dominate the global music scene, but it’s the exotic provincialism of the place that comes across in this soundtrack to author Garth Cartwright’s literary journey through America’s musical margins. From languorous border ballads to fired-up native chants and brawling barroom blues, the proceedings are marked by a warmth and spontaneity often lacking in contemporary American culture. Mark Hudson, Daily Telegraph (UK).

Princes Amongst Men soundtrack CD featuring:

Sudahan (Macedonia), Ekrem & Gypsy Groovz (Serbia), Fulgerica (Romania), Romica Puceanu (Romania), Dan Armeanca & Fanfare Ciocarlia (Romania), Kal (Serbia), Jony Iliev (Bulgaria), Ferus Mustafov (Macedonia), Saban Bajramovic (Serbia), Sofi Marinova (Bulgaria), Kocani Orkestar (Macedonia), Esma Redzepova (Macedonia), Rom Bengale (Romania), Dzansever (Macedonia), Toni Iordache (Romania), Boril Iliev (Bulgaria), Taraf de Haidouks (Romania), Boban Markovic (Serbia)

Eight wild, relentless months . . . from Spring to Winter . . . a Balkan exodus . . . I got the bear and the bear got me. Some dream of running away to join the circus. Mine was to ride with the Gypsies. This is how the journey sounded. Garth Cartwright