Singer plans sustainable tour

Hawea singer-songwriter Anna van Riel, together with her husband Locky Urquhart and their baby daughter Matilda (19 months), will head off on a sustainable house tour of the United States next July. Photo supplied.
Hawea singer-songwriter Anna van Riel, together with her husband Locky Urquhart and their baby daughter Matilda (19 months), will head off on a sustainable house tour of the United States next July. Photo supplied.
Award-winning Lake Hawea singer-songwriter Anna van Riel is prepared to part with her favourite cowgirl boots, perform a concert in your lounge, or personalise your phone message - in three-part harmony no less, all in exchange for helping her fulfil her dream of a North American musical road trip.

The offerings are just some of a series of "kooky" prizes Ms van Riel is trading for financial contributions towards her sustainable house concert tour of the United States and Canada in July and August next year.

Ms van Riel (31), due to release her third album next March, was inspired by New York musician Gideon Irving, who spent several months touring New Zealand on his bike earlier this year performing in people's homes in exchange for a bed.

Far from being motivated by a rock 'n' roll lifestyle, Ms van Riel's "Whistle and Hum" tour will take her, husband Locky Urquhart, and daughter Matilda (19 months), to eco-conscious and earth-built homes throughout America, where she hopes to demonstrate how New Zealanders can realise their goals without being limited by money.

"So many Kiwi artists just don't get a foot in [internationally] because it's such a big deal to do this stuff so taking the sustainable approach will make it a lot more possible for me," she said.

"It just creates a way better opportunity for sharing and learning where you're going into people's homes, where they've invited you and they're putting you up and they're feeding you and you're part of their family for a couple of days."

The family-oriented nature of the trip is particularly important in light of Matilda's tough start to life following a diagnosis of a rare condition known as a giant omphalocele, where the abdomen fails to close around the base of the umbilical cord during early development.

While she is doing well now, she will require another surgery to attach her stomach muscles before she turns 5.

Performing in private homes also guaranteed an "attentive, listening audience who wants to be there", as opposed to a rowdy pub, Ms van Riel said.

Leading up to the tour, Ms van Riel is exchanging goods and services with other locals, such as providing Hawea film-maker Ryan Larraman - creator of her campaign's promotional video - with produce from her garden and music lessons for his children.

Funding the family's flights is the purpose of the online pledge system at her tour website, indiegogo.com/whistle-and-hum which offers the unique prizes in return.

lucy.ibbotson@odt.co.nz