It would be safe to say that music travels without boundaries. It's the beautiful memory that resonates within our souls as we travel life's journey no matter who we are or where we come from. It's the great communicator. It reminds us of someone, something or some place and evokes the memory of the emotion we felt at the time we heard a particular melody. Darebin Music Feast fits into this strain as their rich and diverse collection of musical events of all genres is built on the philosophy that music brings people together. The City of Darebin proudly presents yet again this annual music event. Melbourne's thriving music community will be coming together to celebrate songwriting and music in all its form at 'The Feast'. It is certainly a joyous way to engage and unite the community. This year greater focus is going to be placed on providing opportunities for the development of artists and industry alike. Orkeztra Glasso Bashalde has partnered with the festival on a new Composition Competition, and The Push have come on board to bring a pop up free access industry development space to life with speaker panels co-presented by Music Victoria and hands-on workshops.
The judges for the 2014 Composition Competition: Belinda Woods, Ernie Gruner and Tania Bosak. Image courtesy of Music Feast FB page
This Travelling Folk theme will continue with a series of artists interviews to discuss how dedicated Australian artists have grown from their experiences and exposure to music that inspired them while travelling to countries outside of Australia. A curated program will also be presented and performed at the majestic Northcote Town Hall with a selection of free and ticketed events. Fifteen applicants were presented with opportunities through the Music Feast Artists Support Program (now closed for 2014) and they will present innovative works with a focus on historical texts, multi media platforms and orchestral collaborations connecting to Eastern and European cultures.
Prize: $2000 cash thanks to APRA, recording, mastering, promotion and professional development. Entries CLOSED on 10 September. Image courtesy of Darebin Music Feast FB page.
Speaking with Darebin Music Feast Festival Director Ciel Fuller today (Wed 24 September) she is a major force in the culmination of this amazing event. She is passionate about promoting our home grown artists and providing them with opportunities and the necessary tools that will give them a heads-up and a leg-up into the industry. These tools are in the form of talks by industry people, hands-on workshops and discussions about designs on merchandise and so on.
Ciel is definitely the right person for the job with her wealth of experience and strength in knowledge of the music industry. She has walked the beat since she was a teenager attending 'live' music shows - punk bands in Brisbane and then working in the industry for Q Music and Music Street Press and finishing her Masters in Community and Culture Development. She is certainly wired into the rhythm of the industry and the community. She is passionate about community led programs that provides multiple entry points for a breath of genres; keeping the festival hub accessible and not making it elitist in any way. Involved in visual art - theatre work with Speak Easy it seems her life's breath is the music and arts industry. She would like to highlight and promote the BUSKERS STAGEpresented for the 1st time this year (co-presented by The Reservoir Village Traders Association). This year's Buskers & Community Stages (FREE entry) will be located in 3 locations within Darebin; Reservoir, Preston and Northcote on Saturday 11 October between 10am and 1pm and will be cooking up some fun ways for visiting and local artists to get involved. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter to be alerted when the 'BLACK BOARD' is ready to chalk your name onto!
Image courtesy of Fine Blue Thread website and Darebin Music Feast
The following are two conversations I had with FINE BLUE THREAD TRIO's Helen Mountfort and Jenny Taylor from LIPSTICK AND SPURS; two artists being featured among the Music Feast Artists Support program. Fine Blue Thread are launching their CD at the Music Feast on Friday 17 October at 8.30pm at the Northcote Town Hall Studio 2 at 189 High Street in Northcote. This creative and distinctly Melbourne trio comes from a diverse musical background and play finely crafted, fresh and intriguing compositions that are grounded in the traditions of Indian, Javanese and Western classical music. They have been featured with world renown artists as you can read from their bio with Helen Mountfort playing the cello, Sam Evans the multiple tabla and percussion and Ria Soemardjo the vocals and viola. They have been surprising audiences with performances of their own original music that can be haunting, uplifting and breathtakingly intimate. Helen tells me even other musicians are intrigued by them and like them, as they stay behind after their performances to watch her group perform at festivals and so on.
Helen is a New Zealander who studied classical cello and music and now plays in a couple of groups, My Friend the Chocolate Cake a non classical group in Melbourne. She is also a teacher of the Alexander Technique and she met Ria at a private lesson. She heard Ria sing and thought to herself she would like to play with this amazing vocalist but it did not come about till 10 years later when the Director of the Melbourne Festival suggested they do a concert together. Sam was also at the concert and they naturally migrated to each other, thus giving birth to their unique sound, embracing their diverse cultural background. They always write their music together. They find sections they like and go from there with lyrics and music. Helen said it's the most collaborative group she's ever been in and loves that it's a different role for the cello. She plays 'stuff' as she calls it, she's never played in other groups before. Because of the cello part it plays very bare she says and she can do whatever she wants and finds it a different experience that is mind blowing. 'Chocolate Cake' is more pop culture and western pop harmony and her other group Cosmo Cosmolino is strings, accordion, gypsy tango style. When she was studying she did composition at university, avant-garde classical. Helen brings a lot of 'classical' wisdom to the group and says she is Bach influenced. It was a leap in the dark for her as shes never played anything like this before. It's allowed her to find her niche where in the past she could not find what she wanted to listen to till she started writing it herself. This crossover music allows Helen the freedom to blend up a combination that belongs to and moves between genres.
Jenny Taylor from Lipstick and Spurs has been a musician since her teens and studied classical voice under Jonathon Welch. In college at 25 she engaged in jazz, singing and classical composition. She lived for 5 years in Outback Queensland, the Northern Territory when she got a job singing full-time at a tourist island resort. It was the end of the pilot strike and the resort fired 8 of the 9 people they hired, but Jenny decided to stay on. She settled in Darwin and concentrated on being a mum when she gave birth in 1994. She came back to Melbourne in 1996 and finished her University Degree in Music. She also got involved in Community Arts Projects and married an American in 2000 who was a technician with Joe Cocker. This gave her the opportunity to travel as a guest on tours. In 2002 she formed the Magdalene Turning Band, inspired by the Magdalene Laundries in Ireland. She likes the idea of 'a bad girl is a good girl' and having and making a choice in good and evil.
Image courtesy of Music Feast and Lipstick and Spurs website. Special guest artist, Suzannah Espie below right at Lipstick and Spur's performance at the Music Feast on Wed 15 Oct at the Northcote Town Hall at 8pm
While doing a muso self management and promotion course (she chuckles admitting she was bad at it) with Claire Bowditch she ended up recording with Claire's husband who was a musician and technician. In 2006 Lipstick and Spurs was formed and she ran a six week workshop in singing country music. She went up north as a jazz singer and came back a country singer. She has also run a workshop at the Darebin Music Feast in 2005. She welcomes anyone who wants to sing country music. Hired by the ABC, she was also a co-founder of The Choir of Hard Knocks and started their training program from 2006 to 2010. Meanwhile she kept on writing and recording her own songs and doing her own performances.
Jenny also performs with the High Street Bells Choir (Darebin Council) and has been with them from 2010 to current. Along the way the Magdalene Turning band fell by the wayside. This year she wants to do her own music. She released her EP Jonpelian 1 in 2012 and this can be purchased at Rathdown Records. It's a Christmas song and to date it's still sung by the Darebin choir during the festive season as they have been singing it for 4 or 5 years since its existence. The song is called Christmas is Coming and it is a song card that you can mail to friends at home or overseas, making it a gift combined with a card. I asked her how she came about 'Jonpelian Music'. She said everyone asks her that. First of all her name Jenny Taylor is too common for a search engine, hence she came upon a name created by her father who was a writer and a journalist. As a child she was always scared of the Indians in the cowboy and Indian movies, so her father created Jonpelian the good Indian to remind her to be brave. She imparted a story of her great grandfather whom she said was Thomas Gerald Clancy a drover she claims of the famous Banjo Patterson poem 'Clancy of the Overflow'. While droving between NSW and Queensland, the story goes that great grand-daddy met Banjo Pattterson and they formed a relationship and from there spawned the poem. Back to present day, Jenny Taylor has a couple of upcoming concerts at the Kongwak Markets and the Ballerine Peninsula. Like her Facebook page and keep abreast of updates. Jenny continues to redevelop her voice and writing and her current recordings are of slow songs influenced by her work with choirs. They are lighter fun songs which you will experience at her performances at the Music Feast.
For more info visit Music Feast's Website where the Full Program is available. Music Feast is proudly presented by Darebin City Council and partnered by Leader Newspapers, Yarra Trams, Jellis Craig Real Estate, PBS Radio and Beat Magazine. This certainly has the markings of THE festival to be at, a feast to be enjoyed. Below I leave you with the sounds of Suzannah Espie who is the guest performer with Jenny Taylor. She also has a Facebook Page.