Monday, April 1, 2013

Feeling the light

From the redemption of Sweet Honey and Ben Harper to the Buffalo Soldier of Xavier Rudd, Bob Marley is all over this festival. Even on the t-shirt of Ruthie Foster's drummer.

Last night I felt the love from Allen Stone's brilliant rendition of Single Bed. This white kid is black all over. Part preacher calling his people to god, he is a shining tuneful soul on stage backed by a tight band and mixing the covers with his own upbeat tunes. Hallelujah!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Take an old song and make it better

Great music here!

I'm told Steve Kilbey was on Rockwiz Fri but I missed it. Best was Ruthie Foster's soulful rendition of Ring of Fire. Shuggie Otis was fantastic, and Taj Mahal.

And then on Sat Sweet Honey in the Rock did Redemption song.

It is early in the morning and I woke up too soon. Bring me a slow ballad for an hour or two.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Bluesfest 2013

Highlight last night - Rodriguez playing Dylan's Like a rolling stone, backed by members of Midnight Oil, Violent Femmes and Hunters and Collectors. Ben Harpers slide guitar was masterful. Today Shuggie Otis and Santana and more Ben!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

How brightly they shine

This city is about to reach a major birthday, 100 years as the capital of Australia.  A political centre that has grown over time, drawing people to it from across the country and the globe, Canberra continues to build as a centre of creativity and thought.  Though many Australians would deny it, this city has a lot that captures the imagination.

Recently tagged the second most liveable city in Australia, and let down only by its extremes of weather, tonight it is pleasantly warm, and a great evening to explore Enlighten, now an annual festival that makes the most of the city's public buildings.   Colour, light, and movement - and everyone is out with their cameras and tripods, families and friends.  As enchanting as the pictures on the buildings, couples and families poise like statues, young and old, waiting for the pictures to change, and celebrating together the beauty of this event.  Enlighten is part of the Canberra Centenary festival, and will continue through to 9 March.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

I'm sorry Shane Howard

I'm sorry Shane Howard, I googled you on my phone while watching your show as the opener for Carole King.
I'm sorry Shane Howard, I didn't remember you were the singer of the Goanna Band's hit song from the 80s about Ayers Rock.
I'm sorry Shane Howard, I didn't realise your website was going to launch into playing that song.
I'm sorry Shane Howard, I should know my phone better,
I tried squeezing my phone, and swiping it to get the browser menu up, but nothing worked.
I'm so so sorry...
- it was me playing Solid Rock from the audience while you were introducing it, and me who couldn't turn it off.
I'm sorry Shane Howard, but I did enjoy much of your show, especially the song you opened with - I'd rather be here.  It was wonderful.

Special mention should be made of Carole King's fantastic show that followed.  It is, in fact, her birthday today (thanks google).  So Happy Birthday Carole, and thank you for writing the sound track to our lives, for continuing to sing it so beautifully and for being such a glowing and energetic performer.  What an inspiration!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Song to the city

Just went for another evening walk.  I am not far from Parliament House and tonight I heard the sounds of the Australia Day concert as I strolled.  Australia Day is celebrated tomorrow - the anniversary of the first European settlement.  As one brave candidate for Australian of the Year said - maybe it's time to debate the date and find a better day that acknowledges the centuries of Aboriginal settlement that came before.

There is not much to say about the music drifting from the concert - mainstream Australian artists, some who've been around forever (Jimmy Barnes) and a few Australian idol winners or runners up (Guy Sebastian, Timomatic).   It's nice to be close to a celebration though.

We are expecting other local celebrations this year.  I was just reminded from the Parliament House website that the building is 25 years old.  That is ancient for Canberra.  We are still a young city.  Our centenary falls this year, but we've really only grown from a country town in the late 50s and early 60s.

Today the population of Canberra is about 350,000 working in the public service and service industries.  It is still a place where there are usually three degrees of separation, not the often quoted six - most people you meet know someone who knows someone you know.  It's a livable city though - good restaurants, lots of theatre, music and genuine people.

There is a confusing richness of events planned for Canberra's centenary - many will take place during Canberra Week in mid March.  One of the objectives is to increase national pride in Canberra.  As the capital city, and therefore the political centre, it can be the subject of some disdain from other Australians.  It seems we have set out to improve the way Australians view their capital by having the world's longest champagne bar - surely a quaint way indeed to show our worth.  Also learnt today of some kind of build them up knock them down event in the city - building a city out of cardboard boxes - I bought tickets to that!  It all reminds me of our Y2K celebrations - water skiing on our lake, and planes in formation overhead.

Canberra was designed by Walter and Marion Griffin, a husband and wife team from America.  The central components are built around the natural geography - triangles that fall between the local hills, with a man-made lake in the centre.  I was once told by a friend of the mystical powers of a location down by the lake (from where we watched the water skiing), and that the Griffins intended that this (and Canberra) would become a centre of creativity.  Perhaps, like all creativity, it takes time to mature.  Maybe 100 years, and a long line of champagne will see that happening sooner rather than later.

Before the March party we get a day off for Australia Day - Monday is a public holiday though the actual day is tomorrow.   Apparently it is traditional to have a barbecue on Australia Day - something I've never (ever) done.  I've been invited to a barbecue tomorrow though, so that will be something new.

Enjoy your weekend, wherever you are.  I will be sleeping in.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The hammock swing

It is still hot.  I drink water.  I sit in air conditioned restaurants with friends who don't want to be outside in the heat.  I love the heat though.

So sometime after I get home, after 9pm, I head off.  I walk.  One foot in front of the other, across the bridge down the bike path, under the trees.  I walk along the path I usually run, cutting through the warm air.  Moving forward.  One step.  Then the next.

At first I am walking just to walk.  Then I remember a destination, a place I have run past many times, and though it always catches my interest, the rhythm of my runs stop me from stopping.  Walking there is taking longer than running, but I have more time to observe. I walk down the path and pass houses with their lights on, their occupants inside, resting and avoiding the heat.  One house has fairy lights stretched through its garden, passable as backyard decoration, rather than Christmas.  Surely it is too late for that.  These are lazy summer days, hot and begging us to rest.

The path stretches on.  My feet keep moving, and my mind quietens.  I cross roads.  I think about the dark, and feel safe, though I am alone, a little melancholy and wishing I had some company.   Then I arrive at the park, and find it free.  I jump on the swing hammock and it rocks underneath me.  I could fall asleep as I rock, and I wonder if I could stay here on this swing in the Canberra suburbs all night.

Above me the silhouette of the canopy spreads across the sky, behind that clouds and breaking through them a crescent moon, and stars.  I close my eyes and rock, then open them to enjoy the trees. I am in no hurry to move, happy just lying here.

Then suddenly I hear voices.  The end of this rest, I think, and jump up quickly.  Without hesitation I begin walking again, heading back home, this time along the road.  My peace disturbed I feel a little less safe, but quickly regather.  My own shadow towers over me as I walk home, and I know that any other would appear quickly too.  The occasional car drives past and adds to my comfort.  And there are no people about.

It is hot.  But I love the heat.  One day, maybe, I will live in a place that is hot like this most of the year, somewhere where most of the people step out of their houses on nights like this, and there is no reason to fear a voice in the night.  And where some of those people might walk with me.