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Report on the first series of Music of The World
Music of the World Series 1 was a huge success in many ways. The report from Jenolan Caves event manager Domino Hollbrook-Cove was that it was un-heard of that a first time organiser puts a concert and sells all seats!!” Actually” she said,” no one had sold more than 50 tickets for a first concert in a series. Project organiser Meg Benson is dedicated to showcasing a selection of highly accomplished artists and maintaining an inclusive approach by providing some subsidised tickets and some free transport. All this augurs well for the future of Music of the world, which is an ongoing concert and workshop series via a mini tour.
The 2 morning workshops were conducted on “improvisation” with Andy Busuttil and “harmonic overtone vocal technique” with Mongolian Performer Bukhu. The workshops were held in Jenolan Caves conference rooms and were well attended by experienced and inexperienced musicians. Some individual students from Mitchell conservatorium whom had never been in a group workshop before began to improvise for the first time.
Grahame King, Blue Mountains, Local Aboriginal didgeridoo player and friend of organiser Meg Benson, attended with his family and played didgeridoo kicking off the out door official opening ceremony. Grahame also played in the cave and sung a short song for the spirit of the cave. The beauty and array of the many harmonies coming from the 17 members from Bathurst Multicultural Choir combined with the courage of the workshop participants who also performed at the opening held the attention of large groups of tourists and concertgoers.
The main event was of course the concert in the cave and was thrilling beyond comprehension for all. Local Blue Mountains group, Oud Vibrations opened the set with traditional and original Middle Eastern grooves. Bukhchuluun Gandberged then did a set of traditional and original Mongolian tunes. He performed a well know favourite, the famous song from “Weeping Camel” the movie, which, as a matter of fact, his own band recorded for the soundtrack, but during a time when Bukhu was working elsewhere in the globe. The highlight of Series 1, Music of the world was the combined set of mostly improvised music with the Turkish sounds from the oud and darabuka fused with the energetic Mongolian Horse Head Fiddle style that Bukhu gives to his performances and topped off with the gob smacking, fascinating vocal technique where he some how manages to sing two to three notes at once and using different parts of the throat and nose to influence the resonant and almost unbelievable sound.
This unique combination of artists evoked mountains of positive feed back from satisfied audiences:
”Thank you once again for such an amazing weekend, I had been feeling quite isolated and the subsidised ticket made it possible for me on my low income to attend! A friend saw me this morning. She said that I'd obviously needed it because I looked like I'd been "born again." Elizabeth Gray
“Gunnar and I loved the concert on Saturday. Gunnar (12 yrs) wants to attend the whole series! We would actually like to buy a CD with Bukhu’s music.” Monique van Toor
“That was awesome! I learnt how to do Mongolian throat singing with the harmonic technique that Bukhu taught us in the workshop. I am going to incorporate that technique into my song writing”. Malachi Lonsdale (18 yrs)
“That was a great experience to perform in the opening and I had not expected myself to pick up confidence in improvisation so quickly after just one morning workshop, and only after one year of learning clarinet. It was a buzz”. Sue Hayes
This article/interview first appeared in Arts Sunday, January 1, 2012.
Maryanne Jaques, Arts OutWest
The first Music of the World concert at Jenolan Caves on Saturday January 7 brings together a Mongolian throat singer, migrant and refugee musicians and local performers for a day of music in one of the region’s most stunning performance settings.
But it’s not just about hearing great music. The event includes public workshops and has been designed to bring a diverse audience of people together.
I caught up with organiser Meg Benson to find out more about this musical experience.
How did the idea for Music of the World come about?
"It’s the result of holding several good intentions over time and bringing them together in one event.
“I have always valued music and arts as a personal medicine. Through this I have always had friends who are accomplished musicians, I have enjoyed being exposed to new and different sounds from diverse cultures and I became shocked at how hard it is for a serious musician in Australia to make a profession of it especially since it is such a joy to experience.
"I wanted to share this with people especially people who don’t normally get out to events. Therefore the idea of free transport and subsidised tickets became a priority. The need to celebrate and learn about diversity is present in our region as we are away from the melting pot of western Sydney. This is a way to promote intrigue in difference.
"Mitchell Conservatorium also liked the educational opportunity this project would bring to their students and teachers by exposing concert and workshop opportunities on appreciation of non western styles of music.”
Tell us about the performers you have lined up
“These musicians all play culturally diverse music often on rather exotic instruments and at times with quite different tunings and rhythmic patterns. Some of the musicians are from afar, like buckhu, who is a Mongolian throat singer, and some of our talented musicians such as Oud Vibrations have been sourced from our very own region. All the musicians have a capacity to transport us to magical places and are highly accomplished musicians and workshop facilitators.”
Who are you most looking forward to seeing perform?
“All of them. It will be unique because each of them have adapted their show to be an acoustic only performance. There are unusual musical partnerships that form and this opening show of Bukhu with Oud Vibrations is a rare event. The shamanic sounds of Mongolia involves a mesmerising horse head fiddle which is actually played more like a cello along with harmonic overtone vocal technique that basically mean the voice is singing more than one note at once.
“This will be fused together in one concert with middle eastern grooves and the transcendental sound of the Oud which is a Turkish instrument and it will be played in Arabic tuning which is quite fascinating. The Bathurst Multicultural Choir will also perform at the official opening ceremony.
“I am looking forwards to discovering accomplished migrant and refugee musicians whom may not have found a platform to shine on in Australia yet. I look forward to including this focus into the program as Music of the world continues to develop.”
What does the workshop component involve?
“From 10.30 in the morning for 2 hours participants will learn music from experienced teachers and performers.
“The two workshops are on Harmonic overtone vocal technique with Bukhu; and a workshop on improvisation using wind instruments or voice or percussion with Andy Busuttil. Beginners are welcome to either of these. The last part of the workshop involves the two groups coming together for 15 minutes improvisation.
What are you hoping audiences will get out of the festival?
“I hope they leave inspired. To appreciate we live in a big world with a wonderful collection of musical styles. To meet new people and experience joy and wonder. To leave with a feeling of ‘that was so good, it was not to be missed and I can't wait to bring my friends next time’.”
Why did you pick Jenolan Caves as the venue?
“Jenolan Caves have hosted concerts for 20 years and this is because of the perfect acoustics to be found deep in the cathedral chamber of the Lucas Caves.
“Aside from Jenolan Caves being in the middle of the Blue Mountains, Lithgow, Oberon and Bathurst it is a lot closer than the Sydney Opera House and it is a destination that people from all over the world visit. It is an inspiring environment that lends itself to rich imaginings and offers a range accommodation to make a lovely weekend out of it.
“I don't think us locals should miss out on the merits of our local environment. We journey to a deep underground place to see the concert and then the concert will take the listener deep places of experience.”
For more information go to www.musicoftheworld.org or call Jenolan Caves.
Caption: The Bathurst Multicultural Choir are some of the local performers joining musicians from all over the world at Jenolan Caves on January 7. Photo: Maryanne Jaques/ Arts OutWest.
Marvel at Music of the World in the Caves Jan 7th
The Music of the World concert and workshop series has an impressively high standard of performers that represent some of the best that Australia has to offer in terms of world music.
The official opening includes an underground concert staring renowned Mongolian throat singer, Bukhchulluun Gangburged (Bukhu) and Middle Eastern groove specialists Oud Vibrations (Robinson and Busuttil) in the pristine acoustics of the Cathedral Chamber in the spectacular Lucas Cave.
This concert explores the ethereal sounds of Mongolian throat singing, Morin Khurr (Horse Head Fiddle) and Oud (a lute named after the Arabic word for wood), woven together with the percussion from darabuka and frame drums. Witness this musical fusion of rarity and resonance, in a pristine acoustic environment. Starts at 4pm til 6pm including a Lucas cave tour.
“Audiences will be transported to new realms of experience and be intrigued by difference. Furthermore, the Music of the World Partnership is committed to fostering a taste for high quality music appreciation, especially the love of discovering sounds from culturally diverse backgrounds.” stated Meg Benson, who initiated Music of the World.
The mornings workshops start at 10.30 am til 12.30 pm and focus on:
1/. Mongolian throat singing with Bukhu: harmonic overtone vocal techniques.
2/. Making music with Andy Busuttil: create beautiful music together using instruments including voice and percussion as well as wind. Improvisation in music will be the focus. BYO instruments.
The workshops are tailored with an inclusive approach to skilfully interest both the accomplished musician and the beginner. ‘Building familiarity with the sound of an instrument (be it voice, wind, strings or percussion) is a natural and celebratory human experience. Music is for everyone!” declared Ms Benson
Don’t miss the opening celebration in the main precinct near the ticket office 1.15 pm till 1.45 pm FREE. The celebration includes Bathurst multi- cultural choir plus a performance by the workshop participants.
Come along for the day or the weekend, there will be free time to explore the magical scenery and discover the Caves’ Platypus colony.
Important: Rug up, as it is cool in the cave and wear good walking shoes for the 252 steps. BYO picnic lunch or purchase on site.
To book: ring Jenolan Caves Ticket Office on 1300 76 33 11 & visit musicoftheworld.org for more information.