Author Archive: dawn

2021 Final Quarter

Women in Music Mentee and Mentorship announced

Hi there folks I hope you are all going well wherever you may be located across the planet. I have been incredibly busy as usual and I have made a lot of headway into making new connections up here in the big smoke for future musical endeavours.

I mentioned to you last month about the incredible opportunity that I had been offered by Australian Independent Record Label with their Women in Music mentor mentee program. Last month my mentor was revealed to me and we have already had our first Skype meeting. Angie Hart was selected to be my mentor for 6 months, which was so exciting to hear. Angie’s band Frente had a huge amount of success in the early 90s, but Angie didn’t stop there she has since released 3 albums and is currently working on her fourth. For me it was important to be connected to a female artist because I wanted to be able to identify with her journey as a woman in the Music Industry.

The whole purpose of the program is to empower women in the music industry. It’s a great program and I really enjoyed our first meeting. We talked about music, and about being a woman in the industry and many other aspects of being in an industry that is at times not the easiest to navigate. However, Angie also expressed how far we had come since she started out so that was good to hear too.

Recording

I have almost finished the song that I was recording with David Hyams and I am very happy with the results so far. Just a few more tweaks here and there then I can work on a release date.

However, I have also been recording with Rob Agostini at SoundBaker Studio. I had another song that needed to be recorded and with David being such a busy man I sought out another option.

I am super happy to have found Rob and his set up is amazing. The song is called “He’s My Brother” and it’s a very special song and quite different to my usual format but I am soooo excited about it and can’t wait to release it. 

We spent two full four hour sessions in the studio to lay down the tracks. Rob was an absolute pleasure to work with, he got a great sense of what I was trying to achieve  and came up with some awesome ideas.

I am going to work on a video and the release date will be announced very soon.

I have also been busy going out and meeting other muso’s and doing a few open mics. I have a few gigs lined this month, one with the Jackadders Music Club where I will be playing a set alongside Jim McGuire and the other one is at a CARAD fundraising event at the Wesley Church in Perth city. I will be doing a short set and there will be some other great acts playing like The West Australian Charity Orchestra (WACO Players).  See all details below and please come along if you are in Perth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring into September

My last update was at the beginning of July and I can’t believe two months have passed. It’s been a very busy few months but I couldn’t for the life of me tell you what I have actually done.

RECORDING

However, I did get some more recording booked in which was very exciting. The song I am recording is called “Pledge my soul” and I wrote it last year during lockdown. “Pledge my Soul” is a reflection of my experience with the refugees that I met on Manus Island and the ongoing fight for their freedom. David Hymans is an established singer songwriter in his own right and a dab-hand at recording too. He has a studio in his home very close to where I live and so far we have put down all the tracks except percussion which I still need to make a decision on. As soon as it is finished I will be keen to release it into the ether.

PERTH LIFE AS A MUSO

I have been living up in the big smoke for the past 12 months now and apart from doing my “Music Talks” events to raise awareness about  refugees and  few other gigs, I haven’t really established myself in the Perth music scene yet so that is my next mission. Although working with Jason and getting a duo started took up a significant chunk of my time last year and we were just starting to book gigs when Jason found work getting too demanding to continue.

I am keen to getting booking gigs now though and I am actively seeking other keen musos to work with. A duo or trio would be great so let’s see how that goes. I have to admit I have been having a few struggles with with taking the next step to out there again into the scene. It was relatively easy down in the Great Southern and touring over east made a big difference to. It’s always easier when you are on road travelling to different places with your music and going blindly. However, trying to establish yourself on your home ground is more of a challenge, or maybe it’s not and that’s just my experience. I do believe being a woman in a male dominated industry also has it’s holdbacks but I am not going to let that get the better of me and I have decided it’s time to pick myself up and get on with it.

JALAL AND “CROSS TO BEAR”

You may remember me talking about Jalal Mahamede in my last update. Jalal (refugee from Ahwaz, Iran) is still stuck in detention.  I have regular contact with him and we often discus different ways to raise awareness about the situation of the 71 men still detained by the Australian Government. A song that I played at every gig from 2016 and always dedicated to the refugees stuck on Manus and in Nauru is called “Cross to Bear”.  I spoke to Jalal and asked him permission to feature his artwork (story) in the video with that song. He agreed so below is the end result. Please check out the words in the middle during the solo, they are profound and written by Jalal.

WOMEN IN MUSIC 

I do have some other very exciting news but I have to wait a few weeks before I can reveal that. Once I get the OK from the industry body involved I will be able to share all the juicy info. However, I will give you a few clues. Australian Indepenent Recording Label (AIR) put out a call for applications of interest to women across the music industry sector to apply for an opportunity to be mentored. The mentor will be someone who is already established in their career in the music industry sector. I of course put an application and I have just found out who my mentor is going to be……so I promise I will do my next update very soon and let you all know who that is and what it means for me in my music career.

It’s only raining outside

I am so enjoying winter up here in the big smoke……I hear Perth folks complaining about the cold weather and after 10 years in Denmark WA I am grateful for the very mild conditions and the extended hours of sunlight shinning into my little unit in Hamilton Hill.

It’s been incredibly busy the past few months and I can’t believe that almost 2 months has passed since my last update. I am not sure who has set the time on “fast” but it sure is getting difficult with keep up with everything. My main focus has been doing my “Music Talks” events although I have done a couple of regular gigs too. COVID has put all touring plans on hold for the moment but that’s OK I am quite enjoying hanging out here in the West.

The Victoria Park Farmers Markets was almost a normal gig in that it was a 3 hr gig. I parked myself right next to the stall “manned” by Betty McGeever. Betty has been a very active campaigner for refugee rights for a long time now and she had a table filled with all things “refugee”. It was a surprisingly mild Perth day and it was great to such a receptive audience.

Another standout event was the “Music Talks” gig that I did at St Pauls Beaconsfield. Celia asked me to come back and do one of my music events to her church group. We had a fantastic turn out and lots of very engaged people. Jalal Mahamede (Poet & Artist – Ahwaz Refugee) spoke to the people via audio on facebook messenger, he gave an incredibly moving speech which I will add at the end of this post. At time of writing this, Jalal still remains locked up in a detention centre in Brisbane.….I am not religious but I pray everyday that he and the others will be released soon. I can’t stand what what is happening to these guys it’s and unbelievable form of modern day torture by the Australian Government.

Aida Hatam also joined us to tell her story of how she and her family were sent to Nauru processing centre and then brought to Australia for her husband’s medical treatment and now have been left in indefinite limbo to this day.

Another really lovely evening was spent at the Leederville Songwriters club. I did a set of original songs to the most attentive of audiences and it was another opportunity to talk about refugees with it being “Refugee Week”. I took full advantage to make my whole set all about the issue. 

“Crossing New Borders” was released at Nannup Music Festival March of this year and a few weeks ago I managed to get a video together for it. I got some great photos from a photo stock company online and Danny Reardon (Photographer) gave me permission to use a few of his photos from a recent protest in Perth. It was a bit of a problem to upload it to Facebook because they claimed that there was unacceptable material in it, after some investigation it seems that my words in the middle of the video upset them. 

I would like to finish this post with Jalal’s speech, it was very moving and it’s really important that I give you the opportunity to read it. I also want to make sure that it stays on the record of time because one day he will be free and this will be an important piece of historical context of the harsh conditions experienced by all those that arrived on our shores seeking safety in 2013.

Jalal’s Speech

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about my problems. Thank you for taking the time to listen to
I have spent eight years of my life in Australian detention، This is because I fled from my country to save my life and I asked Australia to help and save me ,
The Australian Government says your only fault is that you came by boat،
I would like to say that if I could travel to Australia by plane, why did I choose the ocean way.
Why should I put my life in a small boat and the dangerous ocean?
I certainly had no choice, so I had to take this path.
From these eight years, I was living in a tent without fan and air con in Nauru island at 2013 to 2019
For the first and a half year , we only had 3 minutes to take shower in a day.
Many problems occurred that couldn’t be explained in a few minutes.
Women, men, and children harmed themselves . because they were tired of that hell.
More than twenty young people died on the island،
because of difficult conditions Women had abortions in the toilet, The situation was so horrible that everyone was suffering from mental and physical problems.
And I’m the last survivor of them, I’m still alive please feel me a minute.
I want someone to hear my voice and tell me what’s my crime that I should be in detention for eight years.
I need someone to hear my voice and tell me what is my crime that after eight years nobody telling me when I’ll be free.
And how long i have to stay in detention?
Four people are living in a small room in detention now
The mental and physical pressure on us are so huge that I can’t even think for a moment about it, because it will drive me crazy.
We say we are human, and we should love each other. They treated me worse than a wild animal,
Am I not human or are they? Please Someone explain to me.
We need your help, We need your help like human needs oxygen, like children need parents, like plants need soil
Thank you and God bless you.

 

 

Nothing is something worth doing

The above very wise words were written on the dunny wall of my Denmark WA home by a member of one of my favourite bands Kallidad (Thanks Tom Raven). I love it because it gives me permission to do nothing and feel ok about it…..for me it is also acknowledging that time spent “doing nothing” is important time, time for consolidation of ideas and time to recharge for the next venture. Why am I opening with this paragraph? Well because I feel like I haven’t done much in the past few months and needed to feel ok about it….not that I need an excuse of course…or do I? It’s the ongoing mind chatter when you are an artist…”I really should be doing more….but I am stuck……now I’m giving myself a hard time….but I need time to ……NO ACTUALLY IT’S SPACE I need” and so the conversation goes on and on. 

Sydney

Now that’s out the way let’s take a look at what has been happening the past few months. I went to Sydney for a couple of weeks break to catch up with a friend and it was my first post COVID trip so it was great to get on a plane again and head over to the East Coast. I went with one of the refugees who had been staying with me for a few months. He was offered a job opportunity in Sydney and a place to live with his friend from Manus which was fantastic! While I was there I met with another of the refugees (who had recently been released) it was amazing to meet him and to be able to support him to take some of his first steps on the outside after 8 years of incarceration.

“Music Talks” and gigs coming up

I have also been organising more “Music Talks” events for the next few months. I have been very engaged in raising awareness about the refugees that are locked up and those on temporary visas. MUSIC has become a very valuable tool to engage with the people about the issue. My most recent one was at St Pauls in Beaconsfield where we had a small but very engaged audience. Every event I do has exactly the same response……the people are horrified and can’t believe what they are hearing and want to do more to change the situation. If only I could do more of these events and to a bigger audience…….then we could really make a difference. I will continue to do these for as long as people ask and hopefully we can make a dent in the ongoing fight for change to the way this country treats refugees.

Saturday 29th May I have another event with the Nuhra Life Enrichment Centre thanks to Letitia for organising that one. I will then be doing Victoria Park Farmer’s markets on June Sunday June 6th which is just a regular booked spot so it will be nice to get out there and do a 3hr gig which I haven’t done for a long time albeit starting at 8.30 am in the morning weather pending of course….lol 

On May 14th I will be at Glyde In in East Fremantle for another “Music Talks” event. It’s a ticketed event and you can get your tickets at Glyde in.  Just go to the event called “Offshore Processing”  to book. There are only 3 tickets left so you’ll need to jump in if you want to attend.

June 22nd I am at the Leederville Songwriters club which is held at the 21st Amendment bar which is a great location in Leederville. Please get down there if you are in Perth, it’s a great live event to support. 4 songwriters showcase their creations in a beautiful intimate setting. Then Wednesday 23rd I will be catching up with Stacey Harding on Fremantle radio 107.9fm to talk about all things refugees during REFUGEE WEEK. Well I think that’s a wrap for now…..I guess there has been a bit going on in the past few months without me even realising it….lol :O)

 

“Music Talks” and Nannup Festival


Music Talks

This past few months has been a continuation of one event or talk after another with Nannup Music Festival thrown in for good measure. I am little behind with my update but I do have a very good excuse with so many events booked. I started with St Luke’s Anglican Church late January then mid February things started to get much more hectic with radio interviews, school talks and “Music Talks” events until now. Thanks to Stacey Harding at Fremantle Radio 107.9 fm for giving me a whole hour of your show to talk about Refugees and for playing my tracks “Can’t let Go” and “Crossing New Borders”.  “Crossing New Borders” is a song that I wrote in response to my desire to see an end to the disgusting narrative that has been created around people seeking asylum and refugees in Australia. For me it’s about highlighting the tragic story of people seeking asylum and my observations of the many people across Australia who are doing all that they can to stand up and speak out against the disgusting policy that keeps 1000’s of refugees in limbo. At the heart of this song is my own inability to rest until everyone is free because while they suffer we suffer too. We are not free until they are free, spiritually, emotionally and mentally because as Moz says “we are all the same”.

Fremantle Soroptimists "Music Talks" Event at DADAA“Crossing New Borders”  was released at Nannup and is now available on Bandcamp

In the photos you can see the lovely women of Fremantle Soroptimists Club and their friends. They put on a real feast and were an incredibly receptive audience. What I find the most exciting about doing these events is the response that I get. The people attending always tell me how inspired they are to take action and that’s brilliant and in my opinion “mission accomplished”.

I also did a talk at Southern River College for Helen Rozendaal who is my very good friend. I haven’t done many school talks but they are always very rewarding and extremely important. St Cuthbert’s Anglican Fr Chris Bedding also hosted an event which was so well received. The audience were very moved to hear from one of the refugees from Manus himself. After 6 yrs on Manus, 12 months in a hotel in Melbourne and 6 mths in Melbourne Immigration Transfer Accommodation he was given freedom last month. There was a lot of emotion in the room and a huge amount of support for my friend who spent 8 yrs in detention.

Amnesty also hosted a joint meeting between the Perth and Fremantle group and once again I talked and shared the stories and horrors of offshore and onshore detention. That same week I did a “Music Talks” event at  St John’s Anglican Church in Fremantle. We had a small intimate audience on the eve of the election but every person there was deeply moved by what they saw and heard. I was able to also show some bits of the documentary and my friend from Manus also joined us and spoke to those present. It was very moving and the overriding reaction is shock and disbelief. People want to know “how did this happen”, “why didn’t we know” etc. I know many of you will say well they should know there is enough information. However, I actually believe that there has been a very clever cover up by the government (both parties) to make sure the people of Australia don’t get to know the full truth of what we have done to people in detention. So my journey continues to raise awareness to the best of my ability because………”I can’t close my eyes to the pain”……

Each time I do a church event I can’t help but wonder where they have been on this issue. I know that churches don’t want to get involved in politics but they have a level of responsibility to hold those in charge accountable and this is about human rights and it’s about doing “what is right”. What would Jesus have done? I am not even religious but I am pretty sure he would have stormed the buildings with much anger and demand to know why were they not choosing the way of the lord. There are many verses in the bible that talk about welcoming the stranger, yet we have gotten caught up thinking we will loose something if we welcome “too many” to the beautiful place we call home which is not even ours to give. This is just my observation and I am not just talking about churches when I make that comment. I could go on and on but I am pretty sure that all those who read this will be thinking along the same lines which gives me a level of hope.  We have to all speak out more though and do more for those who don’t have a voice especially if we come from the privileged group (white Anglo Saxon) because we have benefited from all those who don’t hold the same privilege that we have enjoyed for so long now.

Nannup

Nannup was a beautiful weekend and unfortunately I didn’t get any photos but I do have the screen shots from the program just to as evidence that I was there lol…. Although I went on my own I did bump into a few friends when I was there and Bill who lives in Nannup took this little snippet of me at playing. https://www.facebook.com/100017903255822/videos/783414752265293. As always it was amazing to be involved in such an incredible hub of music and incredible artists. 

I did 2 gigs and a workshop. The workshop was based on one of my “Music Talks” events and it was great to do one in the Festival environment.

Thanks to Phaedra Watts and her incredible team who always do an amazing job of bringing the whole festival together every year. This year had extra complications with all the COVID safe requirements but they did it again in their usual professional manner.

I have a few weeks off now and I am off to Sydney for a week on 4th April…just for fun. Adios folks !!

 

 

 

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