By PJ (Phil) Taylor
2020 is a year out of the box, to say the least, with the worldwide Covid-19 outbreak closing down a lot of life as we knew it, especially international travel.
As a musician who has travelled extensively to entertain and make a living for decades, Paul Ubana Jones is looking at the bright side.
“Disruption was not too damaging for me,” he says. “I did lose eight out of 10 concerts in Europe, playing just the first two and then having to fly back home to New Zealand, all within four days of my arriving.”
The Kiwi roots-blues and folk troubadour is usually in a friendly, upbeat mood, so it comes as no surprise that Ubana Jones made good use of his time during lockdown, bouncing out of the alert levels with a spring in his performance step.
“[Post-lockdown] shows have been very special, in as much as all that attended my gigs were in a jovial state and could celebrate these ‘special times’, these ‘times of change’, all together under the canopy of a collective air of positivity.”
One of the next concert dates on Ubana Jones’ tour is at Howick’s Uxbridge Arts and Culture, on Friday, November 13 (postponed from August 21), where he left his audience spellbound last year.
“It’s a productive time,” he says. “I play a lot of gigs and each allows me to explore and improvise. It’s a great road that allows me a plethora of freedom in my playing, singing and writing.
“I’m working both on a new album with friends up in Anzac Studio in Whangarei, and also with some other great friends and musos in Wellington.”
After many years of captivating audiences throughout this land and around the world, Ubana Jones’ attitude to his musical career is as strong and certain as it ever was.
“It’s a self-belief in my heart and soul that resounds everyday strong and clear. I am here with the ones I love and I get to play music to all that will listen,” says the maestro, of Southbridge, Canterbury.
“The future comes and it goes! My plan is to stay strong, carry on touring and writing and touching hearts with my gift.
“From the age of 11, this was my dream. This was the ‘inner voice’ saying to me: ‘Learn from the greats in art, music, and literature’.
“And be kind to your fellow man, to fellow woman and safeguard all children with love,” Ubana Jones concludes, echoing the nation’s Covid-19 response sentiment.
As a travelling musical soul who spends long spells away from family, he’s used to self-isolating. A natural to get through lockdown happily, healthy and with a sense of accomplishment.