Matt Ostila

Mullum Music Festival 2013 – Satisfaction +

What do you need most from a music festival to go home feeling satisfied?

For me the two most important things are:

  1. some amazing music; and
  2. a good, friendly community of people to share the festival experience with.

I went home from Mullum Music Festival 2013 having experienced both of those things plus more.

Mullum Music Festival - 2013 -

Amazing Music

The more amazing music you hear at a festival the better, right?  Of course.

But me I’ll go home musically satisfied if I’ve heard at least one artist who absolutely blew me away. Some music that moves me to a place where I am truly present in the moment with it. Without thoughts. Just feelings. Magnificent ones.

Barefoot Divas Were the One

This year at Mullum Music Festival the Barefoot Divas were the artists who put me in that place. Their powerful show on Saturday night made every part of my being feel alive. It was hard for me to come back into my mind, and to talk to people afterwards. I wanted to stay in that place of goodness the Barefoot Divas had taken me to.

Barefoot Divas - Mullum Music Festival - 2013 -

Each of the 6 Barefoot Divas are incredibly talented and well established independent female artists in their own right.

Ursula Yovich (Serbia/Burrara)

Ursula Yovich (Serbia/Burarra)

Merenia (Maori/Welsh/Romany Gypsy)

Merenia (Maori/Welsh/Roma Gypsy)

In this show together, the unique artistry and personality of each woman is given space to shine as they generously share through spoken word, poetry and song, aspects of their respective Indigenous heritage, cultures and personal life experiences. The content is socially and politically conscious. Delivery is with heart and soul.  The result is inspiring.

Ngaiire ( Papua New Guinea)

Ngaiire (Papua New Guinea)

Whirimako Black (Maori)

Whirimako Black (Maori)

Maisey Rika (Maori)

Maisey Rika (Maori)

Emma Donovan was missing from the Mullum shows 🙁 .

Emma Donovan-Barefoot Divas

Emma Donovan (Gumbayngirr NSW)


Not for a long time has a musical experience moved me as much as the Barefoot Divas did. Everyone at their Saturday night show I could eventually speak to afterwards, felt the same way.

Check out these videos from their Mullum Music Festival shows

Merenia Gillies

Ursula Yovich



Since there’s no videos here of 3 of the Divas, you can listen to some sample tracks by them from the Barefoot Divas (live) album – Walk A Mile In My Shoes.

Walk a Mile In My Shoes

Walk a Mile In My Shoes-Barefoot Divas (live)

Repeat Offender (live)  – Maisey Rika (Barefoot Divas)

Wahine Whakairo (live) – Whirimako Black (Barefoot Divas)

Ngarraanga (live) – Emma Donovan (Barefoot Divas)


Videos or low quality mp3s can never compare to the live experience with these beautiful artists and women, and the great band of musicians playing with them. They’ll give you just a bit of an idea until you can find yourself a live show to get to (North America or Canada early 2014 anyone?).

Barefoot Divas - Mullum Music Fest - 2013 -


Around The World With Greg Sheehan

Greg Sheehan is one of Australia’s most respected, innovative and brilliant percussionists.  I’ve said those type of things before about other percussionists, but hearing Greg Sheehan play makes me want to take some of my words back.

The 2013 Mullum Music Festival was deservedly dedicated to him.

Greg Sheehan

Greg Sheehan

In his Sunday night show at the Civic Hall, Greg Sheehan put together a collective of some of Australia’s other finest musicians. They took us on a world-wide journey of his musical life and influences – finishing it back in Indigenous Australia with dance artists joining them on stage for a unique hip hop & traditional Aboriginal dance fusion.

Greg Sheehan - Mullum Music Festival - 2013 -

Charles Wall

Ben Walsh (The Bird, Circle of Rhythm, PNOMAD, Orkestra of the Underground, The Crusty Suitcase band, Groovelands Soundsystem), Charles Wall (aka Bobby Alu + Kooii) and Matt Ledgar (Wild Marmalade) were the percussionists amongst them.

Cye Wood

Cye Wood

Within the percussion heavy collective were Cye Wood on violin and Matt Ostila on bass, both rising high to their grand melodic challenge. Matt Ostila’s skills on the bass especially impressed me at this gig.


Very short taste of Greg Sheehan’s gig here…


Jaaleekaay – The One That Got Away

Jaaleekaay are an Australia/Gambia convergence between guitarist Steve Berry, phenomenal young Kora player Amadou Suso, and vocalist Yusepha Ngum.

Theirs was the music at Mullum Music Festival that absolutely blew my friends away, and I missed 🙁 .



I’m sure from the program there were others great artists too, probably some amazing ones. I missed 2 of the 4 festival days. On those 2 days I was feeling a bit lazy thanks to good people to talk with plus some Australian festivals fatigue 🙂.

2013 Artists

2013 Artists

Check out some videos here of 2 other quality festival acts I caught…


Brisbane’s Kingfisha – sounding stronger with each gig of theirs I hear – and playing 3 great new tracks, including this one here…


Raul Midon

 Jazz/r&b/flamenco fusion artist from the U.S.A, Raul Midon – singer, guitarist, percussionist and trumpet vocalist all in one….


“That’s what it’s all about”

At the end of the festival when my friend and I swapped Barefoot Divas and Jaaleekaay stories, he said this:

Having those incredible music experiences is what it’s all about, isn’t it. That’s why we come. That’s why I play music.

Amen to that my friend.

Mullum Music Festival Community

Even with some amazing music, a festival experience can be damaged by sharing it with a not-so-friendly or respectful community of festival goers right?  For me, definitely.

Every one of the Mullum Music Festival venues (12) I went to was filled with friendly music appreciators of all ages – and those good friendly vibes we want.

Mullum Music Festival - 2013 - www.beaveronthebeats.comMullum Music Festival - 2013 -

The Magic and Red Buses that can take you between venues and will keep you in music mode, are also filled with those good people.


Mullum Music Festival - 2013 - www.beaveronthebeats.comMullum Music Festival - 2013 - www.beaveronthebeats.comMullum Music Festival - 2013-

There are friendly people hanging out in the Mullumbimby streets too. I think they’re even happier for the music played by buskers  – as well as the many musicians in Sunday’s Street Parade, including Festival Director Glenn Wright on trombone.

Mullum Music Festival - 2013 - www.beaveronthebeats.comMullum Music Festival - 2013 -

Everyone at the Mullum Music Festival was happy to be there – happy to be a part of and contribute to this special community event.  Those people (plus the music and more) make it the great festival it is…

  • The colorful locals of Mullumbimby and its luscious surrounding region. After 6 years of hosting the festival it seems to have become an integral part of their community life. Festival tickets are reasonably priced too, making it accessible to more of the community than most other Australian festivals are.

Mullum Music Festival - 2013 -

  • Australian and international festival punters who make the pilgrimage to be there – warmly and proudly welcomed by the local folks.
  • The many volunteers who festival runnings heavily rely on.
  • Music artists – lots of local ones + visiting national and (thankfully) some international ones – happy for a music-appreciating crowd to share their music with.
  • Other creative artists contributing through theatre, dance, sculpture, workshops, circus and of course, the Bongo Bus.
  • Police & security – well, there wasn’t really any. No need.

Mullum Music Festival  = Satisfaction +

Blessed by some amazing music and more great music whilst hanging out with the friendly festival folks in their beautiful green town, I left Mullumbimby feeling satisfied. I would happily be a part of the Mullum Music Festival community again.

Mullum Music Festival - 2013 -

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Island Vibe Festival – Community Goodness

Some people go to Island Vibe festival for the music on the bill.


Many folks go to dance barefoot on the grass under glorious Spring sunshine and night stars.


Most people go to soak up the heavenly island goodness of Minjerribah (Nth Stradbroke Island): to breathe in the fresh, clean ocean air – to swim on one of the many stunning beaches as whales, dolphins and turtles pass nearby – to wander through the island’s forests and be amongst wild and beautiful native Australian wildlife.

Everyone goes to Island Vibe festival to be part of a community. One of good people. One of happy people.

Island Vibe - 2013 -

Communities Connected

Island Vibe-2013-7-www.beaveronthebeats.comInterconnected people, friends and families, come [mostly] from not-so-far-away Australian places. Those places feel like a world away once you get over Moreton Bay by boat to Minjerribah.

Families and friends share rental houses and camps. Everyone cooks and eats good food, drinks and laughs together. They catch up on each other’s busy lives, swim and walk, and watch their kids play together. They relax and unwind together.

For all of that, everyone is juiced up before they even get to the festival ground.

On Friday, Saturday, Sunday or every one of those days, all those people come from wherever they are on the island. So too come the local folks of Minjerribah and its surrounding bay area.

They meet, and they share a space together – metres away from the divine Home Beach – just behind those trees – in the open air festival of Island Vibe.


That festival space becomes the principal meeting place for one and all – to eat more good food, browse artisan markets, appreciate the beautiful local indigenous artworks in the Artspace gallery, hang out, relax, and talk and laugh together some more. Dance together. Be connected in music.

The Island Vibe Festival Community.  Each October for the past 8 years, a new one has been formed.   That community is one with a really beautiful spirit – and one that gets happier and healthier on each 1 of the 3 festival days.

Island Vibe - 2013 -

Island Vibe Music

For me, the music artists on the bill at Island Vibe are an integral part, but have also become just a background to all of that other island goodness.

DJs Up

This year lots of international DJs were added to the musical mix of Island Vibe: Electric Punanny (NY) – Ill Gates (US) – JStar (UK) – Jah Red Lion (Chile)  –  J:Kenzo (UK) – Dub Terminator, Soulware & Organikismness (Aotearoa). Increased musical diversity at a festival is great.  So is hearing some new music in Australia. The DJs I heard were awesome at what they do and I heard some music I love.



Ultimately though, they are DJs – playing, mixing and creating music, with machines. No live instruments, and only live vocals or rhymes where the DJ’s doing the gig with an MC/ vocalist.

Kingfisha - Island Vibe - 2013 -


I think there’s a very different energy and atmosphere created by music from a DJ, to the energy and atmosphere created by music created from instruments, played live, by human people. The energy created by live music just feels more alive, and more organic to me – more alive and organic than the greatest DJ in the world playing the most incredible music, could ever feel. When I go to music festivals I want as many live music experiences as possible, especially new and original music.

The DJs at Island Vibe this year weren’t just added to the mix.  They replaced all international bands on the bill, and played as the last headline act on the main and 1 of the other 2 stages. This is just me, one punter, but I wanted more live (new and original) music than I was offered.

2013 Good Stuff

Live bands or DJs (even better a live band with a DJ in it),  I always hope to be blown away by something musical when I go to a music festival.  That didn’t happen for me this year at Island Vibe – but, throughout the festival I heard some great sounds, engaging music and fantastic musicianship. I’m sure I missed some good gigs too, and maybe I even missed some amazing ones that might have blown me away.

Here’s the stuff I heard that I got into…

Uncomfortable Science

The multi-madly-talented musical scientist Lachlan Mitchell (Laneous & The Family YahKooii, Kafka) led a really entertaining improvised session between a group of musician test subjects – all concentrating very hard to follow his spontaneous whiteboard scribbles of chord progressions and melodies.

Uncomfortable Science

Uncomfortable Science

Musically the most unique and interesting sounds I heard in my 5 island days was at a restaurant gig by 2 members of Uncomfortable Science before the festival started. It was the really engaging, at times mesmerising improvised sounds of Lachlan Mitchell on vocals and hand percussion with Michael Meddlycott  on synth and keyboard.

Yeshe & Friends

Beautiful, gentle, soothing lunchtime world fusion music sounds played by a bunch of incredible musicians from the Gold Coast, Brisbane and Northern NSW.

Yeshe & Friends

Yeshe & Friends

Mystic Beats

A spacious, cruisy, groovin’ early afternoon jam between 5 Northern NSW-based musicians – including Cye Wood playing exquisite violin.

Cye Wood

Cye Wood w/ Mystic Beats

Bobby Alu

Sweet, soulful sunset ukelele and percussion sounds from the Gold Coast and Brisbane’s Bobby Alu.

Bobby Alu

Bobby Alu

Golden Sound

Straight up, funky good funk tunes out of Brisbane. There just aint enough new funk music being made in the world today – and happily for me, Brisbane’s Peter G and his musical cohorts (including Bobby Alu’s Paulie B on guitar and Stewart Barry on bass) gave me some of it at Island Vibe.

Golden Sound

Golden Sound

JStar & MC Soom T

Soulful vocals, beats, rhymes and attitude from Glaswegian MC Soom T, collaborator with a huge number of talented international producers and DJs – including at Island Vibe 2013 with JStar.

Check out a video here…   


Brisbane’s Kingfisha took everyone happily through Sunday’s sunset with old and new songs, and new versions of old songs – all of which are sounding better and better with the increasing addition of synth sounds to the musical mix.



Kingfisha videos to check out here..

Electric Punanny

Good reggae tunes mixed up with some dancehall and electro.

Video of Electric Punanny w/ dancer Nadiah Idris here…

Music Missed

Gotta say it. I missed a lot of music at Island Vibe that I’d really wanted to hear.

Some was because the festival ticket box opened almost an hour after the festival started.  The first acts had already finished before I could get a ticket, a wristband and into the festival.  I felt sorry for me, but even sorrier  for the artists inside the festival sharing their music with almost no one. Other times I missed music when bands’ sets were cut drastically short due to sound and stage issues.

A Beautiful Welcome The music and dance that affected me the most during all of the Island Vibe festival, was what I heard and saw during the Opening Ceremony on Saturday.

The traditional custodians of Minjerribah and surrounding region, the Quandamooka peoples, with their words, music and dance, welcomed everyone to the land and the festival in a generous and beautiful spirit of sharing and respect.

It began with the traditional song, dance and stories of the Yuli Burri Bah dancers, led with thoughtful, positive and moving words and didgeridoo by Josh Walker

Island Vibe festival-2013-www.beaveronthebeats.comIsland Vibe festival-2013-www.beaveronthebeats.comIsland Vibe

Followed by the very lovely Siva Mai Dancers you can see behind this cutie…

Island Vibe

Then the ever so cool Q Crew with their super stylin’ dance moves – accompanied in one piece by the amazing dancehall dancer  Nadiah Idris


Ending with Simangavole performing the Maloya rhythm, traditional music of the slaves of Réunion Island


I listened,  watched and smiled through all the music and dance of the Opening Ceremony. I loved it all – traditional and modern. It  was the best in the festival for me this year.

Island Vibe Goodness

The total experience that you’ll have by going to Minjerribah for the Island Vibe festival is one full of goodness. It is a meeting place for a friendly, relaxed, happy community of good peoples – on a very special island paradise.  There are so many reasons to go and to be part of that community.

Anyone else in the 2013 Island Vibe Community hear something awesome that I missed? Maybe a DJ that blew your mind? 🙂 

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Kooii – Kickin’ It Live At Kulcha Jam

After a bit of a gig hiatus, Kooii took their uplifting Afro Beat/reggae/jazz/groove fusion sounds to Byron Bay to play live at Kulcha Jam.

Kooii poster- Kulcha Jam- 2013 -

The gig was a positive, feel good experience for all –  same as every Kooii gig I’ve been to over the years.

Kooii - Live - Kulcha Jam -

It was 10 years ago when I bought Kooii’s first release – Hijacker.  Since then the group has morphed its members and its music, but the things that make up the goodness that is Kooii remain.

Kooii Goodness

The Blend

*The faultlessly blended and fantastic sounds of Afro Beat, reggae & jazz in the music. Quality Afro Beat played by Australians, in Australia yes – that makes Kooii extra special in my books.

Vocals & Trumpet

*Kooii’s principal song writer and vocalist Peter Hunt: His lyrics with their simple and positive messages; and his beautiful trumpet playing that I am always hanging to hear.

Kooii - Kulcha Jam -


*The incredibly tight musicianship of every Kooii band member.

My musically hard to please (and also musically brilliant) friend said this to me during the gig: 

Those guys are such amazing musicians that the music they play transcends the genres they’re playing.

Each member of Kooii is a well respected and significant part of Brisbane’s contemporary (I’d say fusion) music scene in their own right. Via Kooii yes, but also via other bands they have been or are now a part of. That includes Kafka, Bobby Alu, Clairy Browne & The Bangin’ Rackettes, Laneous & The Family Yah, Ruby Blue  and Promiscuous.  Brisbanites will know exactly what I’m talking about.

Kooii are: Peter Hunt (Vocals & Trumpet); Darcy McNulty (Saxophone); Tom Hinchliffe (Bass & Vocals); Lachlan Mitchell (Guitar & Vocals); Dominic Hede (Drums); Conan Griffiths (Guitar); Charles Wall (Percussion).

Connected In the Round

Gigs at Kulcha Jam are the best live musical experiences you’re likely to have in any Byron Bay venue.

Kooii - Live - Kulcha Jam -

I’ll probably have more to say about good vibes Kulcha Jam another day. Suffice to say for now – this is a community & cultural arts hub where you’ll find coconut juice instead of beer; chocolate covered strawberries; and a no-shoe-policy in the music & other arts space.  People are there to listen, dance and appreciate the music.

Importantly, you’ll be dancing around the band playing in the middle of the space, on the same floor you’re dancing on. You will see, and feel connected to the artists and everyone else in the room who you’re sharing that musical experience with.

Everyone Agrees

It seems everyone at Kooii’s Kulcha Jam gig agrees with me about its excellency.

Here’s a great piece that Rachael Torise from community radio station Bay FM, put together about people’s experiences there.

+ a video of Kooii performing live at Kulcha Jam…

Indescribable Support

Last but not at all least, Kooii were supported at Kulcha Jam by the musical genius of Cye Wood on violin and Matt Ostila on the Swiss Hang, electric bass, African kalimbas and a loop pedal.  I could tell you they played ‘world music sounds’ but that means nothing much. They created indescribable but beautiful, improvised, experimental music. I love to hear these musicians play whatever they are playing, whenever they are playing.

Matt Ostilla & Cye Wood

Matt Ostila & Cye Wood

Kooii and their support act absolutely kicked it at Kulcha Jam – just like Kooii sing in their song below that you can check out 🙂 .


Kooii tracks for listening here… (available to buy through Vitamin Records – and of course much better sounding than these MP3 versions )

Call Out (2012)

Call Out (2012)

‘Kick It’ – Kooii – Call Out (2012)


‘Hold It Up’ – Kooii – Call Out (2012)


Beads On A String (2005)

Beads On A String (2005)

‘Meeting Place’ – Kooii – Beads On A String (2005)

“The music as a meeting place, for all to come, for all to be.”


‘We Get Around’ – Kooii – Beads On A String (2005)


In This Life (2010)

In This Life (2010)

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