Nai Palm

Mullum Music Festival 2014 – A Town Alive With The Sound of Music

Any place in the world where you find its streets and buildings are alive and buzzing with the sounds of music is a blessed thing, right?

Well blessed be any folks in Mullumbimby during four days once a year when this small and otherwise quiet town near coastal Byron Bay is filled with the sounds of music bought there by Mullum Music Festival. Those four days of musical blessings happened in Mullum last weekend.

Bombay Royale at Mullum Music Festival 2014

The Bombay Royale

The Sound of Music

…in Venues

Day or night at Mullum Music Festival you could’ve found your way to any number of the festival’s 12 town venues to hear as many of the live performances by 60+ Australian and international artists as you could.

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The Village Vanguard

My music tastes drew me most to the Village Vanguard, a ‘motley jazz club’ newly created at this year’s festival and curated by Harry Angus James.

The Melotonins live at Mullum Music Festival 2014

The Melotonins

Harry James Angus Band at Mullum Music Festival 2014

Harry James Angus

Mojo Juju live at Mullum Music Festival 2014

Mojo Juju

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That’s Harry from The Cat Empire yes – whose artistic contributions to this year’s Mullum Music Festival as its Patron were invaluable.

We heard Harry James Angus on stage solo with a guitar singing and playing music of a very different kind to The Cat Empire.

We also got Harry leading the awesome nightly performances by the Harry James Angus Band and displaying the utmost humility and respect for all artists he shared the stage with. In their final festival show on Sunday night those guests included Nai Palm, Martin Martini, The Melotonins and Peter Hunt (Kooii).

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Finally for anyone like me with a magnetism to all sounds horns and a love of jazz, Harry James Angus was last weekend’s Patron Saint of Horns –  for bringing his and so many other horn players’ sounds and chops to the stages and streets of Mullumbimby.

Harry James Angus Band at Mullum Music Festival 2014

Harry James Angus Band at Mullum Music Festival 2014

Melbourne saxophonist Darcy McNulty was one of them – and every note he played during his many festival appearances was sublime.

Darcy McNulty at Mullum Music Festival 2014

Harry James Angus Band at Mullum Music Festival 2014

Bullhorn (Brisbane)

Bullhorn was also amongst the horns-heavy groups at the Village Vanguard, delivering a fusion of funk, soul, hip hop and reggae music that simply had to be danced to.

Bullhorn at Mullum Music Festival 2014Bullhorn at Mullum Music Festival 2014

Check out this mp3 (only) version of a track from Bullhorn’s 2012 self-titled album and imagine the goodness of hearing it live.

Bullhorn - BULLHORN (2012)

‘War’ – Bullhorn – BULLHORN (2012)

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Mojo Juju & T-Bone

The bluesy, soulful minimalistic music played skillfully by sibling duo Mojo Juju and T-Bone was another highlight act in the Village Vanguard.

Mojo Juju live at Mullum Music Festival 2014Mojo Juju live at Mullum Music Festival 2014

All Venues

In whichever of the Mullum Music Festival venues I heard music, I felt better for it.

The Bombay Royale (Melbourne)

Bombay Royale at Mullum Music Festival 2014Bombay Royale at Mullum Music Festival 2014

 Dustyesky Russian Choir (Mullumbimby)

Dustyesky Male Choir at Mullum Music Festival 2014Dustyesky Male Choir at Mullum Music Festival 2014

 Marlon Williams (Aotearoa/New Zealand)                        Bustamento (Melbourne)

Marlon Williams live at Mullum Music Festival 2014Bustamento at Mullum Music Festival 2014

Martin Martini (Melbourne)                                             Gabriel & Cecelia (Northern NSW)

Martin Martini live at Mullum Music Festival 2014Gabriel and Cecelia live at Mullum Music Festival 2014

Bongeziwe Mabandla (South Africa)                                      C.R. Avery (Canada)

Bongeziwe Mabandla at Mullum Music Festival 2014CR Avery at Mullum Music Festival 2014

Wild Marmalade with Paul George (Mullumbimby)

Wild Marmalade at Mullum Music Festival 2014Wild Marmalade at Mullum Music Festival 2014

Wild Marmalade at Mullum Music Festival 2014

Nai Palm (Melbourne)

Having recently seen Nai Palm (Hiatus Kaiyote) perform a solo show in Melbourne amongst a noisy crowd, it was an especially good thing to properly hear and appreciate her unique vocal and guitar styles amongst an attentive Mullumbimby crowd.

Nai Palm live at Mullum Music Festival 2014Nai Palm live at Mullum Music Festival 2014

Check out these videos of Nai Palm performing ‘Malika’ from Hiatus Kaiyote’s debut album Tawk Tomahawk and ‘Molasses’ from the new EP By Fire out on 2nd December.

My one exception to musical happiness was The Church. Sound problems and four out of five musicians on stage playing guitars just wasn’t my thing.

The Church live at Mullum Music Festival 2014

The Church live at Mullum Music Festival 2014

I retreated to the Village Vanguard to hear the honey-sweet vocal harmonies of Brisbane’s three Melotonins (in between their extended banter).

The Melotonins live at Mullum Music Festival 2014

The Melotonins live at Mullum Music Festival 2014

The Melotonins live at Mullum Music Festival 2014

The Melotonins live at Mullum Music Festival 2014

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…in the Streets

It wasn’t just inside Mullum Music Festival venues where you heard the sounds of music.

If you walked between those venues you heard live music in the streets played by local buskers. No doubt everyone supported them (with $) in making their important contribution to the world of ensuring music is heard in public spaces as we go about our days.

Mullum Music Festival 2014

Mullum Music Festival 2014

Maybe you were lucky enough to time your walk so you got to dance it to the beats of the 80’s with local dance theatre troupes The Cassettes and Mixed Tape Crew.

The Cassettes and Mixed Tapes at Mullum Music Festival 2014The Cassettes and Mixed Tapes at Mullum Music Festival 2014

If you opted to travel between venues on the most fun and sought-after of festival transport routes, you would’ve had the pleasure of getting your wig on and dancing in your Magic Bus or Disco Expresso seat to music of the super-funky kind.

Mullum Music Festival 2014

Mullum Music Festival 2014Magic Bus at Mullumbimby Music Festival 2014

The Magic Bus at Mullum Music Festival 2014

And even if you took a break from the festival music to refuel in a Mullumbimby cafe, you probably heard the sounds of music spun by DJs.

Mullumbimby Music Festival 2014

Wherever you were in Mullumbimby central you heard the sounds of music, music and more music. During four festival days the town and people in it were alive, high and buzzing for it.

Mullumbimby Music Festival 2014Harry James Angus Band at Mullum Music Festival 2014

More Than Music

Of course it takes more than music to make any festival the best experience it can be. Mullum Music Festival 2014 had all those things going on too.

The music was heard, danced to and appreciated by an incredibly friendly and chilled-out (mostly local) festival crowd, happy and grateful to have the sounds of music in their own ‘hood.

Mullum Music Festival 2014Mullumbimby Music Festival 2014

If you didn’t already know those local folk or feel a part of their community, it wasn’t long before you did.

Mullumbimby Music Festival 2014

The Magic Bus - Mullumbimby Music Festival 2014

Like every year at Mullum Music Festival the 2014 program included the talents and colours of roaming theatrecomedy and circus performers plus more.

Mullumbimby Music Festival 2014Mullumbimby Music Festival 2014

Joel Salom and Greg Sheehan (Mullumbimby)

Joel Salom at Mullumbimby Music Festival 2014

Greg Sheehan at Mullum Music Festival 2014

Joel Salom and Greg Sheehan show at Mullum Music Festival 2014Joel Salom and Greg Sheehan show at Mullumbimby Music Festival 2014

Mario Queen of the Circus 

Mario Queen of the Circus at Mullum Music Festival 2014Mario Queen of the Circus at Mullum Music Festival 2014

Musical Nourishment

Four days of being in Mullumbimby with it’s streets and buildings alive and buzzing from the sounds and colours of Mullum Music Festival, left me feeling high and nourished. I know I’m not the only one.

And of course we know that musical nourishment/happiness breeds more happiness. That’s a mighty good thing for the overall wellbeing of the world isn’t it. Music is indeed The Healer and Mullumbimby folks are indeed blessed that Mullum Music Festival saturates their town with it once a year.

The Cassettes and Mixed Tapes at Mullum Music Festival 2014

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Nai Palm with Nai Palm

Nai Palm started her music career standing solo on Melbourne stages with her voice and a guitar.

She was singing songs that later became the foundation of magnificent arrangements by her and other members of Hiatus Kaiyote – including this year’s Grammy nominated song Nakamarra (featuring Q-Tip) from their 2012 album Tawk Tomahawk.

On Friday night I found Nai Palm standing solo on a Melbourne stage again, guitar and voice, singing stripped-back versions of those Hiatus Kaiyote songs.

Nai Palm - Live @ John Curtin Hotel - Melbourne

She sang songs from Tawk Tomahawk – and a new, never-played-live-before song called ‘Molasses’ from the forthcoming Hiatus Kaiyote album.

Check out this video of Nai Palm performing ‘Molasses’ live at her solo show on Friday…

A different venue and/or a different crowd, and this Nai Palm solo show might have been amazing.  She’s a fantastic artist making beautiful music –  and an absolute pleasure to watch and hear perform live (I know from WOMADelaide last month).

Hiatus Kaiyote Live @ WOMADelaide 2014

Hiatus Kaiyote live at WOMADelaide 2014

The problem for me at the John Curtin gig was that I couldn’t hear much of her through the crowd 🙁 .  And that made me miss the sounds of instrumentation from the rest of Hiatus Kaiyote.

Listen here to a dirty mp3 version of the song ‘Malika’ from Tawk Tomahawk for a reminder of the unique musical goodness of Nai Palm and Hiatus Kaiyote as a whole…

Hiatus Kaiyote - Tawk Tomahawk

Tawk Tomahawk (2012)

‘Malika’ – Hiatus Kaiyote – Tawk Tomahawk 

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Listen to 2 other sample tracks from Tawk Tomahawk here.

I’ll try and catch Nai Palm solo again when I can – hopefully in a sit-down, quiet venue where I can properly hear and appreciate her unique vocals and guitar playing.

Nai Palm - Live @ John Curtin Hotel - Melbourne

People in Sydney can find a Nai Palm solo show at the Newtown Social Club on 5 June.  Melbourne can get a weekly dose of Hiatus Kaiyote live at Howler every Wednesday in May. And of course the blessed in Melbourne and Sydney this coming week can hear Hiatus Kaiyote live supporting Erykah Badu. I’m amongst those blessed 🙂 .

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