Luke Hurley is an independent New Zealand guitarist and singer-songwriter. He was born in Kenya on the 31st of August, 1957 and moved with his family to Gore in Southland, New Zealand when aged 12.

He achieved a degree of early success on student radio with the song “Mona Lisa” in the early 1980s at University of Otago in Dunedin.

Growing up in Kenya and Zanzibar exposed Luke to Arabic, African and Indian styles of music which have influenced him to this day. Mississippi John Hurt, Pat Metheny, Jaco Pastorius and Chick” Corea were also influences. Luke’s current style of playing has also been described as

“Indian tabla meets Irish rock”

His song “Albatross” is one of many much loved show stoppers in his 25+ years worth of repertoire. His idiosyncratic but perceptive songs are admired by many and in demand for recording by other artists such as Tracie De Jong who has recorded his “Fait Accompli” song.

He is now based in Auckland, and has toured with artists such as Michelle Shocked and Marianne Faithfull but is more likely to be found at fringe festivals or even busking. He has self recorded the equivalent of 8 albums since the early 1980s.

More recently Luke has had 2 songs included in NZ movie “Insatiable Moon”. Alan Ren made a short doco about Luke in 2014 which is included below.

The High Risk album from 2000 features 17 songs recorded at some of Aucklands best sound studios. It was engineered by Steve Garden and mastered by Chris Chetland at Kog Studio. The album was reviewed by Liz Barry who said it

“…captivates the listener with gentle melodies, exquisite guitar technique and simple yet sometimes complex rhythms.” [1]

High Risk was released in 2000 and is perhaps the most well recorded example of Luke’s capabilities. High Risk was strongly supported by Dr Greg Finucane (Neuropsychiatrist) who is credited as Executive Producer and who was also a member of two bands ‘The Clear’ and ‘Thin Red Line’ previously.

High Risk took 4 years to record and complete. As relayed in an interview with Andrew Dubber, Luke described the album as part of his recovery process from severe depression [2]. The album is named High Risk because for many of the people who supported the project it was a high risk as to whether the album would succeed.

In January 2007 Monkey Records produced “Luke Hurley, The Best Of, 1981-2006” which is a best of compilation and includes early songs that are now almost impossible to find otherwise.

Since then Luke has completed 2 albums of new work called Brother Sun / Sister Moon. This is a double album with Sister Moon being completely instrumental. This is a gift for all those who have admired Luke’s skill as a guitarist over the years.

Brother Sun especially features a song called “The Sound” which has been filmed by world renowned cinematographer Simon Raby and is displayed on Lukes website.

He was a featured artist at the Auckland Arts Festival.[3] Luke performs often at festivals and was described as

“one of New Zealand’s great unknown musicians” by organisers at the Wellington Busking Festival. [4]

The best thing is Luke could be busking in your street now or playing a concert at the town hall. Take a second look and listen closely – or as we say in Aotearoa – stop, luke and listen.

  1. NZ Musician review of High Risk – Note: Former links broken
  2. Quality Community care – Andrew Dubber – March 04 2007 Note: Former links broken
  3. 2007 Auckland Arts Festival presents Sunset At Red Square.
  4. Wellington Busking Festival Performers – Note: Former links broken

From July 2008 to Jan 2009 Luke was on an extended tour of Europe which included performing in Ireland, UK, France and Sweden.  In March 2014 Luke was invited to play in Denmark so he used the opportunity to also play briefly in Berlin – Germany, Bergen – Norway and a return visit to London.

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