The Wiggles timeless popularity in New Zealand looks set to continue as the multi-talented group toured the country again earlier this year, much to the delight of the nations’ youngsters. Something special for all the fans to look forward to was the debut of a new Kiwi-themed song, which brought some Wiggles magic to Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) Sound Studios, where they recorded the vocals for the new track.
Fresh out of two weeks’ managed isolation, and starting their ‘We’re All Fruit Salad!’ NZ Tour in Invercargill, Blue Wiggle - Anthony Field, Purple Wiggle - Lachy Gillespie, Yellow Wiggle - Emma Watkins, Red Wiggle - Simon Pryce, and Captain Feathersword – Paul Paddick, brought their Wiggles stardust to SIT Sound to record the vocals for “The ABC New Zealand Alphabet Song.”
Playing a key part in the recording and on-board for the tour was songwriter and Kiwi Wiggle, Robert Rakete, who has performed a guest role as an honorary Wiggle since 2013, and is well- known in NZ for his work as a radio host, actor and writer.
Doug Heath, Programme Manager School of Audio Production at SIT said it was a pleasure to host the down-to-earth performers for their vocal recording session. The opportunity for The Wiggles to use the southern-most recording studio in the world came about through the school’s industry contacts, as well as the facility’s capacity to produce a quality recording.
“Some music professionals know about SIT Sound and recommend us to others throughout the New Zealand commercial music and audio industries. There’s also a growing body of work which has increased awareness of our existence, like the SIT live sessions for Tiki Tane,” he said.
Mr Heath drew attention to the fact SIT’s BBC-style recording auditorium is an exceptional asset and they were capable of doing the high-end, quality work. Having international artists recording here also provided learning opportunities for the students.
“We are one of the most well-equipped classic studio educational facilities in Australasia, with the longest standing bachelor’s degree programme in Audio Engineering and Production - almost two decades.”
Mr Heath said the whole project ran smoothly. Once The Wiggles production team sent the backing track there were a few emails back and forth as SIT staff worked out the details of the recording and prepared for the session.
“It was great having consummate professionals in the SIT Sound studios”, he said, adding, “we feel it’s valuable to be contributing to a professional project of beneficence to all parties - SIT, The Wiggles and nationally, to music and language education in Aotearoa.”
As with many Wiggles songs, the educational content is designed to teach children, in this case the alphabet, using words and imagery especially familiar to young kiwis, with the use of Māori language, Buzzy Bee, jandals, Yellow-eyed Penguin and other instantly recognisable NZ icons; Richie McCaw makes an appearance too, playing his bagpipes.
The recording session was a success with the exuberant Australians, although some of the local colloquialisms in the song stumped them, providing the opportunity for an impromptu lesson in Kiwi culture. This included a quick trip to the supermarket for onion soup mix and reduced cream to explain chips ‘n’ dip.
The interactive song made its on-stage debut during the tour, and was officially released in June.
About The Wiggles
For three decades, The Wiggles have toured the world delighting millions of fans. They were formed in 1991
when founder, Anthony Field, had the idea to make a children's album. The original Wiggles line-up was Anthony Field, Murray Cook, Greg Page whom Anthony met at university, Jeff Fatt a fellow musician from The Cockroaches and classical music composer Phillip Wilcher. Sam Moran was also The Yellow Wiggle for a season. The current Wiggles line-up includes Anthony Field (The Blue Wiggle), Emma Watkins (The Yellow Wiggle), Lachy Gillespie (The Purple Wiggle), and Simon Pryce (The Red Wiggle), who have been recording and performing together since 2013.
Along with their unique blend of wonderful songs, engaging live performances, and consistent and prolific creativity, The Wiggles have made a resounding mark on the global stage. In a 30-year musical adventure that has taken them around the world, they have harnessed that energy to educate and help children better understand the world they live in. The band, the songs, and even the experiences have changed along the way, but the focus never has: Children are their inspiration, education their goal and music is their way.
Best known for iconic hits, such as Fruit Salad, Hot Potato, Getting Strong, Rock-A-Bye Your Bear and Toot Toot Chugga Chugga Big Red Car, The Wiggles are a staple of pop culture, and have had their songs referenced in dozens of TV shows and movies. The Wiggles brand has adorned nearly every product imaginable for children, from postage stamps to pyjamas, to theme park rides and beyond. The world’s most
popular children’s musical group, The Wiggles impact is unrivalled with over 54 studio albums including 18 gold, 13 platinum, 3 double platinum and 10 multiplatinum.
The Wiggles have received 13 ARIA Awards for Best Children’s Album (making ARIA history as the most awarded ARIA winner in the one category) and have been inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame. They have sold over 30 million albums and DVDs and 8 million books globally, achieved over 1 billion music streams, 2 billion YouTube views, and their videos are watched in over 190 countries around the world.