From the Tarkine, Em and I drove to Wynyard on the north coast and spent one and a half days in and around the Table Cape Lighthouse, using the acoustic to inspire new music, and also sitting outside by ourselves practising in the sun when the tourist traffic in the lighthouse became too great. (The tour-guide, Paul, conducts an excellent show-and-tell on the history of the lighthouse). The lighthouse (or lightflute as I call them) was a good place to focus and make the transition to performance mode, no longer free creators wandering in the wilderness… Thanks to Paul and Indigo for their hospitality and openness to unknown musos. The acoustic of this lighthouse was musically the best I have experienced so far. Lightflutes can be too muddy… but this one was gorgeous!
First stop after Wynyard – a quick meet and greet with Karina Clarke, the new director of Design Tasmania in Launceston; a catch-up with visual artist Gail Shepherd to discuss projections during part of our show; and a play in the space with guitarist Yyan Ng. This was followed by an interview on ABC Radio including a jam on “Remember Me” – an extremely loose improvisational interpretation of Purcell’s aria “When I am laid in earth” from his opera Dido and Aeneas. (He would have written it for shakuhachi and violin if he’d had the chance!) Then we backtracked to Em’s friends in Latrobe, Sandra & Mark. After a rest and a meal, we gave a house concert to our hosts’ friends and neighbours – a great way to try out our new material. A terrific audience with wonderful questions and great feedback. Very grateful, Mark and Sandra.
Our first “real” performance of Husshh … hearing takayna was at Design Tasmania at 7:30pm on Friday April 1st: The Design Centre, Corner Tamar and Brisbane St, Launceston. The acoustics in this cavernous stone building are fabulous, despite passing trucks. Amidst an exhibition of artworks made of wood, fabric, metal, glass… we performed our music and poetry. We opened with the raucous screech of black cockies (see my Larrikin Cacophony poem) to bring a bit of the Tarkine into an indoor setting.
During one bracket, an evocative slide show of dark images by Gail Shepherd (a fellow TiMer) were projected on a wall behind Emily as she played one of her new compositions composed at Sarah Anne Rocks (a coastal region of the Tarkine that has recently been burnt to skeletal black). Emily’s use of voice in this is so beautiful. This segued into “Heart Moon”, a shakuhachi meditation on 2.4 (A) shakuhachi. It was wonderful to have a visual component to our performance, to help transport our listeners to the world we had just experienced. Gail and I had spent a few hours together walking along a stretch of coast just south of the Edge of the World. One of the highlights of the Tarkine in Motion (TiM) project was the opportunity to meet other artists and kindred spirits, and collaborate. These are just a few of Gail’s exquisite images.
These images and header image by ©Gail Shepherd
“An exceptional evening. Such beautiful music & photography in an environment that smells as good as it looks.“ Viktoria Zagoda
“The music was sublime. I’m still floating in that wonderful evening” – a text from an audience member, 6 days after the Design Tasmania gig in Launceston.
We were joined by another TiMer in this concert: photographer Steve Ward playing his dream-tone-drum. Our first time to jam with Steve was around the final Tarkine in Motion campfire a few days before. Gail’s 9 year-old daughter Kindra declared this to be her favourite piece. Here is a sound clip of our jam: https://clyp.it/ugbdvejz
We were also joined by the multi-talented chef/ designer/ inventor… Yyan Ng on two numbers. One was a trio arrangement of “Moon over Ruins” with Yyan playing second shakuhachi; and we joined him on his own song “The Very First Light” for guitar and voice. Here is a sound clip from the gig:https://clyp.it/30swkyd0
Rowing out into the middle of the waters
The Sky lies still as the silence takes hold
White foam tide laps gently on the lake shore
Searching for remnants of the very first light
Over the hills into the middle of the mountains
Down the path before the winds through the woods
Water falls into the shimmering light
We’re the first to burst into the silent sea
Searching for the remnants of the very first light
“Not everyday you get to play one of your new songs with one of the best contemporary Shakuhachi and Violin players in Australia in one of your favourite venues. It was an absolute musical pleasure to be able to improvise this on stage and have Emily Sheppard and Anne Norman nail the intention of the piece as though we have written it together.” Yyan Ng, Facebook.
Thanks Yyan, Gail, Steve… and Karina and Kate of the Design Tasmania team. And thank you to those who came to share the night with us. Husshh … hearing takayna