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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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 - www.beaveronthebeats.com

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 - www.beaveronthebeats.com

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

NGAIIRE

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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)

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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 - www.beaveronthebeats.com

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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 - www.beaveronthebeats.com

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.

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Very short taste of Greg Sheehan’s gig here…

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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 🙁 .

Jaaleekaay

Jaaleekaay

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…

Kingfisha

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

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Raul Midon

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


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“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 - www.beaveronthebeats.com

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- www.beaveronthebeats.com

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 - www.beaveronthebeats.com

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 - www.beaveronthebeats.com

  • 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 - www.beaveronthebeats.com

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