PENNI FEATHER - BIO
Penni Bousfield, who performs under the name Penni Feather, has been described as "one of NZ's best undiscovered vocalists", with many reviews remarking on her vocal and stylistic range and her ability to transport an audience into the heart of a song.
Penni Feather will bring you songs of mischief and melancholy from the English and American folk traditions, 1930s blues, her own alt country-flavoured originals (and maybe a reworked contemporary song here and there). What unites this eclecticism is her interpretation and inhabiting of these songs with a mixture of sensitivity, toughness and soul.
Penni was a popular performer on the Auckland folk and acoustic scene in the 80s, where she formed punk-folk feminist band Siren and was a founder member of the Auckland Acoustics Collective. She went on to form Auckland blues band Working Holiday with Brendan Power, and to play percussion and sing harmonies for soul band Meg and the Fones. A decade in Queenstown followed, singing blues, reggae, soul, folk, Americana and jazz in various bands and shows and touring NZ in the ground-breaking all-women comedy and music show 'Exposed'.
In the early 2000s a side-step into theatre and academia put music mostly (though not entirely) on the backburner. In the last few years Penni was gigging again (solo and in an alt country duo), performing at most of the North Island acoustic venues and Folk Festivals, when disaster struck.
Surgery in 2014 for a hearing condition resulted in medical injury, leaving Penni totally and permanently deaf in her right ear. Added to the existing loss of hearing in her left ear, this meant she was now 75% deaf (with tinnitus and balance problems to boot) and looked like putting an end to her singing and music-making.
Determined to play again, Penni has worked her way back into first singing, then playing guitar and then performing on stage again. Several house concerts and a featured spot at 2016’s Rogue Stage Waiotapu Folk Festival have followed, with warm and appreciative response. The silver lining of her hearing loss is the deeper appreciation of musical nuances and the challenge to find more simplicity and atmosphere in song arrangements. Penni is delighted to be journeying in sound under the fig trees at Aongatete this summer.