Interview: Yeshe Reiners — 505, Surry Hills (Sydney), Wed 17 December 2014

Image courtesy of Yeshe Reiners
Image courtesy of Yeshe Reiners

Yeshe Reiners makes Byron Bay his home, but tours extensively from NSW to Europe, the North Americas, and back again.

Yeshe is inculcated in the instruments and rhythms of Africa, and in a raw interview using a couple of cans and a piece of hemp string stretched from Liverpool to the far north coast of NSW, Yeshe explained a bit about what’s going in his musical world, and what Sydney audiences can expect on Wednesday 17 December at 505 in Surry Hills.

Presented by ihearmusic.com

For Facebookers, the event is here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1517429601848385/

When I play this clip, I just close my eyes and I’m back at the Budawang at the National Folk Festival in 2012. Bliss.

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Steve Tyson On Tour With New ‘Green Side Up’ Record

Image courtesy of Steve Tyson
Image courtesy of Steve Tyson

Steve Tyson is doing what good, indy musicians do: hitting the road to tour a new album.

‘Green Side Up’ is the new record and from Byron Bay to Port Phillip Bay, returning via Wagga Wagga, Canberra and Wongawilli Wongawilli Wongawilli and Marrickville.

A lot of miles and a lot of different beds! And lots of new faces, new fans and the CD stocks starting to deplete as Steve Tyson and the band wend their back up past Taree, Forster, Tuncurry, and a thousand blanky roadworks.

Continue reading

EP release and tour dates for Co-cheòl (Victoria)

Co-cheol
Co-cheòl: EP launch and performance dates

Victorian Celtic quartet Co-cheòl are launching their debut EP (‘Co-cheòl’) at the Boite World Music Café in North Fitzroy on Saturday 11 October 2014.

Boasting a wealth of instrumental skill and experience, a real strength of the group is in their vocal harmonising which comes to the fore in their EP. The group was also recognised with a runner-up award in the recent AUS-ACA A Capella Championships, plus awards for ‘Best Band’ and ‘Best Comedy Song’.

Co-cheòl made their festival debut in January 2014 at the ever-popular Cygnet Folk Festival in Tasmania to rapturous responses from audiences.

Co-cheòl EP cover
Co-cheòl EP cover

The group started singing together in October 2013 and this self-titled EP is their first recording.

Co-cheòl comprises Claire Patti (vocals/harp), Georgina Walton (vocals/ukulele), and twins Merrily Hansen (vocals/flute) and Ginger Hansen (vocals/accordion).

Claire Patti was recently awarded the 2014 Female Vocalist of the year in the Australian Celtic Music Awards.

Ginger Hansen provided a little more background on where the band originated and what makes them hum (no pun intended):

‘Claire, Merrily and I have all sung together in the past at one point or another in a community choir. Claire has her own solo career as well as singing with Taliska. She was doing a solo album and obviously can’t do harmonies with herself while performing!

So she asked Merrily and I if we could give her a hand with concerts.

We did the backing tracks on her album and thought this is a good thing; we’ll keep doing this.

Claire works at a school where Georgina works, and one day Claire was singing to herself at work and then this other voice, Georgina, joined in with a great harmony line – and that was it!

We want to do more original material. We have one or two original numbers, as well as some lyrics that are ready to be put to music. Aside from this, we do all our own arrangements of a mix of traditional and more modern stuff.’

Co-cheòl is pronounced ‘Co-shaal ‘ and appropriately means ‘harmony’ in Scots Gaelic. Ginger spoke briefly about the origins of the band’s chosen music.

Co-cheòl
Co-cheòl

‘We have a family connection with Celtic music to varying degrees. We’ve all just had different amounts of exposure to it.

The National A Capella Championships were great. The event was incredibly well-organised, really well-attended, and it was just amazing to get in contact and make friends with a lot of other musicians and groups.

Quite of lot of groups from New South Wales and South Australia as well. When we go to Adelaide we’ll be meeting up with those people.

It was great to be in the company of a lot of other music nerds who enjoy singing as much as we do!

A capella is definitely a buzzword at the moment, so people are focussing on that aspect which is fine. They don’t necessarily have a picture of our music when they think of our singing, so that’s a nice surprise for them when they come to see and hear us.’

Victorians and South Australians have several chances to see Co-cheòl perform starting with the EP launch:

Saturday 11 October — Boite World Music Café, North Fitzroy (Vic)
Saturday 18 October — Darebin Music Feast, Wesley Anne, Northcote (Vic)

21 to 22 November — Carnival of Music, Clare Valley (SA)
Sunday 23 November — Creatively Celtic, Church of Christ, Aldgate (SA) EP Launch

More details on these dates are on Co-cheòl’s gig page.

You can see and hear more of Co-cheòl on their Youtube channel, Facebook page and Soundcloud site.

The EP is available from 11 October 2014 and pre-sale details are at Bandcamp.

A Punter’s Perspective March 2014: No Such Things As Mistakes

Oops! There are no such things as mistakes.
Oops! There are no such things as mistakes.

A Punter’s Perspective: Random observations on the wide, weird world of folk from the side of the stage

No Such Things As Mistakes Part I

First published in Trad and Now magazine, March 2014

As has been the case from time to time in the seven years plus of A Punter’s Perspective, ’tis the night before deadline and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a half-decent idea for a folk music magazine article.

Realising my dilemma on the train to work today, I turned to the world’s font of most knowledge (and funny cat videos): Twitter. And I asked publicly to all, and pointedly to three or four music bloggers, what might a good topic be.

Image courtesy of The Dutch Guy
Image courtesy of The Dutch Guy

The answer came from a former radio presenter now blogger/vlogger (a kindred spirit, then) from the Netherlands who goes by the eponymous title of ‘The Dutch Guy’ (@DutchGuyOnAir), and he suggested:

“How about talking about some mistakes indie artists might make?”

By curious coincidence, this is a topic I’d considered before and only pulled back from it at the risk of causing offence.

Causing offence is a service I often provide — usually unintentionally.

I’ve put enough noses out of joint in the music world in the past nine years by commission, omission or at the very least, blind stupidity, and have no need to add to that score by inadvertent misadventure.

I often say that I can have intelligence insulted without watching certain TV programs or listening to certain radio stations. (And that I didn’t mention them by name is at least a sign that I’m learning — slowly.)

Similarly, I have no need to add to the great heaving morass of people I have annoyed by mistake or misinterpretation by going out of my way to rile them up. It’s just not how I’m wired and those who I run into who DO delight in this way of living, well, I just edge slowly away from them and run.

[UPDATE: This article was written at a time when I was pretty happy with life: working 6.5hrs a day at a very large multinational company — the one that never forgets that its THEIR money — bouncing between two locations (a girlfriend’s place in the south west of Sydney and a three-week on, three-week off arrangement taking care of a Tibetan Terrier and a three-level mansion of a place high, high up above the Pittwater on Sydney’s northern beaches.

I did not know it at the time, but all three were: mistakes. But maybe I had to have all of those fall and fail to embed the lessons of crowing too noisily about when things are going well. If you don’t know the parable about the bird that finds warmth and heat from a very unexpected place, then announces it to the world, ask me sometime. It’s not for here or I too could get covered in ship.]

Therefore, some disclaimers.

I am totally in awe of musicians, artists and singer-songwriters.

The concept of playing a three to 20-stringed instrument (or one you blow, slap or pump) while singing and possibly dancing (or at least a little light duck-walking), and then doing that from 20 minutes at a time, for up to three or four hours, leaves me absolutely breathless.

So any observations that I have about how musos ply their trade are made in that context. (See this is the fine print and early warning sign that so many miss and the next thing I’m being pilloried and people are jumping to conclusions so fast they strain their hamstrings.) Continue reading

Interview: Lucie Thorne on tour

Image courtesy of Lucie Thorne
Image courtesy of Lucie Thorne

Lucie Thorne is doing one of the things that she does best — touring around Australia, making her way into major centres but also a few places off the beaten track as well.

After two successful runs in Australia in recent times with Pieta Brown, showcasing the ‘Love Over Gold‘ album, Lucie is back on the road solo, albeit with long time collaborator percussionist Hamish Stuart, and teaming up for a double bill in Bacchus Marsh with Liz Stringer.

I should stop mentioning that the locations for doing these interviews are a little weird because I can’t remember the last time I did a straight face to face interview in a studio. For this brief chat, I was located in the salubrious surrounds of the Brisbane City Youth Hostels Association dormitory room, finishing the interview just a tick before house-keeping arrived with the industrial leaf blower, while Lucie was relaxing on a friend’s property in South Australia complete with 3D cattle.

If you’re reading this on the day of publication (Tuesday 3 June 2014) you can tune in and hear Lucie live on air on ABC 774 Melbourne with Lindy Burns from around about 9pm AEST. You can listen online.

Details of Lucie Thorne’s upcoming gigs:

Wednesday 4 June – Melbourne Folk Club (Bella Union at Trades Hall), Vic
Saturday 14 June – Baby Black Cafe, Bacchus Marsh, Vic
Wednesday 18 June – Smiths Alternative Bookshop, ACT
Thursday 19 June – The Grand Junction Hotel, Maitland, NSW
Friday 20 June – 5 Church Street, Bellingen, NSW*
Saturday 21 June – St Martin’s Hall, Mullumbimby, NSW
Thursday 26 June – house concert, Blue Mountains, NSW*
Friday 27 June – house concert, Kangaroo Valley, NSW*
Sunday 29 June – Mudbrick Pavillion, Mallacoota, Vic

* See Lucie’s gig listing for booking details.

It’s an oldie but an absolute fave:

Lucie Thorne interview recording studio: Room 205 at Brisbane City YHA
Lucie Thorne interview recording studio: Room 205 at Brisbane City YHA

Interview: Michael Johnathon of Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour

Image courtesy of Woodsongs dot com and Michael Johnathon. Photo by Larry Neuzel.
Image courtesy of Woodsongs dot com and Michael Johnathon. Photo by Larry Neuzel.

Image courtesy of Woodsongs dot com and Michael Johnathon. Photo by Larry Neuzel.

From humble beginnings in 1998, from a small venue that sat just 20 people in the audience, Michael Johnathon has built the Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour into a public broadcasting colossus. Woodsongs is heard and seen around the globe each week from its current home in the Lyric Theatre, Lexington KY.

The program showcases bands, performers and troupes from across the broad spectrum of bluegrass, Americana, roots, acoustic and alt-country, and a few others around the blurred edges of folk.

It’s a 100% community and volunteeer-run operation, making its longevity and sustainability all the more remarkable. And laudable.

It gets even better than that – but you’ll have to listen to the interview for the part that rocked me back on my heels.

And upturned kayak.

The show has reached an eye-watering 750+ episodes as of April 2014, many of which are freely available from the Woodsongs website in audio and video formats. Apart from its legion of individual listeners, Woodsongs has spawned a string of coffeehouse groups which meet to experience the show as a community.

The log cabin. Image courtesy of Michael Johnathon.
The log cabin. Image courtesy of Michael Johnathon.

And it’s not like Michael has anything else to do with his spare time.

Like being a singer-songwriter of many years standing. Or touring. Or arranging other concerts. Or building a log cabin and surrounding structures plus landscaping and bridges etc. bare-handed. Or being a father of two adult children (and two more on the way in one hit).

No, I lied. He’s all of that and more.

An just get a load of where he got his folk beginnings from. I can only interpret my silence at hearing who his neighbour was in upstate New York as a little mild shock and awe.

On a chilly autumnal morning in Sydney, I stepped off the Manly* Ferry and found a suitable-ish place to record an interview over the shaky airwaves from Australia to Lexington, Kentucky. A picture of my luxurious chair in the ‘recording studio’ appears below.

* For international audiences, ‘Manly’ refers to a suburb and location on the north side of Sydney Harbour named ‘Manly’. We don’t believe in forcing gender stereotypes onto our aquatic transport vessels. Actually, if anything, we refer to them as ‘her‘ for the most part. Continue reading

Taliska On Tour In ACT, NSW and Victoria

Taliska. Image courtesy of Taliska.
Taliska. Image courtesy of Taliska.

Taliska On Tour To Eurobodalla, Jenolan Caves, ACT and Victoria

Taliska is bringing a taste of Scotland to a taste of parts of New South Wales and the ACT this month, and then plying their Celtic trade closer to home in Ringwood and Portarlington (Victoria) and many steps beyond.

Hopefully they’ll be near you, and if they’re not, well, that’s just all the more reason to start loving their music and get them to your town next time they’re back this way.

OR get yourself on a Greyhound or Murray’s bus to one of the three venues, stat!

Definitely like them on Facebook and follow the trails, talents and travails of Taliska.

Who are Taliska?

Claire Patti has a voice that has to be heard to be believed and she plays the harp (the stringed one), french horn and piano accordion. Claire sings harmonies with the guitar-playing band leader Marcus de Rijk (note the strong Scottish influence in that name — mmm, maybe not so much), while Geoff Jones plays pipes, whistles and bodhran. Angus Downing makes the whole thing fly with his wonderful fiddle playing. Taliska’s traditional Ceilidh will have your feet pounding the tiles. 

The mini tour will take in a gig at the always popular Merry Muse in their new home at the Burns Club in Kambah, a performance at the majestic Jenolan Caves plus a wonderful house concert in one of the best locations on the Eurobodalla Nature Coast at Congo (just south of Moruya).

COMING SOON: Billy Quinn from Overheard Productions and Ducks Crossing Publications spoke with Marcus de Rijk early this week, and here’s what Marcus had to say about the band and the coming performances.

[Insert dirty great big embedded link here with lovely contrasting orange, white and black — like Greater Western Sydney or Wests Tigers or that really professional-looking pumbing mob down in Sorrento — right here when it’s ready to rock. Scheduled to do it between 10.30am and 11.00am AEST. It’s 01:44am now so if it all goes to plan, will be up before midday.]

Oh, look. Ready at 11:32am. Always delight the publics, we say at Overheard Productions!

Gig for Taliska on their mini-tour of NSW and ACT plus upcoming Victorian gigs:

Friday 23 May — The Merry Muse, Canberra
Sunday 24 MayJenolan Caves, Jenolan (NSW)
Saturday 25 May — House concert in the Congo area (email: howejp@bigpond.com)
6-9 June — National Celtic Festival, Port Arlington (Vic)
Tuesday 10 JuneVic Folk Music Club, Ringwood (Vic)
Saturday 21 June — Battle of Bannockburn promo event (Vic)
Sunday 22 June — Battle of Bannockburn (Vic)
27 – 29 June — Camperdown Burns Festival (Vic)
Thursday 21 August — Mamma Vittoria, Fitzroy (Vic)
Friday 29 August — Conservatory Café, Wyreena (Vic)

Full details of Taliska gigs is at their website.