Down the Garden Path

I've been doing a lot of living offline recently because of gigs and festivals. Every time I come home, I have a few days before I have to leave again. (This has actually been my life all of January) 

The craziness started Thursday evening with a gig at the Gaelic Club. Button Collective opened for the East Pointers (who are a crazy good Folk/Celtic Trio from Canada) From there, we proceeded to spend the rest of the weekend at Bulli for the Illawarra Folk Festival. 

Shirt: Thrifted, Belt: Home Made, Skorts: Home Made, Tights: Ebay, Boots: Dr Martens 

Shirt: Thrifted, Belt: Home Made, Skorts: Home Made, Tights: Ebay, Boots: Dr Martens 

I adore Folk Festivals. There's such a special vibe surrounding them, probably because most people who attend also play music. Unlike commercial festivals, there's virtually no separation between artists and patrons, which makes everything feel super intimate and community oriented.

Illawarra was such a great festival. I met so many cool people, saw so much brilliant music, had so many great Jams, played some great gigs with Button Collective, and played some unexpected gigs with Rebecca Bastoli (Who is not only a lovely person, but a great songwriter. I had so much fun playing with her and her band) and Scarlete's Revenge (They had unexpected lineup troubles, so I had a jam with them to cover some parts they were missing). 

Usually after a festival I spend the next few days recovering and feeling sad that I'm not still there playing all the gigs and jamming all the time. I had none of that as Monday and Tuesday I was occupied with Flutation, which is an Annual Flute Summer School run by Rosalie Bourne and Vanessa Ropa. 

I was lucky enough to be put in a smallish ensemble of great Flutists lead by Rosamund Plummer. She picked out some great repertoire (We played a Flute Quartet arrangement of a Bach Piano invention (I don't remember which one) and a Piece by Gary Schocker called Pop) I pretty much spent the whole time taking my Bass flute for a spin in this ensemble. I also participated in Shawn Barlow's Beatboxing workshop, and Luke Gallen's improv workshop, which were brilliantly run and quite educational. 

Shapes is also back in action as of this week! We had a jam to write some fresh music, and will probably start gigging again in March, which will be lovely.

This is my last night at home before I'm off yet again (this time for a wedding!) So it may be more than a few days between posts.

Kangaroo Valley 2015

ShoesI attended my first official folk festival (The 10th Kangaroo Valley Folk Festival) last weekend as part of The Button Collective (which is why I haven't posted in a number of days).  Kangaroo Valley was such a lovely introduction to the folk festival community, and I can honestly say, as a musician, it's one of the few places I've truly felt musically at home. looking down

We played as a 6 piece over the festival (with the button's usual festival musicians), which was a completely new experience for me.  There were two button's I'd never met -  Bobby (fiddle) and Ben (Banjo/harmonica) (they're the lovely chap's you hear on all the button's recordings). It was an absolute pleasure performing/hanging with the full band. Performing with them (as a 6 piece) felt natural (especially with Bobby. We had our own little melody party section going up on stage - twas fun yo)

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Apart from performing with the Button's, I joined in as many sessions as I could. For those of you who've not heard this term before, a session is basically when a bunch of musicians get together and play a bunch of music (often from memory). I love playing folk music, but have not memorised many tunes, meaning if I wanted to play the melody I had to work it out either by listening, watching how/where the other musicians fingers moved, or a combination of both.

I'm not used to learning that quickly by using my ear, but by the end of the festival, I found my fingers co-operating to the pitches played by other musicians (which, for someone who is used to learning music visually, completely bizarre in the best possible way)

quinton and jen 2

I fell deeply in love with an instrument. There was one instrument maker selling transverse flutes. I tried all of his flutes, and connected with one (which I brought home - I'm currently mapping out the fingering so I can eventually play it properly as a part of Vanishing Shapes) It's made of Osage Orange, has a base tuning scale of E Phrygian Dominant, and speaks unlike any flute I've ever played (It's got a very round mellow tone, but doesn't cross into fuzzy sounding)

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One of my favourite things about the festival was that pretty much everyone played an instrument, and that everyone who could play was peachy keen to play with everyone else. The music was the most important thing at the event, and it showed.

Quinton and Jen 1

Hopefully Kangaroo Valley will be the first of many folk festivals to come for me, as both part of the Button Collective and as Vanishing Shapes. (The Dream would be to play a festival as part of both bands!)

Finally, I'd love to say a big thankyou to all of the organisers of the event. Because of people like you I get to play the music I love with the people that I love, and that's the best thing ever. <3

 

The St Albans that wasn't

wpid-pict_20150425_155740.jpg About a week and a half ago my band decided to do a YOLO, purchase some tickets to the St Albans folk festival and play all of the blackboard sessions to get our sound out there/meet new cool peeps. We ran into a slight spot of bother with the rain storm this week. The road to St Albans is not sealed and its right next to the river, meaning the folk festival was cancelled (it might be postponed, but I haven't checked yet. Anyway, point is we didn't end up at the festival) We decided to go camping anyway and jam/write some music at Wiseman's ferry (which is pretty close to St Albans).

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There were quite a few people at the same campsite who'd travelled a long way for the festival and had the same plan as us, so we ended up having an impromptu "black board" style music day.

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We met so many awesome people and played so much awesome music. You can be sure we'll be going to more folk festivals!

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