Dudley Benson


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'Zealandia' is the name of our drowned continent, and also my upcoming third album. I'm Dudley Benson, a Dunedin-based composer and performer, and I'm asking you to help me hoist 'Zealandia' up into the light.

The final part of a trilogy that I began in 2008 with my first album The Awakening and continued with 'Forest: Songs by Hirini Melbourne', 'Zealandia' is an identity pop album - twelve anthems that invite us to relate to our land in a new way.

Written over a three-year period, 'Zealandia' is my most ambitious and intricately crafted project, and features my dream-team core cast of symphony orchestra, the fifty-person New Zealand Youth Choir, harp, harpsichord, piano, koto and bagpipes. The land itself collaborates too: through sampled recordings of rocks and minerals found within our continent I've made the album's rhythm section and sonic textures. 

With the support of a 2014 Arts Foundation New Generation Award and grants from Creative New Zealand, the Dunedin City Council, The Asia New Zealand Foundation and Ceres Organics, I've already recorded the orchestra, New Zealand Youth Choir, the beats, and many solo instruments.

You can help us complete 'Zealandia'.

Your koha will get me into the studio to record my vocals, and contribute to the huge amount of post-production work including editing, mixing and mastering the album. It's the last and most precious stage of the project, and I'd be very grateful if you joined me for it.

We've just released the first single and video from the album, 'Muscles'  - it's a reminder of the power that a personal connection with Nature can bring. Enjoy both below!

'Zealandia' is my alternative vision of our future in this place. It's told through a set of songs that I hope could only be ours, and only of this time. I'm so excited and grateful that you can be there with me, and raise the Zealandian flag.

Nga mihi nui!


Muscles Video - YouTube

Muscles Digital Download - SoundCloud



    Zealandia Cover Art

    Listen to Zealandia!

     / SpotifyiTunes

    Or buy the CD / 2 x vinyl / newspaper edition at your local store: Marbecks Records (Auckland), Slow Boat (Wellington), Pennylane (Christchurch) or Relics (Dunedin).

    Here's my interview with Kim Hill from Radio New Zealand's Saturday Morning.
    Here's Nick Bollinger's review for Radio New Zealand's The Sampler.
    And here's William Dart's review for Radio New Zealand's New Horizons.

    Thanks so much again to all my Boosted supporters! You're all a vital part of making this album, and I'll always be grateful for the aroha.


  • Announcing Arrival at Zealandia


    Kia ora friends,

    We've done it! With 36 hours still remaining in the campaign, we've reached our target of $12,000 - and more. 

    This morning as we ticked over the 100% mark, I was beyond words. Truly grateful, and deeply moved by all the tautoko that you've given me - not only with your hard-earned koha, but also the faith that you're putting in me and the Zealandia album. 

    I'm so proud of the people on our donor board - each and every 194 of you - and the energy you've brought with you. I'll be channelling that when I record my vocals, and complete post-production on the album.

    The campaign remains open until midnight Thursday - so people still wanting to join the Zealandia whanau are more than welcome to do so until then. Any funds above our target are spent on the album.

    It's snowing on the hills in Dunedin - Josh and I will have a celebratory pint tonight in our favourite cosy bar in town. And we'll be toasting you!

    Aroha nui, and I'll keep in touch.

    x Dudley

    Announcing Arrival at Zealandia
  • One Wiki to Go!


    Kia ora friends! 

    A gorgeous mind-winter day in Dunedin, and a big smile-stone for our Zealandia Boosted campaign: just one week to go, and 62% of our target $12,000 reached!

    While I've been trying to control my nerves - and therefore the pull of Belgian biscuits - you have been calmly and generously giving your precious koha to help me finish my album: to the tune of $7,453! Honestly, if I survive the next week intact, I am going to recommend that every person at some stage runs a Boosted campaign: the experience of receiving an email saying that someone has just given you their money because they believe in you, is something to be felt.

    So, thank you.


    Campaign updates!


    'Muscles', the first single from Zealandia, is at #2 on Wellington's RadioActive, after spending two weeks at #1. 'Muscles' is also in its third week in Dunedin's Radio One Top 11. The 'Muscles EP', featuring the single, three remixes, a new song and artwork by Gavin Hurley, is ready for your workout at:

    iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/nz/album/muscles-ep/id1010963698?uo=4&at=10lrHH
    Bandcamp: https://dudleybenson.bandcamp.com/album/muscles-ep
    SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/dudleybenson/sets/muscles


    In November of last year I contributed to an event called You Call This Art: a discussion about creativity and how it manifests in different ways. YCTA is hosted by The Arts Foundation in conjunction with Radio New Zealand, and you can now listen to the full programme, hosted by Justin Gregory and also featuring dancer/choreographer Louise Potiki Bryant and landscape architect Megan Wraight, at Radio New Zealand. I perform the song 'I Lost My Voice', now on the Muscles EP.

    You Call This Art: http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player/201758585


    Finally, a little treat courtesy of the painter Nigel Brown! In 2011 Nigel painted eight portraits of me performing live, each of which went on to be a choose-your-own cover of my live album. There were two we didn't use, and these have been formatted for your desktop! Click the link below to download.

    Nigel Brown desktops: http://www.dudleybenson.com/uploads/file/Desktops.zip


    Just one more week to beckon Zealandia from her watery hiding place beneath the Pacific and Tasman.

    Aroha nui!


    One Wiki to Go!
  • The Muscles EP


    It's a great pleasure to release the Muscles EP!

    Muscles is the first single from the Zealandia album, and is now available as a whanau of remixes! It includes the as-yet-unreleased James Duncan remix, the new song I Lost My Voice (a rework of my 2008 song On the Shoulders of the Earth), and features artwork by Gavin Hurley. 


    1. Muscles 
    2. I Lost My Voice
    3. Muscles (Eyeliner Remix)
    4. Muscles (Murderbike Remix)
    5. Muscles (James Duncan Remix)

    You can listen to and buy the digital-only EP from your outlet of choice below.

    Enormous thanks as we enter the final two weeks of the Zealandia campaign! 


    iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/nz/album/muscles-ep/id1010963698?uo=4&at=10lrHH
    Bandcamp: http://dudleybenson.bandcamp.com/
    SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/dudleybenson/sets/muscles

    The Muscles EP
  • Using our Muscles!


    Kia ora!

    We're half-way there: 16 days to go, 78 donors, and 38% of the way. I'm humbled by the groundswell of support, it's so motivating!

    Things on the Zealandia front have been busy...

    Muscles is the first single and video taken from Zealandia, and is currently charting at #1 on Wellington's Radio Active and #3 on Dunedin's Radio 1. 

    We've also released two brave and forthright re-works of the song - one by Wellington's Eyeliner, and the other by Dunedin's Murderbike.

    Listen to all three versions of Muscles here: https://soundcloud.com/dudleybenson/sets/muscles

    I've also been busy recording - we've just laid down the harpsichord, piano and koto parts in Auckland with engineer Andre Upston. Here's a video of harpsichord performer Gracie Francis rehearsing one of the album pieces: https://youtu.be/F24iQZ41RYc

    Thanks once again for your koha and support! Please let your friends and followers know of the campaign - we've still got a long way to go, and every bit is a huge help.

    More news soon...

    x Dudley

    Using our Muscles!