Sensitive to a Smile (song)

"Sensitive to a Smile" is a single from the New Zealand reggae band Herbs from the album of the same name. The single charted at #9 in New Zealand.[1]

"Sensitive to a Smile"
Single by Herbs
from the album Sensitive to a Smile
Released1987 (New Zealand)
Songwriter(s)Dilworth Karaka / Charlie Tumahai / Todd Casella
Herbs singles chronology
"Slice of Heaven (with Dave Dobbyn"
"Sensitive to a Smile"
"Rust In Dust"


"Sensitive to a Smile" was written by Dilworth Karaka and Charlie Tumahai with American poet Todd Casella, who had moved to New Zealand and was a fan of the band. Karaka calls it "very much a family song".[2]

The song and album was originally set to be released in 1986, but the success of the song "Slice of Heaven", that Herbs had recorded with Dave Dobbyn, meant that they held back the release of "Sensitive to a Smile" and the album.[2]

Music video

The video was made in Ruatoria so that the band could give support to the Rastafarian protests happening in the area.[3][4] The video was shot by future Once Were Warriors director Lee Tamahori.[5]

Track listing

  1. "Sensitive to a Smile"
  2. "Station of Love"

Awards and critical acclaim

At the 1987 New Zealand Music Awards the single won best video and Charles Tumahai and Dilworth Karaka best songwriter.[6] In 2001, the song was voted 80th most popular New Zealand song as part of the APRA Best New Zealand Songs of All Time.

Aotearoa Reggae All Stars version

"Sensitive to a Smile"
Single by Aotearoa Reggae All Stars
Released21 June 2013 (2013-06-21)
FormatDigital download
RecordedYork Street Studios, Auckland, 2013
LabelIllegal Musik
Songwriter(s)Dilworth Karaka / Charlie Tumahai / Todd Casella

In June 2013 a cover version of "Sensitive to a Smile" was released on iTunes by the Aotearoa Reggae All Stars, a supergroup of New Zealand reggae artists.[7][8] It debuted at #2 in the Official New Zealand Music Chart singles chart, and at #1 in the Official New Zealand Music Chart New Zealand singles chart.[9][10] The single re-entered the New Zealand chart in February 2014 at number 30.[11]

The song was released as a charity single, with proceeds benefiting the violence-free parenting advocacy charity Mana Ririki. The project was conceived by Avina Kelekolio of Tomorrow People and Rio Panapa of Sons of Zion. The group features Sons of Zion, Tomorrow People, Three Houses Down, House of Shem, Ria Hall, Majic Paora, Che Fu, Katchafire, 1814, Chad Chambers, NRG Rising and Tasty Brown.[12]

The single release was accompanied by a behind-the-scenes documentary broadcast on Māori Television.[7]

Chart performance

Chart (2013) Peak
New Zealand (RMNZ)[9] 2
New Zealand singles (RMNZ)[10] 1

Hollie Smith version

In 2008, to celebrate the song's 20th anniversary, Herbs' 30th anniversary and the release of their career best-of album, New Zealand singer Hollie Smith recorded a version of the song with the Mount Roskill Primary School choir.[13] The song peaked at number 33 in the New Zealand singles chart.[14] The song was included on Herbs' 2008 best-of album Lights of the Pacific - The Very Best of Herbs.[15]


  1. "Sensitive to a Smile". Retrieved 7 June 2010.
  2. Kara, Scott (22 November 2008). "Politics, peace and love". NZ Herald. Retrieved 14 October 2012.
  3. Tamahori, Lee. "Sensitive to a Smile: Behind the Scenes". Short Film. NZ On Screen. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  4. "Tribute to 'Herbs': Inducted into NZ Music hall of fame". New Zealand Herald. 14 September 2012. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  5. "Sensitive To A Smile". Music Video. NZ On Screen. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  6. "Awards 1987". Listing. NZ Music Awards. Archived from the original on 19 April 2014. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  7. "Aotearoa Reggae All Stars". Maori Television. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
  8. "Sensitive To a Smile - Single". iTunes. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
  9. "01 JULY 2013". The Official NZ Music Charts. RMNZ. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
  10. "01 JULY 2013". The Official NZ Top 40. RMNZ. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
  11. "AOTEAROA REGGAE ALL STARS - SENSITIVE TO A SMILE (SONG)". Hung Medien. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  12. "Aotearoa Reggae Allstars". Mana Ririki. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
  13. "Sensitive to a Smile by Herbs". NZ Film Archive. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  14. "HOLLIE SMITH - SENSITIVE TO A SMILE (SONG)". Hung Medien. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  15. "Lights Of The Pacific: The Very Best Of Herbs". Amplifier. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.