Performer in demand around the world

Paul Ubana Jones marks 40 years as a professional performer in Dunedin this week. Photo by Logan McMillan.
Paul Ubana Jones marks 40 years as a professional performer in Dunedin this week. Photo by Logan McMillan.
Paul Ubana Jones is leaning on the rail of the Cook Strait ferry after the first half of his New Zealand tour.

''It's been a great tour and I'm really looking forward to the South Island now and, especially, playing in Dunedin and Oamaru,'' he says.

''I always love playing in Dunedin. It's got a really eclectic individualism and vibe.''

The veteran singer-songwriter turned 60 last year, but is showing no signs of slowing down.

In fact, quite the contrary. Ubana Jones is in demand around the world. He has played support for Bob Dylan, Patti Smith and Norah Jones, and most recently opened for blues legend BB King in Florence, Italy.

He emigrated to New Zealand in 1987 after 15 years performing in Europe, Africa and North America and will release his eighth album later this year.

''It's untitled, at the moment. I might have to pull it [the title] out of one of the songs,'' he muses, as though it is the first time he has thought about a title for the album.

''It's quite a wide selection of material, a bit like all the gigs in this tour. It's a nice refreshed overview of Paul Ubana Jones,'' he says.

''I always have a lot of freedom when I play. Even if I played the same stuff every night, it would not sound the same.''

Paul Ubana Jones plays at Taste Merchants at 8 tonight and the Penguin Club, in Oamaru, at 8pm tomorrow.

- nigel.benson@odt.co.nz