Linn Lorkin Profile

Arthur Baysting, Michael Colonna, and Chris Bourke
18 Aug 2020

Linn Lorkin’s talents as a pianist, singer, songwriter, actor – and linguist – have taken her from a farm near Tokoroa, and schooling in Otahuhu, to London in the Swinging Sixties.

She has had residencies in Copenhagen, Naples and New York, and played festivals, piano bars, theatres and cabarets around the world – and back home in New Zealand. Her songs capture her varied experiences, from idyllic childhood summers with her song ‘Family at the Beach’ to a bleak stint in Villa Poggi, an Italian prison.  

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Gerhard's cafe, Grey Lynn, 1994 – recording live with the newly formed Jews Brothers Band.
Photo credit: David Legge
Linn Lorkin, Rick Roff, Jimmy Gibb and a visiting French saxophonist, Michel Solomon - at the Alhambra, Ponsonby, Auckland, c 2005. 
Love Slipped In - Live in Berlin
Down Coat - Live at Freida's Bar Grey Lynn
Linn Lorkin onstage at a varsity revue, Auckland 1961.
Photo credit: Linn Lorkin Collection
Happy Talk singers on Linn's front porch, 1991. From left: Linn Lorkin, Glynnis Paraha, Jean McAllister, and Lina Samu. 
Photo credit: Arthur Baysting
The Jews Brothers Band at Emmanuel School, Sydney, 2014. Hershal Herscher, Linn Lorkin, Neill Duncan, Nigel Gavin and their regular Australian bassist Michael Lira.
Photo credit: Linn Lorkin Collection
The Jews Brothers Band take their bow at the 20th Anniversary WOMAD Festival, Reading, UK, 2002 – part of a seven-festival European tour. Hershal Herscher, Nigel Gavin, Linn Lorkin, Carmel Courtney, Peter Scott.
Photo credit: Linn Lorkin Collection
Linn Lorkin – Girl from Tokoroa national tour, 2001.
Photo credit: Linn Lorkin Collection
Family at the Beach - Live at Don't Tell Mama, NYC 2010
Linn Lorkin and Hershal Herscher with Lucy Lawless, 2018.
Photo credit: Linn Lorkin Collection
Inside Out theatre 1991. Linn Lorkin was a regular member of Mike Mizrahi and Marie Adam's seminal theatre company.
Photo credit: Linn Lorkin Collection
My Yiddish Swing - The Jews Brothers Band
Linn Lorkin, 1979, McFeelys, Chelsea, New York City.
Photo credit: Linn Lorkin Collection
Linn Lorkin, 1996. "As the song says, 'I should be a star in Las Vegas but tonight I'm sleeping in Grey Lynn'. Note the Hillman Hunter, also in the song." Costume by Elizabeth Whiting.
Photo credit: Elizabeth Whiting
Linn Lorkin in 1970. "Enforced break from the piano bar in Naples, Italy with roommates Wanda and Teresa" – as recounted in her song 'Villa Poggi'.
Photo credit: Linn Lorkin Collection
2009. Left to right: Linn Lorkin, Peter Scott, Hershal Herscher.
Photo credit: Eleanor Barnard
Linn Lorkin's first professional gig – The Prater Trio in the green room, Copenhagen, 1968.
Photo credit: Linn Lorkin Collection
Nairobi Trio with Linn Lorkin flyer, 1989.
Photo credit: Linn Lorkin Collection
Hey, Piano Bar Lady! 2 min.Teaser, Don't Tell Mama New York
Shanghai Lil's flyer, 2007.
Photo credit: Linn Lorkin Collection
A Quiet Little Table in the Corner - Triad Theatre New York
Linn Lorkin, 1989. The Sidelong Glances CD back cover with all personnel including musicians/singers Tama Renata, Beaver, Martin Winch, Brendan Power, Jean Mcallister, Peter Wood, Glynnis Paraha.
Photo credit: Stephen Robinson
Linn Lorkin, New York 1982.
Photo credit: Linn Lorkin Collection
Linn Lorkin with extended family at Ngunguru camping ground, 1950s. Linn is sitting in front at far left. Her classic song 'Family at the Beach' captures those times. Back row (L-R): Cousin Ian, Uncle Bob, Uncle Stan, Uncle Roy, Colin, Pop Dennis, Barry and Tony. Middle: Aunty Birdie, Mum, Aunty Betty, Denis, Aunt May, John and Uncle Roy's mum. Front: Linn, Valerie, Heather, and Bruce. 
Photo credit: Linn Lorkin Collection
Linn Lorkin promoting her 2011 show at Edinburgh Fringe with the help of Edinburgh's Lord Provost. The piano cut out was on wheels so it could be pushed around the cobble stoned streets with flyers handed out en route.
Photo credit: Linn Lorkin Collection
Linn Lorkin, 1972, in the house band at the Ranch House, Auckland. John McGuire (front left) with Mike Harvey (back row, left) Linn Lorkin, Jim Hall.
Photo credit: Linn Lorkin Collection
Linn Lorkin in Copenhagen, 1968 with the Prater Trio.
Photo credit: Linn Lorkin Collection
Linn Lorkin and Rick Roff, at the Gables, Herne Bay, Auckland. 
Linn Lorkin, World of Wearable Art, 2015.
Photo credit: Linn Lorkin Collection
'Linn in Grey Lynn' CD launch, 1996, on a Grey Lynn deck with the three other First Ladies of Jazz (Candy Alderton-Conway, Beaver, Julie Mason), Katie Helyer, Joseph Herscher, Olivia Lynch, Kelvin Hair, Hershal Herscher.
Photo credit: David Legge
Sweet Treat - Audio ONLY. Duet with Kelvin Hair
Grey Lynn Song - Live at Cafe One 2 One
Live in a French Cafe, 1993 – the first of 17 albums on Linn and Hershal's label Rouge Records.
Photo credit: Patrick Reynolds
Linn Lorkin, Coming Up from Under programme cover, 1992.
Photo credit: Linn Lorkin Collection
Linn Lorkin performing at Watershed Theatre, Auckland, 1992.
Photo credit: Linn Lorkin Collection
Mole Song - Live in Berlin
Linn Lorkin's first professional gig – The Prater Trio in the green room, Copenhagen, 1968.
Photo credit: Linn Lorkin Collection
Coming Up From Under at the Herald Theatre in Auckland, a 1992 musical comedy in two acts about Linn Lorkin's life.
Photo credit: Stephen Robinson
Egypt - The Jews Brothers Band Live at Regent Theatre, Hokitika
Linn Lorkin in her New York City apartment, 1984 with Jean McAllister of the Drongos. Behind her is the piano on which Linn wrote a huge number of songs.
Photo credit: Linn Lorkin Collection
Green Card Cha-cha-cha - Live at Freida's Bar , Grey Lynn
1970 at El Sombrero piano bar, Naples, Italy.
Photo credit: Linn Lorkin Collection
The First Ladies of Jazz, Auckland, early 1990s. From left: Linn Lorkin, Candy Alderton-Conway, Hattie St John, Beaver.
Linn Lorkin, 2013. Flyer for New York shows. Hey Piano Bar Lady recounted her eight years in New York playing piano bars and won Best Cabaret in the United Solo Festival.
Photo credit: Linn Lorkin Collection
Trivia:

Linn Lorkin and Hershal Herscher's son Joseph Herscher is the internationally renowned kinetic artist behind Joseph's Machines. He specialises in making Rube Goldberg-style comical chain-reaction machines.