I have recently been commissioned to record a compilation of music by the Fitzroy Learning Network (FLN) and the Ecumenical Migration Center (EMC). Many of the new migrants and refugees arrive in Melbourne with amazing musical abilities, and often an ambitious sense of what can be achieved. This ambition can quickly deflate, however, when it becomes apparent how difficult it is to make a living creating music in this country. The compilation is a way of providing performance and recording opportunities, alongside a sort of mentoring program where musicians witness and participate in the process from the beginning to its end. The compilation will be released sometime around April, to coincide with national youth week. I am hoping Angel’s Voices (a rhumba band from the Democratic Republic of Congo), Tabura (a West Papuan Reggae band), Big W and the Nubian Knights (both Sudanese Hip-Hop) Varuni (a Sri Lankan electro-pop project), Rasta Unity (a Brazilian Reggae group), Kamilo Mayan (a Sudanese Pop musician), Moortu (a Sierra Leone percussionist who learnt to drum during his years spent in a refugee camp in Ghana) and a Sudanese Choir will all have contributions to make to the compilation. I have also set myself the task of trying to find a Vietnamese Pop band within the next two weeks, as I have been listening to a lot of South East Asian music recently and really want to include a track. I will try to keep this page updated with how the project is going. Meanwhile here are a few photos of what’s been happening so far.
Click here for Varuni’s Myspace page
It’s been a busy couple of weeks at ¡ah!puch! The compilation is going well, though the date has been pushed back to some time in June, which I think will co-incide with Refugee Week. Angel’s Voices have been working on some new tracks which are sounding good so far, though there is still more work to be done. Varuni has delivered a track which is about asylum experience. Tabura, the West Papuan reggae band have started work on a track, with Ronnie & Donnie laying down the bass and drums for what sounds like it’s going to be a pretty progressive reggae track. Unfortunately for Sixta we were recording until late and she missed out on some of her beauty sleep. Sorry, Sixta. Yesterday I was working with Nubian Knights, a young Sudanese hip-hop group from the West side. Zadin, Bangs & Hannah came down an we worked on some beats and basic lyric ideas. Today I’ve got Big W coming in to get started on some beats. And tomorrow night I’ve got Kamilo Mayan coming in for some African pop. It’s all happening. Not much luck with finding a Vietnamese pop band, but I still have one or two more leads to follow up. Sunday I’ll be heading down to the Footscray Community Arts Centre from 2-7pm for various live African music organised by Diafrix. It’s free and you should try to make it down if you can. Here are some photos from the past week or two. Peace!
Monga from Angel’s Voices
Machinda from Angel’s Voices
Nibe, Olina & Juliet from Angel’s Voices
Donnie from Tabura
Ronnie from Tabura
Sixta from Tabura
Zadin, Hannah & Bangs from Nubian Knights
With a bit of a set-back from the flood a couple of weeks ago, the compilation is back on track. By the end of this week I am hoping to have most of the songs recorded, then it is just a matter of mixing and mastering. Since last writing I’ve had Big W & Dismas come through, working on a beat, Bangs & Ez have brought their friend Morris B (from ‘West Ridaz’) down, Tabura have been in with a young MC named Phil from Mildura, I’ve finished my track with Moortu with help from Monte Morgan on backing vocals, and the Dombai Dance Group, a traditional Sudanese dancing and drumming group have been in. No luck finding a Vietnamese pop band, and the Brazilian reggae band Rasta Unity probably won’t make it on either, due to lack of time. I was having mate (a traditional Argenitian tea) with my friends Gonzalo and Lucy at the Magic Lantern recently and they suggested I meet a friend of theirs who lives upstairs. He’s an older indigenous man who plays didgeridoo, and since then I have been thinking that I would like to finish the comilation with a didgeridoo piece to localise the nature of the compilation. With all this music coming from so many parts of the world, it is easy to forget that all this is happening right here in Melbourne.
Big W & Dismas
Ronnie & Donnie from Tabura, back in the Studio
The Dombai Dance Group
The Dombai Dance Group
I finished mastering yesterday, and everything is sounding great. Thanks to Rhys for helping me mix the last few days and to Tim Cole for mastering the mix. Also there is a late addition to the compilation of Danny Atlaw, an Ethiopian jazz pianist. The compilation will be up shortly and you’ll finally be able to hear what it sounds like!