#10 Yumi Zouma, Darkroom

28 September 2017

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The darkroom is an unassuming venue, tucked away down St Asaph Street and looking like a local Caledonian Society hall, complete with concrete blocks as its major building material. Inside, it's got ceilings lower than your average 1930s bungalow, with a stage the size of two double beds, and yeah, it's pretty dark. But the staff are friendly, and there's a great vibe. And a week after the election, the note on the blackboard drily acknowledged the political uncertainty of the coming weeks.

It's a venue Yumi Zouma are loyal to, as it provides an all-important rehearsal space. This we learned from Christie's parents, who joined a supportive crowd to wish them well on their next overseas tour.

The band of Christie, Charlie, Josh and Sam were joined by their newest member Olivia, on drums. And they had a warm and vocal reception from the Christchurch followers who joined on a fecking cold September night.

I was in town for a social enterprise conference. As one speaker said, it was 1500 people in a room who wake up in the morning thinking about how they can make the world a better place. So there was a nice fit with getting to the concert that evening.


Yumi Zouma have a sweet synth-pop sound that is catchy and compelling. Their songs have you one minute swaying gently to a quiet melody, and the next bouncing to a quick rhythm, all mixed with their signature polyphonics. They took us through a procession of established tunes including The Brae, Keep it Close to Me, Barricade, Alena, and Yesterday. These were mixed with new songs like December and Persephone from their latest album, Willowbank.

I'd like to say I saw them before they were really famous and things went intergalactic, and I do hope that's how it works out. But actually, no matter what direction their future takes, on its own merits, tonight was one to remember.