Originally hailing from Whakatane, four musical brothers from the Kora family, Laughton, Francis, Stuart and Brad, began playing together as a band in the early 1990s under the name Auntie Beatrice, winning the national Rockquest high school band competition in 1991 and the East Coast region Battle Of The Bands three years running, earning a release on Tangata Records for their efforts.
In early 2002 Kora’s core members Laughton and Francis recorded a four-song demo while on holiday in Queenstown, sharing songwriting duties with local muso Dan McGruer who also joined them on bass guitar and keyboards. The Volume EP was released in 2004 and the band quickly developed a reputation as being one of the nation’s finest live acts.
A debut LP followed in 2007, the eponymous “Kora” which went to number 1 in the New Zealand charts, spending a year in the top 40 and reaching double-platinum status. Live performances at festivals including the Big Day Out cemented their reputation as a live force in New Zealand and beyond. Quickly on its heels was a “Kora! Kora! Kora!” remix LP by Sheffield based post-punk electronic innovators Cabaret Voltaire.
The long-awaited 2012 follow up LP “Light Years” continued to show the band’s ability to fuse a multitude of influence, from reggae to heavy metal to dirty south hip hop. This album went on to achieve platinum sales and to cement Kora as a top tier act in their home country. In the years since, between live appearances, the band pursued a multitude of other projects, with rock radio favourite “Carolina” in 2016 showing an appetite for the band’s unique material that remains as strong as ever.
Songwriting for new releases began in 2019, and new material has been received exceptionally well at recent shows. A fresh lineup based around long term members Fran Kora, Dan McGruer and Richie Allan has blossomed with the addition of some of the hottest musicians in the country in Darren Mathiassen (Trinity Roots, Hollie Smith, Shapeshifter) and Marika Hodgson (Hollie Smith, Troy Kingi, Alae) and Karlos Tunks (Moana and The Tribe, Modern Maori Quartet) With a deep and undeniable groove created by some of the best in the business, mixed with soaring vocals and lyrics that reach into the heart of the listener, Kora look set to remain as one of the few acts that can make THAT magic happen on stage.