Song 2: Broken Pig

Year in New Zealand: 12 Months 12 Songs is an audio journal of an album, that is being written song by song, month by month. Each month a new track is posted at
This is the second in a series of posts breaking down the story of each song

Hanmer time!

It’s dark. We’ve just listened to 2 hours of the Frozen soundtrack and the girls are finally asleep in the backseat. The gravel crunches under the tires of our Honda Fit as we roll up to the vacation house. The lights are on and inside I can hear the dulcet tones of a xylophone playing. We each pick up a sleeping child and bring them into our home for the weekend. Cory and Michaela greet us, and their 2-year-old son Hamish drops the mallets and runs over to meet our girls. Groggily they take in our surroundings, including the marimba-like African instrument at the center of the living room. Hamish runs back over to demonstrate. He isn’t as sleepy as our kids, since he’s coming from his home in Australia, and hasn’t adjusted to the time difference yet. Before we even have a chance to get Annie and Cora tucked away in bed Hamish is quick to show us the Broken Pig. Yes, this vacation house comes complete with a Broken Pig! In this modern and lovingly cared for home, right next to the wood stove, is an abstract sculpture of a pig. The stone pig’s back has a concave section, which is currently occupied by kindling. Hamish runs over, lifts one finger, and proclaims “Broken Pig! Oh no! Broken Pig!”

We spend the weekend in Hanmer’s famous hot springs “relaxing” with two toddlers and an infant. We hike past giant sculptures of rock-climbing possums and floating heads.

The kids take turns playing the marimba, and I am happy to get my hands on a real guitar and djembe. I begin recording samples of Hamish on the marimba and the various instruments, anticipating that they could be used in what will become a very silly song. 

Over the course of the next week our guests get the full Darfield experience, complete with swim lessons at the Selwyn Aquatic Center and the Very Scary Moa Ride at the the top of the Christchurch Gondola.  Cory and I find time to relive our college a cappella days by sneaking off to the garage while everyone is asleep. We set up a mobile recording studio on the dashboard of the car. In the sound booth that is the Honda Fit, we belt out lyrics about deer farms and chocolate fish. We even include our hidden talents of beatboxing and tuvan throat singing. 

After Cory leaves I sift through the sounds I recorded and incorporate samples of Annie talking and Hamish on the Marimba. Annie helps me write the lyrics for my verse, and I make sure to include important words like “princess,” “purple,” “mermaid,” and “lunchbox.” Annie is very proud of her contributions, and she asks to hear “Broken Pig” in the car. Again. And again. And again.

I talk with Cory about the final mix, and about including a bridge about the joys of nocturnal parenting. He informs me that Hamish also has been asking to hear “Broken Pig” on repeat. If nothing else, we have a hit with the 2 and 3 year old crowd…

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *