Originally born and raised in Edinburgh, Ruarri Joseph found his songwriting roots in the Southwestern Pacific.
A move to New Zealand followed his parents’ divorce, and an 11-year-old Joseph found himself coming of age in Dannevirke (population 6,000), an isolated, rural farming community.
Dannevirke was picturesque but remote, dotted with wooden shacks and hand-painted signs – not the most engaging environment for a young, would-be musician.
Joseph pined for the Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell records his father had played back in Edinburgh, and began to seek out music of his own, eventually finding his way to that decade’s best: grunge, and the fuzzed-out, thrashy riffs of bands like Nirvana, Mudhoney and Pearl Jam, taking in a little Britpop along the way.
With those sounds filling his days, Ruarri spent his early teens busking around the local area, dabbling in punk and knocking around in a handful of short-lived outfits.
With very few live music venues around, strict age restrictions operating at the local bars and a lack of any real music scene, Joseph and his friends learned to improvise, putting together mini-tours of the local schools, turning up in time to knock out improvised sets for the lunchtime crowd. These shoestring musical adventures were enough to convince Joseph that bigger things awaited.
Ruarri Joseph plays live at Telford’s Warehouse in Chester on Friday, April 24. Free entry before 9pm, £4 thereafter. Call 01244 390 090 or visit www.telfordswarehouse.com .