WOMADelaide Interview: Jinja Safari

Jinja Safari
Image Courtesy of Jinja Safari

Jinja Safari had a massive 2011 and their 2012 shows no signs of slowing down with the band announced for both WOMADelaide and Gum Ball to kick the year off. Timber and Steel’s Evan Hughes sat down with one half of Jinja Safari’s original duo, Marcus Azon, to talk about what’s next for the band.

Evan Hughes: We first came across you guys via Husky who you toured with last year. Although you’re not a strictly folk band, despite the folk reference in your bio, we really liked your stuff so started following what you do.
Marcus Azon: When we first started we were thinking that we might just be this duo, an acoustic kind of Simon and Garfunkel or MGMT type of experience. We both really like Midlake and a lot of the new folk, medieval folk artists. And then as we became a bit more of a band it just turned into something else – a bit more of a party, a bit more wild I guess.
EH: I can see that folk was a starting point for you but that your music has come a long way since then.
MA: It’s nice that it’s happened just naturally and that we didn’t have anything specific we set out to achieve.
EH: So you’ve just been announced for a couple of festivals including WOMADelaide which is not the type of festival you’d normally play.
MA: No but it’s the sort of festivals that we’d love to go to. That’s one of the great benefits of playing in a band is all the fantastic festivals that you get to go to as a result. And if you’re lucky like us where your in a space where no one really knows who you are so you play early in the day and you’ve got the rest of the festival to enjoy yourself, really soak up some artists and have a really good think about what sort of musician and what sort of band you want to be.
EH: You’re in a pretty unique position because WOMADelaide never has too many local bands on the bill, mainly internationals. I reckon you’ll get a lot of curious locals coming up and supporting you just because you’re Australian.
MA: I think the only way we got onto the bill is because we’ve got the name of an East African town in the title of our band so I think the organisers just got confused and thought we were from Uganda [laughes].
EH: I was at WOMADelaide last year and it was fantastic – one of the most professionally run, slick festivals in the country with this really chilled out, friendly vibe. I think you’ll have a ball.
MA: That’s really good! We’re all big Peter Gabriel and Genesis fans so it’s an honour to be at something that he’s loosely associated with.
EH: Is there anyone at the festival that you’re keen to see while you’re there?
MA: There’s a few artists on the bill that I’ve heard of and have albums of but there’s a lot there that I don’t know and that’s what I’m really excited about – going and finding something none of friends are listening to and there’s no other way that I’d hear about them other than just bumbling into them by accident at a festival.
EH: You also just announced for Gum Ball festival as well.
MA: Yeah, that’s really great. I think it’s the very last show we play in Australia before we go overseas for a short little trip. It’s so so good to play these smaller, outdoor festivals where it’s just about having a great time in the field with some good vibe music. There’s nothing better.
EH: It’s got a really family, community vibe, the Gum Ball.
MA: I haven’t been but we’ve played Peats Ridge and it sounds like it’s the same vibe – kids and partiers can be in the same place and there’s no danger and no threat. Everyone can just have a great time. How a music festival should be.
EH: Those small festivals are where you discover so much music as well
MA: Absolutely. I watched a documentary on the ’69 Woodstock and boy – they already achieved back then what we’re still trying to replicate now. It’s just that we’ve got the wrong sort of drugs now, we can’t quite get there [laughs]
EH: Now your track “Mermaids” was all over the radio last year and seems to have touched a chord with people. It’s one of my favourite tracks last year – I think you guys were giving it away for free at some point…
MA: Yeah we did our second EP [Mermaids and Sirens] as a free download just because we didn’t have many overhead costs in our band. We haven’t signed to anyone and anything we’ve recorded has been at home in our bedrooms so there’s not much of a cost for us just to go straight to the guys who like our music and get in their iPods. It was a pretty easy thing to do.
EH: I think we linked to the free download from Timber and Steel and to this day we still get hits on that article.
MA: Really?
EH: Almost daily we get at least 10 people visiting that specific article. It must be pretty high up in Google.
MA: That’s great! That’s really good!
EH: I don’t think the link works anymore though. But it still gets hits even though we posted the piece mid last year. People must just like that song.
MA: It’s a fishy little song, pun intended, and it’s been pretty surprising so far how a simple song like that can turn out to be a little bit of fun. It’s certainly a fun song to play live – it’s one of those songs which came about fairly quickly and naturally and once you jam it out with two drummers, having a couple of kicks, it just makes it into something that gets very exciting.
EH: So you said you’re heading overseas. What else is coming up? Any plans to record an album?
MA: We’ve actually got about 25 new demos that we’ve been showing around to the boys and the managers and deciding which songs they like and which songs they hate and trying to figure out if there’s enough for an album in there – which it seems like there is. We’re hopefully going to release something in August and then do a tour with a whole bunch of new material.
EH: That’s definitely something to look forward to. Well thanks so much for spending some time with us today and good luck with WOMADelaide and everything else this year.
MA: Thanks man, it was a pleasure.

2012 Golden Guitar Winners

Davidson Brothers
Image Courtesy of Country Music Awards of Australia

Another Golden Guitars has come and gone and once again a host of Timber and Steel favourites made the grade. Among the big winners at this year’s Country Music Awards were Kasey Chambers, Shane Nicholson, The Bushwackers and Davidson Brothers (above).

The full list of winners is below:

Falling Into Place – Adam Harvey
Get Closer – Keith Urban
Keith Urban
Beccy Cole
Jetty Road
“Millionaires” – Beccy Cole & Kasey Chambers
“Bad Machines” – Shane Nicholson
“Children Of The Gurindji” – Sara Storer & Kev Carmody
“Sweet Emmylou” – Catherine Britt
“I Am Australian” – The Bushwackers
OMFG – Davidson Brothers
“Channel Country Ground” – Written by Merv Maltman, recorded by Dean Perrett & Lee Kernaghan
Matt Fell
Ted Howard
Mark Punch

New Popeye Starring Video from Wilco “Dawned on Me”

Popeye Wilco
Image Courtesy of Wilco

Have you seen the new Wilco video featuring the band in a Popeye cartoon? It’s pretty sweet. The clip was created by King Features in partnership with dBpm Records and features the track “Dawned on Me” from Wilco’s 2011 album The Whole Love. Watch it below:

Told you it was sweet. If you can’t get enough of the Wilco/Popeye goodness check out wilcospinach.com and have a bit of a click around. Apparently Wilco branded spinach is coming soon…

Trampled By Turtles Annonce New Album Stars and Satellites

Trampled by Turtles
Image Courtesy of Trampled By Turtles

US new-grass five piece Trampled By Turtles have just announced a brand new album. Set for release on the 10th April the album is titled Stars and Satellites and that’s the cover art right there up top.

A “making of” video for the album has also been released by Trampled By Turtles which you can watch below:

Do you like the track you can hear in the background of that video? That’s the first single from Stars and Satellites called “Alone”. You can listen to the whole thing below:

To preorder the CD and get all sorts of other info check out the official Trampled By Turtles site here.

MoFo February Lineup

String Contingent
Image Courtesy of The String Contingent

Sydney based monthly folk night MoFo has a really exciting year ahead of it in 2012 – trust us, we were chatting to the organisers and some of the names they were dropping were pretty darn impressive. Take the February lineup for instance: you’ve got Sydney based folk quintet Chaika who combine everything from klezmer to eastern rhythms to jazz and celtic and virtuosic instrumental trio The String Contingent (above) who have so much buzz on the folk scene at the moment we’d be surprised if you haven’t already caught them at a festival or gig somewhere.

MoFo has relocated to its new home upstairs at The Gaelic Club in Surry Hills. The February edition will take place on the 10th from 8pm and entry is $20 (or $15 for concession and NSW Folk Federation members). For more details make sure you check out MoFo on Facebook

Secret Garden Festival Announces First Lineup

Fanny Lumsden
Image Courtesy of Fanny Lumsden

The Secret Garden Festival, held an hours drive from Sydney, may have already sold out this year but that doesn’t mean we can’t get excited about the lineup. Held on St Patrick’s Day, the 17th March, the Secret Garden Festival boasts a program of art, music and dance that is very very Timber and Steel friendly.

The lineup this year includes Owl Eyes, Georgia Fair, Tin Sparrow, Jack Carty, Fanny Lumsden (above), Emma Davis and many many more. For information on how to volutneer for the festival (as that’s the only way in now) and more check out the official web site. The full first round lineup of artists is below:

The Aston Shuffle DJs
Owl Eyes
New Navy
Georgia Fair
Alison Wonderland
Horse Meat Disco (UK)
Tin Sparrow
Jack Carty
Fanny Lumsden
Kira Puru and the Bruise
Joyride (DJ Set)
The Preachers
Sticky Fingers
Emma Davis
The Essential Stix
Evan and the Brave

Timber and Steel Exclusive: Pear and the Awkward Orchestra Video Debut “Castle”

Pear and the Awkward Orchestra
Image Courtesy of Pear and the Awkward Orchestra

Quirky Brisbane based folk-pop collective Pear and the Awkward Orchestra released their debut album Smocks! mid last year and we’re lucky enough to be premiering the video for their latest single “Castle”. This cute mixture of stop motion and some brilliant hand acting is well worth checking out below:

Pear and the Awkward Orchestra are about to hit the road to support the launch of “Castle” with dates all along the eats coast. If you like what you’ve just heard (and if you’re anything like us you’ve replayed the video more than once) make sure you get along to one of these shows in February. Ticket and support information is on the offical Pear and the Awkward Orchestra web site.

Friday 3rd February – Sound Lounge, Currumbin QLD
Saturday 4th February – Sol Bar, Maroochydore QLD
Wednesday 8th February – Dowse Bar, Paddington, QLD (Pear Solo)
Saturday 11th February – Upfront Club, Maleny, QLD
Sunday 12th February – It’s Vintage Darling, Annerley, Brisbane QLD
Thursday 16th February – Queen St Mall, Brisbane
Friday 17th February – Great Northern Hotel, Newcastle NSW (Pear Solo)
Wednesday 22nd February – FBi Social, Sydney NSW
Thursday 23rd February – Yours & Owls, Wollongong NSW
Saturday 25th February – Grace Darling, Melbourne VIC
Sunday 26th February – Pure Pop (In-Store), Melbourne VIC

M. Ward Announces New Solo Album

M. Ward
Image Courtesy of M. Ward

After a couple of years dabbling in the collaborative space in She & Him and Monsters of Folk M. Ward has announced a brand new solo album.

The album, titled A Wasteland Companion, is due for release on the 10th April and will feature appearances from Zooey Deschanel, Mogis, Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth), Howe Gelb (Giant Sand), John Parish (PJ Harvey) and more.

The full track listing for A Wasteland Companion is below:

1. Clean Slate (For Alex & El Goodo)
2. Primitive Girl
3. Me and My Shadow
4. Sweetheart
5. I Get Ideas
6. The First Time I Ran Away
7. A Wasteland Companion
8. Watch the Show
9. There’s a Key
10. Crawl After You
11. Wild Goose
12. Pure Joy

Don McLean and The Dubliners Awarded BBC Radio 2 Lifetime Folk Awards

Don McLean
Image Courtesy of Don McLean

In the lead up to this year’s BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards two absolutely living folk legends have been honoured with lifetime achievement awards.

Don McLean, best known for his iconic pub singalong “American Pie” and the oft covered “Vincent”, and Irish trad greats The Dubliners are both being recognised at this year’s award ceremony to be held on the 8th February in the UK.

We’ll be sure to bring you all the other winners after they have been announced. Until then enjoy this slice of classic Dubliners:

Australia Day Gets Folky at The Rocks, Sydney

Sam Buckingham
Image Courtesy of Sam Buckingham

If you’re a fan of live music and find yourself at a loose end in Sydney this Australia Day, the 26th January, you should really head down to The Rocks for the The Australia Day Festival of The Voice. A bunch of music stages, markets and historic pubs – what more could you want? How about a lineup of artists that include a who’s who of Timber and Steel favourites including Sam Buckingham (above), Boy Outside, Harry James Angus, Busby Marou, Archie Roach, Ngaiire, Mikelangelo and The Tin Star, Rescue Ships, Blue King Brown and Caitlin Park.

The event is absolutely free and we have the full set times below. Check out the official web site for more information.

Harbour Song – Campbells Cove
11.30am – 12pm Sam Buckingham
12.15pm – 12.45pm Boy Outside
1.15pm – 2pm Hey Big Aki
2.30pm – 3.15pm The Harry James Angus Band
3.45pm – 4.30 Emma Louise
5pm – 6pm Busby Marou
6.30pm – 7pm Archie Roach

Street Song – George Street
12pm – 12.45pm Steve Smyth
1pm – 1.45pm Ngaiire
2.15pm – 3pm Ernest Ellis & The Panamas
3.30pm – 4.15pm Mikelangelo and The Tin Star with Saint Clare
4.45pm – 5.30pm Rescue Ships
6pm – 7pm Mojo Juju
7.30pm – 8.30pm Blue King Brown

Play Song – The Rocks Square
11.45am – 12.15pm Circular Rhythm
12.30pm – 1pm Circular Rhythm
1.15pm – 2pm Electric Lunchbox
2.30pm – 3.15pm Dodadums
3.45pm – 4.30pm Mark Wilkinson
5pm – 5.45pm Ali Hughes & Daryl
6.15pm – 7pm Caitlin Park

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