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Remembering a ‘monster musician’

The first man to stand on the stage at the Poverty Bay Blues Club has taken his final bow.

One of the group's founding musicians, Dave Galanin, passed away earlier this month but his memory will live on in Gisborne.

In memory of the musician, the club has decided the first event of the month will be Strummin Dog Night, in honour of Dave's stage name.

Poverty Bay Blues Club founder and vice-president Darryn Clyne met Dave at his shop, The Gisborne Deli, in 2004 when he and his daughter Natalie were there to buy smoked salmon.

Dave asked Darryn if he could source a whole salmon so he could process it himself. As an indigenous Tlingit man from Southeast Alaska, he knew a thing or two about the fish.

“I said yes so long as he showed me his technique. So when I delivered the salmon to his place, upon entering the lounge I was gobsmacked by the number of guitars he had.”

Between Dave's 20-something guitars, the pair played music for a few hours and Darryn forgot he was there to learn about fish.

“This was when I realised we had a monster musician in our midst,” said Darryn.

“David was probably the genesis of the blues club . . . having such a prodigious talent in our midst was too good an opportunity to let go by.”

Two years later, in November 2006, the Blues Club kicked-off and Dave was the first musican on stage and one of four musicians who stood up and played every month for the first year.

Dave came to Tairāwhiti in 2000 when he was invited to participate in Te Ra, a gathering of over 80 indigenous artists to exhibit their art and conduct workshops in their respective art forms.

Kaumatua Ralph Walker said since then Dave and his whanau were whangai (adopted) by local iwi.

Dave lived in Gisborne for almost a decade before leaving, but his presence here was lasting.

“He was a hell of a good bloke, it's a bloody shame,” Darryn said.

With Tairāwhiti going to the orange traffic light setting from 11.59pm tonight, restrictions at the first Blues Club night will be a little more relaxed and patrons won't have to be seated.

The Blues Club will host Strummin Dog Night on January 4 next week at the Dome. $5 door charge or free to Poverty Bay Blues members and participating musicians.

BLUES MAN: Poverty Bay Blues Club's Dave Galanin passed away earlier this month but will be remembered at Strummin Dog Night, the first club night of the year. Picture supplied