Monthly Archives: July 2009

Sonics for Saturday

Looks like another day of exquisite winter sunshine. I am heading off to the Kev Carmody tribute – Cannot Buy My Soul this afternoon. Am sure this is going to be a very special gig. My head has been buzzing with alot of great music lately… here’s a few songs that have been rotating in the cavity of my skull.

 

Steve Kilbey & Martin KennedyMaybe Soon

This is from their debut album, Unseen Music Unheard Words. Lush and dripping with Kilbey’s trademark vocals. Can’t wait to see Steve perform Images of London at the Kev tribute this afternoon.

 

Decoder RingBeat the Twilight

Opening track from their latest instrumental double CD – They Blind The Stars And The Wild Team… a sonic journey that has been blowing my mind.

 

Muddy WatersMannish Boy

If there is a sexier song than this, I need to know about it. Muddy’s son, Mud Morganfield was in town last weekend as part of the Fortitude Valley Blues Festival.  Listen to this band wail …

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Black Stump Blues part VIII – Night of the Woolscour

I am still dearly missing Blackall’s big skys and open landscapes… here’s a few photos from a night I spent at the Woolscour. The light and sound of this place is something to be experienced. Hinemoana Baker who I traveled with recorded lots of audio at the Woolscour, so I am sure we will be hearing some of these sounds in the not too distant future …

 

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Walking toward the Woolscour at night, steam rising off the open bore.

 

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This big old boiler was used to produce steam for the engines.

 

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A neat stack of Gidyea … this is tough timber.

 

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Like something out of ‘Saw’, these claws separated the wool.

 

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And the old Federal still ticks over …

 

More info about the Woolscour can be found at: http://www.heritagetrails.qld.gov.au/attractions/blackall.html

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This Lost Shark is now on Twitter. Keep up to date at http://twitter.com/lost_shark

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QPF 2009 presents: A Tangle of Possibilities

Opening Night of QLD Poetry Festival is a must see event on the poetry calendar. Over the last 6 years, I have witnessed some of the most incredible poetry performances you could ever hope to see – the sonic experimentation of emily xyz (2006), the dishevelled elegance of Sam Hunt (2004), the gutsy riffs and gorgeous vocals of Mia Dyson (2008). Tickets for Opening Night of QPF 2009 – A Tangle of Possibilities are now on sale from the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, so make sure you get in early to book your seat.

Here’s a taste of the possibilities Opening Night of QPF 2009 offers:

 

afhAF HarroldWatch

A.F. Harrold is a poet and performer who has been puzzling audiences with his words for quite long enough. He’s an Englishman who can confuse people of all nations and all ages. he does things that are not quite normal and gets paid for it. He is a popular poet on the stage and on the page, has a number of books available which, along with more information, can be found at www.afharrold.co.uk

 


ebachinskyElizabeth BachinskyHearsay in the valley of condominiums

Elizabeth Bachinsky is the author of three collections of poetry, Curio (BookThug, 2005), Home of Sudden Service (Nightwood, 2006), and God of Missed Connections (Nightwood, 2009). Her work was nominated for the Governor General’s Award for Poetry in 2006 and the Bronwen Wallace Award in 2004 and has appeared in literary journals, anthologies, and on film in Canada, the United States, France, Ireland, England, and China. She is an instructor of creative writing at Douglas College in New Westminster where she is Poetry Editor for Event magazine.  She lives in Vancouver, Canada.

 

 

nmurrayNeil MurrayLights of Hay

Neil Murray is one of Australia’s most respected singer/songwriters and has enjoyed a solo career since 1989. He has released ten albums Calm & Crystal Clear, These Hands, Dust, The Wondering Kind, Going The Distance, About Time (a 2CD retrospective compilation) Spoken, 2Songmen – live in Darwin and the latest Overnighter. Those who have read his novel Sing for me Countryman or poetry book One Man Tribe, or listened to his spoken word CD – Spoken or seen his play King For This Place would know of his affinity for the land and respect for indigenous culture.

 

 

hbakerHinemoana BakerTaxi + live performance of the Hone Tuwhare poem Where Shall I Wander

2009 Arts QLD Poet-in-Residence, Hinemoana Baker is a New Zealand writer, musician, producer and teacher of creative writing. Her Maori whakapapa traces from Taranaki and the Horowhenua in the North Island, down to the Otakou peninsula near Dunedin in the South Island. Her Pakeha (non-Maori) ancestors were from England and Bavaria. Hinemoana’s first poetry collection, matuhi | needle (2004), was co-published in New Zealand by Victoria University Press and in the US by Perceval Press, the publishing house of actor and artist Viggo Mortensen. Her first album, puawai, was a finalist in the New Zealand Music Awards and the title track was a finalist for the Maori language category of the prestigious APRA Silver Scroll awards. Hinemoana was one of 12 New Zealand recording artists chosen for the album and stage show Tuwhare, setting to music the words of renowned poet and laureate Hone Tuwhare.

 

Look forward to celebrating with many of you there!

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QPF Spotlight #11 – Santo Cazzati

Santo Cazzati hit Brisbane last month for two gigs and left behind a trail of whirling words and smiling faces. Both gigs left people wanting more and lucky for us, Santo will be heading back in August to give us all another blast of his unique spoken word style. I asked Santo to tell me about where his poems begin, the importance of the the spoken word, song lyrics and the words he lives by. Here’s what he had to say …

 

Santo

 

How does a poem begin for you – an idea, an image, a phrase?

 

Absolutely never an image or a phrase. Always an idea. I could be going through a bottle of wine when “the idea” comes to me. The idea could be any or all of the following : a piece of music has a striking formal structure and I would like to translate that into poetic terms; I would like to respond to a political impulse but with a poem that is not too obviously “political”; I have been through some kind of intense or emotional personal experience which needs to find some equivalent or “sublimation” (Kant? Freud? Adorno?!) in aesthetic form.
 

You have chosen not to publish your work in the traditional print format. So just why do the words of Santo Cazzati belong exclusively in our ears?

 

Well, I used to try to publish. Got published half a dozen times out of about 500 form letter rejections. Now I know people will say that’s a decent success rate. But the real gratification came when I performed my work out loud. The reaction from listeners was immediate – every time I opened my mouth to perform. If you count all the open mic I do as well as gigs, I am opening my mouth in front of people about four or five times a week. My soul can live off that a lot more than the aforementioned 500 rejections. Besides, a vital component of my work is the use of very precise speech rhythms and intonation patterns. They cannot be notated on the page except in a very cumbersome way which would not be at all reader friendly. The record of the event for me is the CD, not the book. Books are better for novels, literary criticism and cultural theory.
 

It is often argued by critics that song lyrics are not poetry because the lyric is only fully realised when performed. Do you feel the same way about your work?

 

Oooohh these “critics” who so pathologically must define what poetry is or isn’t! What insecurities are lurking behind their endeavours? I’m pretty much an adherent of “reception theory”. It’s a “readerly culture”, to use the term that was fashionable in French cultural theory of the 1980s. If we want to read certain song lyrics as “poetry”, even “high art”, why not? They may not have been intended as such by their writers but they may have characteristics that lend themselves to being regarded in this way. As for me, I have very little control over how my performances are “received” or “read”. Fifty people in a room listening to me will undoubtedly receive in vastly different ways depending on their prior experiences, that day or over the previous ten years. But I love to explore those commonalities that make the live performance something where the overwhelming majority of the audience has tuned in to what we do as performers. That kind of sharing can give us the feeling – the illusion? – that we aren’t really individual fragments of the social whole.
 

Who are your artistic beacons and how have they shaped your work?

 

Mostly they are musical. I am highly influenced by detailed theoretical analysis of music. In addition to that, I am aesthetically and emotionally overwhelmed by music which has breathtaking structural originality and refinement. There are too many examples of this to list here but my greatest musical influences of the last ten years or so are : New York soulful house, nu jazz breakbeat, and salsa and related styles. As for actual writing with words, the shining beacon is James Joyce’s Ulysses. You can hear the musical elements in my use of rhythm and pitch. As for Joyce – oh well, many of us have tried to imitate him, I suppose; my efforts are directed towards his distortions of grammar and mentally fast-paced stream of consciousness.
 

What are the words you live by?

 

Words that sound good when they come out of the mouth. Words that seem to communicate something even when we are not really listening to them or trying to understand their meaning. Words whose “meaning” IS their sound. I don’t just feel this in the formal “performance” situation. Sometimes I find myself in conversations where people seem to be saying things to each other unwittingly and unconsciously. Why did we say that? Why did we talk about that? Why did we choose that peculiar word instead of this one?

 

About Santo:

Santo Cazzati is a spoken word artist. The son of
Italian immigrants to Australia, he emerged from past
lives as a classical concert pianist and avant garde
jazz musician to teach at an elite Melbourne private
school which must remain anonymous in order to protect
those concerned. He performs in a range of styles,
from fast rhythmical delivery to slow atmospheric
meditation, often with a strong world music influence
and critical ironic distance.

 

Catch Santo at QPF 2009:

 

Saturday August 22 – 2:45pm – 3:45pm

Merging into Volcanic: featuring Santo Cazzati & Burn Collective 

 

Saturday August 22 – 8:00pm

A Million Bright Things: featuring a short set from every bright thing on the 2009 program plus a feature set from the awesome Neil Murray

 

Sunday August 23 – 11:00am – 12:00pm

Choreography of Chance: featuring Santo Cazzati, Maurice McNamara & Rhys Rodgers

 

All sessions are held at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, Brunswick St. Fortitude Valley.

For full program details head to www.queenslandpoetryfestival.com

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QPF Spotlight #10 – an interview with Hinemoana Baker

Hinemoana Baker has hit the ground running as the 2009 Arts QLD Poet-in-Residence. I caught up with her recently to have a chat about her experience so far.

 

Hinemoana walking down the long streets of Blackall

Hinemoana walking down the long streets of Blackall

 

Since arriving you have had the opportunity to travel to the ‘big-sky country’ of Western QLD, visiting Blackall and Longreach. How was your experience and what affect did the landscape have on you?

The landscape was deeply affecting for me. I felt pretty emotional most of the time, and since I’ve been back I’ve cried a lot. I told Sam Watson Sr after seeing his play ‘Oodgeroo’ that I might just be crying for the three months I’m here.

At the same time as there was this kinda subterranean panic in me (being so far from the sea?), as the land just rolls out and rolls out and rolls out even more, past the windows of the car or whatever, just on and on, a sense of real calm arrives. I began to crave the space the more I saw of it and the more I was in it. I would go back in a heartbeat.

I don’t wanna be glib but it really put me in mind of that quote that’s often attributed to Kermit the Frog (at least in my mind): ‘Wherever you go, there you are.’

(Check out her recent blog post – Packing a lunch to cross the road – to get a full run down of her expeience in Blackall and Longreach)

 

One of the highlights of the residency is that local poets can book a time to come in and ‘talk poetry’ with you. What are some of the things you are hoping to achieve through this consultative process?

I’m hoping to learn more about poetry, and about Australia, Queensland, Brisbane, through its writers. I know how valuable it is as a poet to get some feedback about your work from trusted sources who aren’t your mates or your partner. And I know poets aren’t usually terribly wealthy. So to be able to offer some input for free to local poets is awesome.

(Indeed… if you want to book a free consult with Hinemoana you can email her at hbaker@qwc.asn.au)

 

QPF 2009 is just around the corner. What are you most looking forward to?

My partner Christine will be here by then. To be honest, being the homesick old bugger that I am, at the moment that’s what I’m most looking forward to!

Apart from that, I am keen to catch heaps of the other poets on stage and off – especially Zenobia Frost and Noelle Janaczewska. Be great to experience the one and only Santo again, too! Wooo! That boy blew me away at Speedpoets the other week.

 

Hinemoana performing at the Blackall Woolscour

Hinemoana performing at the Blackall Woolscour

 

Finally, what do you hope to leave behind as a legacy of the residency and just as importantly, what do you hope to  take away?

I’ve started making a sound piece made up of field recordings from Blackall and Longreach. I’ll thread some text through and hopefully it’ll be just like a bought one.

What do I hope to take away? I’ll take the sounds with me, and the silences.

 

Catch Hinemoana at QPF 2009:

 

Friday August 21 – 7:30pm – 10:30pm

A Tangle of Possiblilties: featuring Elizabeth Bachinsky, AF Harrold, Neil Murray & Hinemoana Baker

 

Saturday August 22 – 4:00pm – 5:00pm

No Thrill Needs Faking: featuring Mofu & the Crepe Paper Kalashnikovs & Hinemoana Baker

 

Saturday August 22 – 8:00pm

A Million Bright Things: featuring a short set from every bright thing on the 2009 program plus a feature set from the awesome Neil Murray

 

Sunday August 23 – 7:00pm – 9:00pm

Just Kissed Goodbye: feat. Paul Magee, Janet Jackson, Angela Costi, Jane Williams, Neil Murray, Elizabeth Bachinsky, Geoff Goodfellow, AF Harrold, Hinemoana Baker and the QPF Committee

 

All sessions are held at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, Brunswick St. Fortitude Valley.

For full program details head to www.queenslandpoetryfestival.com

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Sunday Morning Songs…

As a light mist of rain settles on the window, here’s a few songs that have been keeping me company lately. Enjoy your Sunday …

 

Fare Thee Well - Robert Fischer (Willard Grant Conspiracy)

WGC main man Robert Fischer here in solo acoustic mode. Word is the whole rambling ensemble are hitting our shores early 2010.

 

1897 - Seaworthy

Recorded in an a decomissioned ammunitions bunker, this album blends the bands atmspheric instrumentation and field recordings. Perfect for late nights and early mornings…

 

Lost Coastlines – Okkervil River

And to finish off… the perfect country-pop of Okkervil River. One of the live highlights of my musical year.

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