Tag Archive: singer songwriter

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)

 

Busking from Denmark WA to Melbourne VIC for refugee justice

All packed and ready to go

It was just an idea, one of those ideas that comes to mind when I am trying to find ways to raise awareness about the plight of refugees stuck in Port Moresby, Nauru and those who are here on mainland Australia. While this injustice occurs I can’t rest so I am always thinking of different ways to bring the information to more people. There are too many people who don’t realise the tragic stories that each of the refugees that were sent to Manus and Nauru are carrying. We also don’t know enough about the barbaric way that refugees are detained in Australia. So I as an artist can use my music to grab people’s attention and bring them into the world that I believe is Australia’s dirty secret. 

Caiguna Road House

Please join me on this incredible journey that I took in my car with my guitar and what I know about the situation. I plastered my car with signs because I wanted it to be very clear what I was doing. It was not comfortable at times because people definitely treated me differently and some of those that did talk to me couldn’t wait to say something that they felt about refugees. I didn’t take any of it personally but I was aware of how lonely it was a times. I was only lonely in the moments that these incidents happened though and I knew that all the way I was being supported by 100s of people across Australia. I got so many messages of support from advocates and people who want justice for these vulnerable people. The refugees were also incredibly proud and excited that someone was doing this for them which in itself made it so worthwhile and is what kept me going. 

The great Australian Bite

I had to leave Denmark WA a week late because of the bush fires on the Nullabor and there was a moment when I had to make a decision whether it was a sensible idea to go at all. But nothing could hold me back once the decision was made. My first port of call was Esperance where I stayed for one night with a lovely Vietnamese family who were refugees. Then on I went, I was nervous because I didn’t know if the road would be open at Caiguna (my next stop) but it was so nice once I got on my way I was happy and relieved. The road was open and Caiguna roadhouse was my first camping spot, it’s a dry and dusty roadhouse with powered and unpowered sites. I paid for a powered site but very quickly realised that the space was not suitable for tents so I moved to an unpowered site. It was just a dusty patch under a small tree. The generator was going most of the night and the main road was very close, these were all things I had not anticipated. I still got a good nights sleep and felt pretty refreshed to move on the next day.  My next stop was Penong where I camped in a relatively reasonable campsite and then I did airbnb in Port Augusta, it was 42°. Every night that I camped I had my signs in and outside of my car. It was very interesting to see how people responded or didn’t respond. Some people were very quick to make a case against the refugees before they had even considered asking me more about it. I purposely made what I was doing very visible because I wanted to put myself in the line of fire. I have done lots of touring and presenting my work to groups of people that are very compassionate towards the refugees and already doing lots of work to seek change in the system. 

I felt that this on this trip I needed to step further out of my comfort zone because that is the only way that I can connect or interact with the “others”. I know that the minute people talk to me they can see what a considered and understanding person that I am. I always find ways to challenge their perspective, even if that means I say nothing. They throw lines at me and I listen and give a considered response which usually ends in a question or two. I want to be on even ground with them, I want to understand where they are coming from. Because when push comes to a shove we are all the same. Yes I get frustrated and yes I get despondent but I never loose faith in humanity and our ability to heal and reach to others.

Me and Karam in Adelaide Immigration Transfer Accommodation.

I spent a week in Adelaide and while there I visited a refugee who was on Manus for 6 years and had been medivaced here to Australia and is still stuck in detention. I took Iranian treats that I bought from the Iranian store and we sat and chatted and chatted and laughed and there was sadness too as he talked about missing his family that he hadn’t seen for almost 7 years. While there I saw another refugee walk into the room and I went over to shake his hand and greet him, then the guard came over. There are guards watching you all the time when you visit refugees. The guard threatened to end the visit because I was not allowed to talk with other refugees and he also threatened to send the guy I was visiting back to his room. I couldn’t believe it…at the end of the visit I complained to the other guard and told them it was totally out of line for them in to intimidate me like that. He could have just told me the rules first and I would have complied. 

Parliament House Adelaide

While in Adelaide I went to Parliament House and did a busking protest. I had a great response and managed to play for 45 mins before the Police came and moved me on. I continued on to Melbourne and spent a week there. I stayed with a fellow refugee advocate and my plan was to busk and I also had a “Manus, Music Talks” concert lined up in Bittern at the “Bayview Country Art Club“. It was touch and go whether it would happen because of the fires but Jenny Keck who has run the club for 10 years was awesome and brought the evening together. I joined the Melbourne State Library protest and busked there too.

While in Melbourne I decided to use my time protesting as often as possible on the Bell Highway outside the Mantra Bell Hotel where they are keeping 70 refugees who were medivaced from Manus and Nauru. I positioned myself on the highway at the traffic lights and in view of the men in the hotel rooms. I also visited refugees everyday, I did 2 visits each day with 2 of the guys and some days just one. It was great to catch up again but very sad and disappointing to see them stuck in detention still.

Photo taken by Moz in hotel room

It is so wrong that they are still being detained after almost 7 years. Many of them are not receiving adequate medical care and they are withdrawing and loosing hope again. On one of the evenings I was asked to go and join a flash mob to play music outside the hotel. A bunch of musicians and singers rolled up at 7pm and we went to the carpark and positioned ourselves so that all the refugees could see us through the windows. We sang and played music for an hour.

Melbourne Immigration Transfer Accommodation

While in Melbourne I went to visit 3 Sudanese refugees who had not had any visitors yet. I organised the visit just like any other online. It’s a ridiculous process. When I got there I went through the strict security procedures and when they did the swab for chemical substances I tested positive. I couldn’t believe it….they tested me a gain and it came up positive again. It was so frustrating and since then I have heard it happens all the time.  I argued with the SERCO boss but he would not allow a contact visit. I had to do a non contact visit which was so disappointing. Here is a link to the video I did on Facebook at the end of the visit. I don’t know how I managed to do it because they are very strict about using devices to record what is going on there. https://www.facebook.com/dawnindenmark/videos/vb.630081916/10157108957651917/?type=2&video_source=user_video_tab
https://www.facebook.com/dawnindenmark/videos/vb.630081916/10157202669621917/?type=2&video_source=user_video_tab

There is so much that I would love to write but just don’t have the time. I met many amazing people and had lots of interactions some positive some negative but overall I believe it was a very productive time. I would do it all again if I had the money. I absolutely love being on the road and love meeting and talking to people and playing music everywhere I go.

On my way home I played at the Marion Hotel in Adelaide and once again I got to talk about refugees and dedicate songs to them.  

I took my trek back across the Nullabor and stayed at different spots on the way home and decided to spend 4 days in Esperance for a bit of a rest. I also had a gig at Taylors Street Quarters Cafe and Restaurant which I was pretty exited about. I took the opportunity to do a busking protest in the centre of Esperance and surprisingly I got a lot of support. I posted on Facebook and tagged Taylors to let people know that I was looking forward to playing there that night. Mousey is the lovely guy who organised the gig in Esperance.  Just before I arrived he said the boss of Taylors asked that I not get “political” to which I responded of course I never get involved in politics. The boss was very respectful in the way he approached it and said he had full respect for what I was doing. However, a part of me couldn’t help feeling a bit concerned that there are so many people in fear of doing the right thing. I don’t believe that what I am doing is political, all that I talk and sing about is in the name of HUMAN RIGHTS and nothing more.  

State Library Melbourne

Just one more photo for the record. While in Melbourne I joined the Friday vigil at the State Library. If you are in Melbourne you can join them every Friday at 5pm and show the refugees that you are with them.

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