The Braille Collective

A DigitalNZ Story by Michael Brown

A selection of open access recordings by Braille Collective groups and musicians from 1980s Wellington, including Our Name is Our Motto, Jungle Suite and the Flaming Anvil Brothers.

music, improvisation, Braille Collective, live recordings

The Braille Collective were a renowned group of musicians, based in Wellington during the 1980s, who made improvised and experimental music. Music writers such as William Dart and Norman Meehan have praised for the originality and stylistic innovations of the Collective's work.

The Collective encompassed numerous smaller groups, including the Primitive Art Group, Six Volts, Family Mallet, and Jungle Suite, along more short-lived combinations for live performance. Members included Stuart Porter, Janet Roddick, David Donaldson, Anthony Donaldson, Gerard Crewdson, David Watson, Richard Sedger, Neill Duncan, and David Long. They embraced a self-reliant DIY approach, releasing music on their own Braille Records label and creating much of their own promotional artwork, but also had many connections with the wider arts scene. Members have gone on to contribute  significantly to New Zealand’s wider music scene and internationally.

In 2012, a set of unreleased open-reel recordings was donated into the Archive of New Zealand Music at the Alexander Turnbull Library. These have since been digitally preserved and, with the permission of the Braille Collective, a selection have made available for open-access listening online.

For more information, see:

The Braille Collective recordings at the Alexander Turnbull Library

William Dart's Lilburn Lecture 2014 Signatures and Footprints