Mar(k): Travel, Hiking, and "Doing Good"

musings on our life of travel and volunteering

Why difficult listening is music to my ears – and why the Australia Council must continue

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The past ten days have been a pleasurable, and sometimes challenging aural journey.  I was the lucky recipient of a double pass to Tura Music’s Totally Huge New Music Festival.  It has been fantastic, and I am very grateful for the opportunity presented in the past ten days to hear some innovative, contemporary music from some amazing artists.

The music was sometimes challenging

The music was sometimes challenging

Musical genres often cross over between one another, and it is sometimes a blurry distinction between one musical form and its neighbour.  And it is safe to say that Mark and I are pretty “open eared” when it comes to difficult listening (thank you, RTR FM for giving artists a chance to be played and heard – we particularly love your Difficult Listening program, as well as Giant Steps).  We love modern jazz, and avant grade stuff really floats our boat.  (NB:  best musical week of our lives was the week long extravaganza that John Zorn played last year in Adelaide for the Adelaide Festival).  But “new” music, or “nu” music, as it is sometimes called, is a cross over genre for us.   Sometimes classically influences, sometimes jazz, and sometimes just cutting edge weirdness.  We like it!

Anyhow, with the New Music Festival now behind us, we can reflect on some highlights.  There were some challenging pieces:  Cat Hope was tearing it up on electric bass at Jimmy’s Den on a few nights  (my ears are still bleeding).  Vocalist Alice Hui-Sheng Chang was very cutting edge (me thinks the Denmark Festival of Voice is in for a bit of a shock)!  And we got to enjoy some of the local jazz talent who we know very well, in the trio of Fatin / Reid / Winton.

Enjoying the Young Composers Night was certainly a highlight – never before had we heard a saxophone orchestra.  We liked being challenged by Alamos Betty in a performance that was reminiscent of punk, and used found objects to assist in the music making mayhem.  And then there was the cube-cum-instrument experience of hearing a cardboard box as a percussive sound.  Loved it.

Using the humble cardboard box as a music instrument at the Young Composers Night

Using the humble cardboard box as a music instrument at the Young Composers Night

For sheer virtuosity, we loved the piano brilliance of Zubin Kanga, as well as the exceptional closing program which featured percussionist Claire Edwardes, Louise Devenish and Ashley Smith (whose clarinet playing inspires me to perhaps one day pick up this instrument myself).

A highlight was the piano wizardry of Zubin Kanga

A highlight was the piano wizardry of Zubin Kanga

This wonderfully curated festival has only highlighted to us the importance of keeping the cultural vibrancy of Australian musicians going.  Something that is in jeopardy due to the recent announcements by our myopic government, and its proposal to divert funds away from the Australia Council (an independent funding body), and into the grip of the Minister of the Arts (a self-proclaimed man who likes his music straight ahead, good for the masses, with no discordant notes to be heard).  As one of the artists mentioned, putting the funding of music into the Minsiter’s hands would be like giving the Minister of Sport the right to choose our Olympic team.  Not really a place we want to be going.  Must sign off now – I am off to write to my local MP about why this is such a bad idea.

I hope you click on some of the hotlinks above, and have a listen to some of these fabulous artists.   ABC Classic FM also recorded a lot of the festival events, which will get this great music out to more people, via pod cast and broadcast.  Now THAT is music to my ears.

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Written by Mar(k)

May 24, 2015 at 9:39 pm

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