Tag Archives: music

The lovely Shirley Davis

In the centre of Melbourne, on the 15th floor of an ordinary office building, lies a hidden treasure – the Blue Diamond Club.

The views from the club are extraordinary, as you can see…

 

The sights and sounds inside the club on a Sunday night are pretty amazing, too, when you get a band like Grand Wazoo performing. In the intimate space formed by the glass-walled penthouse club, the effect can be like having the band play just for you.

I was excited to hear them perform – enjoyed dancing to them more than a little – and was blown away by the vocals of Shirley Davis, shown centre stage at the microphone, in these (poor and grainy) pictures.

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Young & Jackson’s

Sally Dastey at Young & Jackson’s

An afternoon spent singing has got to be one of the best ways to pass the time. 

Today the choir I sing with – Lipstick & Spurs – was lucky enough to be invited to accompany the amazing Sally Dastey (folk singer/songwriter, formerly a member of Tiddas) at Young & Jackson’s hotel.

 Sally #2

We were part of four songs – three of Sally’s and Pearly Shells – which she brought to the choir when leading us for a while earlier this year. The most fun of all was the last song Someone on his side. Sally said she was going to sing it on her own, but then invited us to sing harmonies at the end from within the audience. She described it as making the audience feel like they were part of the music rather than being separated from it, and she was right – the last song brought smiles and laughter to a lot of faces.

It’s just over a year since I joined the choir, and here I am getting amazing opportunities like this! The talent of the people around me, and the joy they get from their singing, are gifts in their own right, but being able to join in is more fun than I could have imagined. Although it sounds corny, singing like this feels like the realisation of a dream I didn’t know I had. And now that I’ve found it, I’m going to treasure it.

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Ukuleles and other quirky pastimes

Ukes

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am a member of the Melbourne Ukulele Kollective, and play in the Ukulele Big Band.

I first fell in love with the ukulele two years ago, when I saw MUK perform as part of the Darebin Music Feast.  I’d never played one before – or even entertained the thought that I would – but by the end of that gig, three audience members including myself were converted.  I went out the next day and bought my first uke.

We now have three ukuleles as a family – well, I’m the only one who plays them, but the baritone is officially Michael’s.  Meg had one, too – in baby pink – but I was really kidding myself when I bought it for her.  It had been untouched for almost a year when my ten-year-old niece, Jacqui, over from Adelaide for a visit, picked it up and started playing. 

Unbeknown to us, Jacqui had been learning classical guitar for a year. It only took her about three seconds to work out where the notes were and she started picking a blues number.  Needless to say, I sent it home with her.  If Meg ever wants one again, I’ll happily buy her another.

The other musical activity I’m involved in is singing in a country & western choir called Lipstick and Spurs.  I’d no more been a fan of country music than I had of ukuleles when I was asked to add my voice for a recording session that the choir was doing, but again I fell completely in love and have been part of it for a year now.  It is the best fun, and the choir members are a fantastic bunch.

I’m a latecomer to music performance, having only realised that I had a ‘voice’ when I was in my twenties. Singing only became really important to me after I lost my voice for eight months, about four years ago. More than anything, I missed singing with Meg and singing along with the radio, though if you’d asked me before I lost my voice, I would have said that I didn’t sing much at all. A persistent weakness has meant that the first thing affected by any stress or illness is my voice, so I have to be really careful with it.

Fortunately for me, singing has also been the best exercise I can give my vocal chords.  I bet there aren’t many people who can say that they sing on doctor’s orders (or, at least, on speech pathologist’s orders)!

I may have been a late bloomer in this area, but it has become a really important part of who I am, and it is all so much fun!  And life is serious enough – ukuleles, twangy country songs and lots of laughter are a good remedy for it.

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