With a scorching program of international acts and the best home grown talent, the Festival program, the first for this year’s Music Programmer Chelsea Wilson, features over 40 shows including specially commissioned performances, local record label parties, official album launches and even a recording-as-performance experience.
“As a Brunswick resident and musician, I am delighted to present the 2017 Brunswick Music Festival program,” says Wilson. “Celebrating a diverse range of genres in a myriad of venues, I’m excited to welcome international artists to our stages from as far as Warsaw, Barcelona and New Orleans and to feature the enormous talent of our homegrown music scene.”
“We also highlight the strength of our local recording industry with our label showcase events – Hope Street Recordings, Wantok Musik and LISTEN, alongside album launches, open mic sessions, all-ages events and free gigs. Step out and hear sounds from the globe.”
Quintessentially Brunswick, the festival opens with the Sydney Road Street Party featuring over two hundred artists performing across six stages in a mammoth day of music, food, stalls and more. The sounds of gospel, latin, soul, gypsy jazz, blues, hip-hop, reggae and rock will fill Sydney Road with free performances from Afrovival, Black Jesus Experience, Fulton Street, Cookin’ on 3 Burners, Lake Minnetonka, Noriko Tadano, Seven Ups, Sweet Felicia and the Honeytones, Sal Kimber and the Rollin Wheel, Mariachi Los Romanticos, The Royal Jellies, Melbourne Ukelele Kollective and many more.
Music For The People closes out the Festival with a family-friendly afternoon of good vibes and eclectic sounds in the green surrounds of Shore Reserve, Pascoe Vale South. Grab a picnic, family and friends for an afternoon of solid entertainment including brash big band boogie from Bullhorn, the sweet, sweet soul of The Transatlantics, French gypsy jazz from La Nuit Blanche, disco fusion from TEK TEK Ensemble and the stunning Vietcharm traditional dancers.
Filling the days and nights between the opening and closing of the 2017 Festival is a gathering of international sounds including previously announced overseas headline acts, Aziza Brahim (Western Sahara/Spain) and The Hot 8 Brass Band (USA) in exclusive Melbourne debut performances.
The Brunswick Town Hall will come alight for Unity: International Women’s Day Concert with an incredible line up of vocalists and spoken word artists including Kylie Auldist, Ajak Kwai, Chelsea Wilson, Emily Wurramara, Parvyn, Sahida Apsara, Janam Kaur accompanied by a specially commissioned orchestra. DJs Mz Rizk and Whiskey Houston will be spinning tunes on the night.
Wantok Live at The Wick is a chance to get up close and personal with the recording process with three stellar artists from the roster of Wantok Musik at the renowned local recording studio, Wick Studios. See the recording process in action with revered blues and roots singer/songwriter Frank Yamma (SA); the powerfully voiced, hip-hop artist Radical Son aka David Leha (NSW) and vocalist, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Emily Wurramara (QLD), who has been composing heartfelt folk, country and roots since the age of six. Ticket holders receive digital copies of select recordings from the show post-Festival.
The Festival thematically features the musical reawakening of traditional sounds through a contemporary lens from international music makers including Oki Ainu Dub Band (Japan), Warsaw Village Band (Poland), Les Poules à Colin (Canada) and Debapriya & Samanwaya (India).
Fanning the flame of a Flamenco love affair is the grace and intensity of Flamenquando. The company brings together acclaimed flamenco singer Naike Ponce (Spain), ARIA nominated guitarist Damian Wright from lauded modern Flamenco ensemble Bandaluzia with two of the best Flamenco dancers in Australia – award-winning Madrid trained Rosalie Cocchiaro and the extraordinarily powerful Jessica Statham.
Jump on board the Brunswick Music Festival soul train and witness an explosion of powerhouse vocals from Women of Soul. Starring Randa Khamis (WOS co-founder/Randa and The Soul Kingdom), Thando (Dreamgirls), May Johnston (Deep Street Soul), Lisa Faithful (Soul Safari), Carla Troiano (Mayfield) and Au’Dre (The Do Yo Thangs) all backed by a smokin’ hot six-piece band.
The Brunswick Music Festival sound extends to the addictive rhythms of Ethiopian-born Australian-based Dereb Desalegn aka Dereb the Ambassador and his band of virtuoso musicians. They will bring their classic jazz-fusion of 60s–70s Ethiopia, shoulder-shaking incarnations of traditional Ethiopian tunes and a swagful of spicy, hypnotic originals front and centre. Black Jesus Experience will support on the night with an irresistible blend of traditional Ethiopian song.
Hope Street Records Party features the local record label’s finest artists in a night bursting with the goods – The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra, The Cactus Channel, The Do Yo Thangs, The Putbacks and DJ Manchild all live at Howler. LISTEN Party is a special one-off show featuring the creative output of the underground with Australian female, trans and gender non-conforming LGBTQIA+ artists at 3RRR performance space.
Two album launches feature in the program including Mission Songs Project: Official Album Launch at The Mechanics Institute. Curated and performed by Jessie Lloyd, the project features a collection of Australian Indigenous folk songs performed from 1900-1999 on Christian missions, settlements and native camps where Indigenous people were relocated.
Jeff Lang’s momentous new album, Alone In Bad Company shows Lang is nothing if not a lover of song. Filled with exquisitely delivered stories and melodies and Lang’s unmistakable hard-won style, it will be launched at Brunswick Town Hall. Suzannah Espie and Alison Ferrier will join Lang on the night.
In a Festival first, the public are invited to become part of the Brunswick Songwriter’s Club with two open mic music sessions that are free and open to all ages. Hear original compositions from the hosts, share your own song or your favourite cover in comfy surrounds of the local East Brunswick Hotel.
The Festival program goes well into the Brunswick nights with an impeccable series of late night music sessions at The Supper Club. Every Thursday to Saturday during the Festival from 10pm at Amelia Shaw sumptuous cocktails will complement rollicking piano, smoky jazz vocals, cabaret and blues from Melbourne’s finest including Fem Belling, Hue Blanes, Adam Rudegeair, Ruth Rogers-Wright, Stella Angelico, Simon Burke and surprise guests.
The Residents: Local Global Music Project is a musical reflection on Moreland and greater Melbourne where over 250 languages are spoken. Boasting some of the finest working musicians from the many Melbourne “ethnic” music and with a mix of first and second generation Australians, The Residents combine musical traditions from Cuba, Botswana, Italy, Czech Republic, Iran and Sri Lanka under the mantle—all music is global and all music is local.
During the festival, The Retreat Hotel hosts Monday night sessions with the iconic Charles Jenkins and Tuesday nights features a rotating line-up of our finest local writers – curated by Lachlan Bryan, Henry Wagons and The Americana Music Association of Australia.
Madeline Leman and the Desert Swells Americana retro surf sound, is sinful, soulful, heartbreaking and leg shaking! The music of Leah Senior falls into a dim wallpapered room of slightly out of tune parlour guitars, the ghosts of summer and 1960s Britain. Opening this double headline bill at The Spotted Mallard will be local country legend Tom Dockray.
For a special BMF treat, the Michelle Nicolle Trio nine year Thursday night residency at The Brunswick Green will feature local jazz luminaries Carl Mackay, Sonja Horbelt, Gianni Marinucci and Ronny Ferella. One of Australia’s most highly regarded performers and songwriters, Ben Salter makes a free Festival appearance with his band, filling The B. East with eclectic, esoteric arrangements and sounds that take in elements of rock, pop, jazz, folk and country.
“This exciting program strengthens Brunswick’s reputation as a music hub with an enviable creative identity and sound,” says Cr Helen Davidson, Moreland City Council Mayor. Council is proud to continue its significant commitment to creativity and expression through music as it brings many great social, cultural and economic benefits to our community.”
The 2017 Brunswick Music Festival runs 5 – 19 March. For more information, visit: www.brunswickmusicfestival.com.au for details.
Image: TEK TEK Ensemble perform at the 2017 Brunswick Music Festival (supplied)