So it’s Australia Day…
I am not one for all the nationalistic flag waving that seems to have taken a stronghold in our culture these days, in fact, I find it downright frightening.
I do, however, often celebrate the greatness of this country through poetry & song. So if you are looking for a good hit of Australian sounds today, here’s my tips:
I came across this fantastic archive of Australian & New Zealand poets reading their work as part of last year’s NZ Electronic Poetry Centre’s two-part symposium held in Auckland & Sydney. It features readings by some of our finest contemporary poets – Ken Bolton, Pam Brown, John Tranter, Peter Minter, Jill Jones & last year’s winner of the Val Vallis Award for an unpublished poem, Michelle Cahill. There’s plenty of good stuff to dive into… so head to the NZEPC Page and slip inside a poem or three.
And if it’s Australian songs you want… then here’s my big three:
More than any other album, The Triffids - Born Sandy Devotional, captures the vastness of Australia. Wide Open Road is such an important song… David McComb’s voice still grips my heart tightly and the band ache inside me. It is a song of longing… a song of distance & light.
I recall a schoolboy coming home/ through fields of cane/ to a house of tin and timber/ And in the sky/ a rain of falling cinders
Cattle & Cane is a song you can attach memories to, more like a painting than a story. With it’s elegant acoustic/electric arrangement and distinctively Australian lyric, it has become an important part of the fabric of our sonic landscape.
In 2008, Under the Milky Way was voted by a readers of The Weekend Australian as the best Australian song of the last 20 years. The shimmering beauty of this song is timeless… a true classic. Am so looking forward to seeing the band play a special one off show – A Psychedelic Symphony - at the Sydney Opera House this April with the George Ellis Orchestra. 30 years and The Church are still looking forward…
And if you have not seen Steve Kilbey’s ARIA Hall-of-Fame acceptance speech, do yourself a favour. Pure brilliance!
So that’s my sounds of Australia… Enjoy!