Manuka Jam at Ink Bar

Salina-Pearl Nigro
Salina-Pearl Nigro

Salina-Pearl Nigro was evidently a mover and shaker in the Auckland house music scene about a decade ago and this year she’s made a comeback as a DJ/promoter with her 42 Below-sponsored party Manuka Jam. Saturday was the second installment and I was seriously impressed.


I’ve worked at Ink Bar on and off for years and you can tell a promoter has got strong support if they get a crowd in early. From the get-go, there was a smiling crew on the dancefloor enjoying the steady sounds of Phillip Haeder, accompanied by a saxophonist called Layla – aka Freedom on Sax – who looked as gorgeous as she sounded.


Meanwhile, nobody has come close to doing what Salina did in terms of decor. In fact, many promoters do exactly nothing. She had bedecked the place in drift wood, from which she strung paua shells cradling LED lights. More lights were in jam jars along all the shelving. Branches of leaves added an organic touch, and then, on top of that, she’d created three white walls for the superb visuals – courtesy of Terry Mather, who was presiding over a stack of technology in the corner of the lounge.

IMG_0699 visuals

The courtyard got a makeover too. Old Ink regulars will know the back bar used to be in action every week but this was the first time in years that a bartender had been put out there, though whether he sold many of his luscious-sounding 42 cocktails I’m not sure.

By 12, the main areas of the club were full and the night stepped up a gear when Salina Pearl¬†took to the decks, flanked by vocalist Emma Hand and MC Blatant. Her set was excellent: energetic, driving house, with a bit of grit and edge to boot. I hate to use the words funky and pumping but they’re apt here!

Salina MCing saline dance

This is how a party should be thrown, and I can’t wait for the next one.

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