Adelaide Cabaret Festival, now widely regarded as the world’s best cabaret festival, opens at Adelaide Festival Centre on Fri Jun 6 and, due to demand, now continues until Sun Jun 15. There’s something on offer for everyone and acts will be coming from all over the globe and the festival will also be featuring the crème de la crème of cabaret artists from Australia. The full program, which includes the line-up for the late night Kool Kat Festival Club, is available at <adelaidecabaret.com>. Take a look and then book quickly at BASS.
by Catherine Blanch
Paprika Balkanicus have been called the Masters Of Great Atmosphere and are quickly becoming one of the hottest newcomers to the world music scene. Hailing from Romania, Serbia and Slovenia, this five-piece ensemble plays a fiery blend of traditional and Gypsy music from the Balkan peninsula’s incredible musical history using violin, guitar double bass and accordion. Rip It Up grab a few words from bass player Jozef Secnik.
Although this is your first Adelaide Cabaret Festival, is this your first time to Australia?
“Yes, and we’re all very excited! We formed in 2006 and this is only our third and biggest tour so far outside the UK. We’ve previously also been to Japan and Norway.”
Prior to arriving in Adelaide, Paprika Balkanicus will be playing Brisbane before meeting up with good friends The Cat Empire in Melbourne.
“I’ve been lucky enough to work with some exceptional musicians from Australia so this is a great opportunity to see them again.”
What kind of show will you be treating Adelaide audiences to?
“We’ve selected some of the most beautiful and joyful traditional and Gypsy tunes from the Balkans and arranged them in our own paprika style. We perform at all types of music venues – from big rock festivals such as Glastonbury to small, much more intimate jazz clubs. Usually, we make the set list minutes before we go on stage and if it’s a sitting venue we try to seduce our audience with few really emotional and tender songs, but often it goes all completely wrong and they end up singing and dancing on the tables.”
How would you best describe your style of music?
“The Balkans and eastern European music is easily one of the most passionate and sophisticated you’ll find. Most world music is made and meant for dancing and celebrating life, but has been unfortunately neglected by the Communist regimes for decades as inferior to serious classical music.
“Actually, many of the most distinguished classical composers heavily borrowed from the enormous musical heritage of the Balkans and eastern Europe. This music is a mixture of eastern and western cultures, with some of the most sophisticated odd rhythms, fiery oriental melodies and western harmonies all at the same time.
“We’d love people to come to our shows because you can’t make a good party in an empty house, can you? But, please be aware - Balkan Gypsy music is heavily contagious and addictive. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!”
Paprika Balkanicus will be performing at Adelaide Festival Centre’s Space Theatre from 9.15pm on Wed Jun 11 until Sat Jun 14. Book at BASS.
KATIE NOONAN & VINCE JONES
by Robert Dunstan
Katie Noonan, singer with Brisbane band george and also Elixir before embarking on a solo career, is pleased she coming to Adelaide Cabaret Festival with Vince Jones, the Scots-born jazz stylist who sings as well as plays cornet. Their show, Songs Of Love And War, was first performed in Brisbane as part of last July’s Queensland Music Festival but will have been performed across the country before coming to the city of churches.
We speak over the telephone to Katie and find her to be in high spirits as she’d seen k d lang play the previous evening and then got to hang out with the Canadian singer and her Australian support act, classical guitarist Slava Grigoryan.
“I know Slava really well,” Katie says, “so I was hanging out with him and then kd joined us and she’s such a cool chick. It was really nice.”
Songs Of Love And War came about when Katie was asked to put together a show for Queensland Music Festival.
“They’d hinted that it would be good to do a collaboration so I thought about some of the major musical influences in my life and immediately thought of Vince Jones. I’d been hearing his albums since I was about seven or eight years old because my older brother had such good taste in music. So his incredible singing, along with Vince’s political and social conscience, have been a great influence.
“So I asked Vince if he’d be into it and we then found a common ground using songs about love and songs about war,” Katie adds. “And obviously a lot of those songs cover jazz, soul and Motown songs. And then there was Vince’s material and mine so we had a wealth of songs to chose from in the finish – we were spoilt for choice really.
The band will include pianist Matt McMahon, guitarist Stephen Magnusson and John Parker on drums.
“And there will also be my husband, Jack Horan, on tenor sax and a Melbourne trumpeter and we’ll be also adding [Adelaide’s] The Zephyr String Quartet,” Katie says.
In the past Vince has often performed a stunning version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.
“That really fits the theme of the show and because I’ve been doing it live as well, we’ll be doing that. It’s such a great song – kd lang sang Hallelujah last night as well. So we’re also doing Marvin Gaye’s What’s Goin’ On? and Stevie Wonder’s Love’s In Need Of Love and some Bacharach – it’s a really broad cross section because we’re even doing some Sting. And it’s funny how relevant those songs are today.
“And there’ll be some originals from Vince and I as well. And it’s such a huge honour and pleasure for me to be working with Vince.”
Has there been any talk of a live recording?
“No, but we recorded a show in Brisbane and it sounded great. But it would be good to do. And we could quite easily recreate it in the studio.”
The environmentally conscious Vince has been using bio-diesel on his farm for about a decade.
“Yeah, he’s a real environmentalist,” Katie says. “He’s very environmentally aware. He’s been using bio-diesel for years.”
Kate is also enjoying being a solo artist.
“Yeah, I’ve been enjoying all the different challenges.”
Katie’s solo album, Skin, has recently been remixed in dance fashion as Second Skin by John Course and mrTimothy.
“The work under the title of Electro Funk Rubbers and had done a remix of my Time To Begin which ended up on a Ministry Of Sound album. I’m really not into dance music at all so it was all very much left-field for me but it’s interesting that Skin was a totally analogue recording that went straight to two-inch tape and now it’s ended up as a dance record called Second Skin. But I’m quite pleased with how it turned out.”
Katie Noonan and Vince Jones will perform Songs Of Love And War at Adelaide Festival Centre’s Dunstan Playhouse at 8.30pm on Sat Jun 7 and 6.30pm on Sun Jun 8. Book at BASS.
by Robert Dunstan
Indigenous singer songwriter Kev Carmody is coming to town to take part in Adelaide Cabaret Festival with Sara Storer as his special guest. We speak to Kev over the telephone and immediately inform him that the GetUp Mob’s version of From Little Things Big Things Grow, a song Kev penned with Paul Kelly, has reached number four on the ARIA singles chart.
“Really!” Kev enthuses down the line. “Strewth! We were told that it was unlikely to get any airplay and probably wouldn’t do all that well. So that’s great news. And all the money goes to charity. Wow!”
Are you looking forward to taking part in Adelaide Cabaret Festival with Sara Storer?
“Yeah, crikey mate, Sara is such a flamin’ good songwriter so it’s going be good. And she sings in such an Australian voice – she doesn’t use an American voice – and she’s a great little storyteller as well. It’s going to be a real delight.”
Have you worked out what to do for the festival?
“In a way we have,” Kev says. “Sara and I will be telling a little story before doing each song and we’ll have a few of the women’s songs in there. And, to my way of thinkin’, a song has more relevance when people know the story behind it. It’s just having a bit of a yarn to people about the songs and how they came about. And unless you can bridge that two-metre gap between the microphone stand and the audience, then you may as well not be there.”
How did From Little Things Big Things Grow come about?
“Paul [Kelly] and I had gone away on a camping trip in about ’91 or something and we just kind of pulled it out around the campfire. Paul had a good chord progression and I thought it would be good to tell a little story over it. So, by about 2 o’clock in the morning, we had a six-minute song.”
Last year a stunning Kev Carmody tribute album, Cannot Buy My Soul, was released and it featured such artists as The Herd, The Waifs, Sara Storer, Paul Kelly, Dan Kelly and Tex Perkins among others.
“That was quite an honour and it looks like there might now be a live DVD coming out. We did a concert at Sydney’s Royalty Theatre and crikey, the passion, vibrancy and commitment by everyone involved was just amazing.
“And the passing down of songs is part of the tradition but you usually have to be dead and buried before there’s a tribute album,” he concludes with a laugh.
Kev Carmody and Sara Storer perform at Adelaide Festival Centre’s Space Theatre on Wed Jun 11 at 7.15pm. Book at BASS.
THE UMBILICAL BROTHERS
by Catherine Blanch
The mischievous and totally physical comedy of The Umbilical Brothers was a noticeable absence at this year’s Adelaide Fringe, but not to worry because they’re coming to town for their fourth Adelaide Cabaret Festival with their latest show, Don’t Explain.
David Collins and Shane Dundas have performed on stages around the globe, appeared on numerous radio and television programs, released their award winning DVD Speedmouse, won five Mo Awards for Best Comedy Group and have most recently delighted young children with their Nickelodeon and Sesame Workshop program The Upside Down Show.
“That program [which afforded the comedy duo a 2007 Logie for Best Kids Show] was a side project for us, but it was the first exposure to the wider population in many other countries, so they think that’s what we do. The Canadians think we’re just very creative children’s entertainers so wait until they see our grown-up shows,” Shane chuckles over the phone from Canberra.”
Having seen their Don’t Explain DVD, I had to ask David what it was like for him to finally get the microphone from Shane.
“It was exceptional!” he laughs.
Has it prompted you to take on a singing career as a side project?
“The reason I originally went into acting school was to do musicals, but Shane and I mucked around so much in class that thankfully all of that changed [laughs].”
How is your Don’t Explain DVD faring so far?
“Really well,” Shane replied. “It went gold before it even appeared on the shelves, but we’re still nowhere near paying it back. We really wanted to make the quality of this new DVD so much better than the Speedmouse DVD – which costs so much money [sighs]. We even had to pay for the rights to use footage of our own stuff, which was a bit weird.”
“I really like the extras on this DVD,” David added. “It was a lot of fun to do and something we had planned for Speedmouse but didn’t get around to doing. The actors we used in the menu section all had a great time as well.”
Is there anything you’d like to say about the show?
“Don’t Explain is classic Umbis, with a few explosions here and there, as well as some stuff people may have never seen before,” Shane enthuses.
“People could just buy the DVD,” David jests, “but there’s really nothing like the live 3D experience!”
The Umbilical Brothers perform Don’t Explain at Adelaide Festival Centre’s Dunstan Playhouse at various times from Thu Jun 12 until Sun Jun 15. Book at BASS.