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Wecome 2021

Phew!! At last the New Year is here !!

Wow! What a year it was and in all honesty I really don’t know what the next 12 mths holds for me personally and musically. However, I do know that I will continue to make music, play music, sing my songs and fight for human rights. They are all one…..creativity is what gives me purpose and asking the difficult questions is what I do best, and I guess I thrive on the challenges that all of that brings.

Musical Shenanigans

The past few weeks I have been playing at a variety of venues and the most recent gig was at Gypsy Tapas House in Fremantle. It’s a great venue and they have delicious food there and they are passionate about original music. So they tick all the boxes but there is a downside and that is that they don’t pay their musicians. You do get a meal and free drinks and the PA is supplied but playing music for 2 hours and not getting paid is quite a big downer. I am not sure what is going to happen in the music industry and I do remember being warned on many occasions that getting paid in Perth was not easy. I haven’t approached enough venues yet to see if that is true but I have played at a few recently and the top dollar so far was $150 for 2 hours which is still below the recommended rate of $100 per hour of playing time. If you have spent years learning songs and are practising most days and you turn up an hour early to set up it turns out to be not a huge amount of money per gig. However, I won’t let little problems like that get in the way of things lol.

Recording

I decided to get back into recording and now that I am in Fremantle I have to find someone to record with. I was going to go through someone I know in Kalamunda which is a bit of a hike but then Tony King (who I usually record with) recommended David Hymans who lives just up the road, so it was perfect. He’s a great artist and has a recording studio and recently produced an album for Bernard Carney called Feathers and Tributes.  It’s not easy finding the right person because you need to feel comfortable with them and I need to also know that they are going to compliment what I do as a folk singer songwriter. There are many great producers around but it was nice to know that David was right here in Freo. We put down the first track a few weeks ago and we will have a go at getting the song finished next week. I will keep you posted on that one.

Denmark Arts Markets

January 23rd at 10am I am playing a the Denmark Arts Markets. I am so looking forward to going back down to my favourite place on earth. I love the big stage of the Denmark Arts Markets, the sound is always awesome and it’s such a buzz, although being ready for 10am could be a bit of challenge for me lol. Next up I will be preparing for Nannup!!

“Music Talks” Events

I have also decided to get stuck into more music talks events. The refugees that were medivaced here in 2019 are still stuck in hotels and detention centres. They are sick and it is very obvious now that the government is keeping them there out of spite, because they lost the medivac legislation that brought them here. It’s disgusting, punitive and arbitrary and I am ashamed to live in a nation that claims to be a member of the UN and yet carries out gross abuse of human rights on the most vulnerable people in the world. I have already phoned lots of community groups and churches and have a few bookings so looking forward to that in coming months.  Here is the bio that I have been sending to the groups to give them an understanding of what I have been doing the past 3 or so years. If you are in the Perth region or anywhere in WA for that matter and you want me to come to your community to do a “Music Talks” event please contact me dawnbarringtonmusic@gmail.com. I have had a fantastic response at every single event that I have done. I do it all voluntarily and it is purely to raise awareness through song and spoken word. 

 

Summer’s Here!

It’s been a while but I think I have good reason to be in “tools down”  mode recently. It was a big move  from Denmark to Fremantle but things are starting to get more settled now. 

I’ve been having a bit of fun busking and doing a few open mics and a couple of gigs too. I have found myself a music partner Jason Johns and we are now busy getting some songs together to go out and do regular cafe/event/pub style gigs. Jason sings and plays great guitar and also writes his own songs so we have a few plans to get originals on our set list too. If you are a musician that is staying in the same city for a period of time you have to do gigs that are mainly covers. There are some venues that do accept originals or even prefer original music, but on the whole, if you want to earn money to try and make a living you have to do mainly covers. I have been lucky enough in the past 6+ years to do a lot of original music performances and earn money but that is because I was touring, so I was able to seek out the venues that are happy to have original artists or actually prefer original music. 

Nannup Festival 2021

I am very pleased to announce that I will be playing at Nannup in Feb-Mar 2021.  This is is going to be great. We are not sure yet what format it will take but at present it is will be a COVID safe event with reduced numbers, however, that could change.  Watch this space. There might be an opening to sell more tickets soon, at present they are already sold out.

I will be doing a couple of “Manus Music talks” workshops at Nannup as well which I am very excited about.  It’s been a while since my last festival gig but they are my favourite because it’s a place where the whole weekend is music, music, music and meeting lots of other artists.

Two Up

Jason and I are Two Up and we did our first paid gig at the Carriage Coffee Shop in Fremantle today.  We have been busy doing open mics to get our songs practiced and we are working towards 2 and 3 hr sets for the summer time. I have not managed to get any recording done this year which is a bit disappointing but Covid had an impact on my best made plans and then finances became a problem too. However, I am keen to record again soon and I am sure I will get the opportunity . Thanks again everyone for following my journey and for your support in what I do. It really is amazing to have so many interested in my musical shenanigans, you are the ones that inspire me to keep going even when the chips are down sometimes.

The Big Move

Ready for the drive to Perth

The big smoke was beckoning and it was time to leave my home in this idyllic little town in the Great Southern of  WA. It really was a big move and I hadn’t anticipated how much of an effort it would be on my own. But with a bit of help from my son and his father it all went smoothly. After securing a small unit in Hamilton Hill near Fremantle I got very busy packing and sorting through a life time of “stuff”. So much “stuff” and so many difficult decisions so make but I had to scale my life down to a 2 bed unit with no shed or garden. Now that I am here in Hamilton Hill I can see it was a good decision. I can see that I will be able to get much more happening with my music, that is meet other musicians and get some gigs happening. I can also do so much more with regards to raising awareness for refugee justice and I have already started to make a few waves. 

“MUSIC TALKS EVENT” – FREMANTLE

July 19th I came up to Fremantle to do a music talks event. A wonderful lady Kris Holman who has been supporting my advocacy hosted a “Music Talks” event. She booked the Hamilton Hub community centre and we had a great turn out. July 19th commemorated the 7th year since the offshore policy was legislated. So in solidarity with the Refugee Solidarity group in Brisbane and with the refugees detained at the Kangaroo Point hotel we sat in silence for 7 mins after the first few songs and an introduction to the audience. It was powerful and sobering. 

The HUB, Hamilton Hill

Once again I told the stories of 2 refugees and of my trips to Manus Island where I witnessed the horrific conditions of 100s of refugees under Australia’s care.

People were in disbelief and horrified at what they heard and once again the Q & A opened up a space for important conversations and more people keen to take action.

I also had a couple of radio interviews both with Fremantle Radio 107.9fm. Bill Hale invited me to join him and his offsider Frank on their Monday evening “Folkin around” show and they literally gave me the floor. I was very appreciative of their support for what I am doing with regards to the refugees being detained. I got to play a number of songs and talk lots….two of my favourite things lol.

The second interview was a pre recorded one with Kavi Guppta where we talked about me as an artist using my songs to raise awareness about the social issues that I am passionate about. It was a stimulating conversation and I look forward to followup interviews with both Bill and Kavi once I have got myself established more up here.

In the meantime I am going to unwind and get myself familiar with my new surrounds. Dream about the day when I can go back on tour which could be a while away yet. We live in very strange times and who knows what the future holds but hopefully new creative ideas will come into fruition and I will find ways to play my songs and talk about the things that matter to me.

Stay safe everyone

 

“Music Talks” in Fremantle

Well things have settled a little bit in Western Australia, thankfully enough to give me an opportunity to do the “Music Talks” evening that I planned before COVID.

I will be in Fremantle at the Hamilton Hill Community Hub on Sunday July 19th at 6.30pm for one of my “Music Talks” events. I will be playing songs that I have dedicated to the refugees at every gig for the past 3 yrs. One of the songs was a collaboration with Kazem Kazemi a refugee on Manus Island last year. Kazem is an incredible guitarist and a full on metal fan, so you just need to imagine heavy metal meets folk lol. But as we all know and as Kazem told me “music is music” and it’s the passion for it that counts more than anything else. You can find him on Instagram under the profile manus_metal_man. He’s lovely guy and it was such an honour to work together to create this song.

I have an interview with Bill Hale from the Folking Around show on Fremantle radio 107.9fm on Monday 12th approx 9pm so please tune in. It’s always good when radio presenters are happy to talk about what I do with regards to refugee justice.

If you are around Perth or Freo please come and join us for an evening of music, and talk and a QandA to follow.  I look foward to seeing some new faces.

 

 

 

 

Virus changes the landscape

SO WHAT DID I DO?

Wow!! How things can change very quickly. I just made it over the border from my Busking Tour for Refugee Justice and within a few weeks the whole world was grappling with the news of a pandemic. COVID-19 is something that will go down in history and I guess we will have life before Covid and life after Covid. 

My life has changed drastically in recent months, not so much in my daily activities, but more in the inability to plan for the future. I was going to take a bit of a rest after the tour, however, I then had plans to record, do a Manus “Music Talks” concert at the Fremantle Fibonacci Centre, then it was the Denmark Festival of Voice and then organise another tour for later in the year. But all that had to be put on hold or cancelled.

NEW RELEASE

One thing that I could do was release a track “We Live and We Die”.  This is song that I wrote with a refugee Kazem Kazemi last year on Manus Island.  He was detained there with another 600+ refugees for 6  years. He and another 200+ refugees are now being detained in hotels and detention centres across Australia. This song is important because its’ purpose is to show the human side to these courageous people who have come to our shores seeking safety. They are real human beings with skills and abilities but most of all with personality and warmth just like you and me.

So how did I release a track with no possibility of launching it at a gig? 
I created an online “Live Stream Concert” on Facebook and invited everyone to join me in my virtual my studio. It was really good and I had a great response. I was also very surprised at how nervous I was, I guess I knew that it was being recorded so I had to be extra careful. When you play live you can get away with a few little glitches because it’s the overall performance that matters and people don’t notice mistakes. Well, unless they are hardened performers themselves of course lol. But it all went to plan and apart from the odd buzzing sound on my phone, because I didn’t turn off the vibrate function when people messaged, all was good.

I also put together a video for the song. This video was filmed on Manus Island when I was there February of 2019 and we had a gathering for my birthday. Kazem made me a beautiful cake and some muffins and we practised some songs to play to the guys. We also played “We Live and We Die” (Qassim’s song). Did I tell you why it is called Qassim’s song?

QASSIM’S STORY

Qassim & Me, Kangaroo Point Hotel, Brisbane (Detention)

I met Qassim on Manus at the local hospital…he was thin, pale and lifeless and had not eaten for 12 days. He had lost the will to live and wanted to end his life. As far as he was concerned 6 years locked up on a prison island, by the Australian government was more than he could bear. He had been dehumanised, belittled, demeaned, beaten and had all his rights taken from him. I sat with him and another refugee who was in another room with the same feelings about life. He was thin, unresponsive and also had had enough. I went back to the hotel that night and couldn’t sleep, so I got up and sat outside and looked out over the ocean. 

I sat behind the high fence with the barbed wire and a security officer who walked past every 20 minutes. PNG was not a safe place to be, especially if you were not a local, you would most definitely be a target for robbery.

Imagine what it was like for the 600+ refugees living there. I wrote some words down and the next day Kazem came to visit, he was very excited. “I have written a new song” he said, he had the melody and I had the words so “We Live and We Die” (Qassim’s song) was created.

SO WHERE TO FROM HERE?

It’s going to be interesting times ahead and I have many ideas of what I want to do. I will be recording soon, so I am just in the process of working out where I will do that. Then I would like to put together another tour of COVID safe small concerts, maybe in small halls, or venues or the like. To do more “Music Talks” about refugees justice and all things that need to be talked about for social change. Please go onto bandcamp to download a copy of the new track “We Live and We Die”. Kazem is a 50% copyright owner so he gets half of all the income from the sales of that song.

 

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