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Double Bass and Voice are my instruments;
one I carry with me always and the other needs wheels and attracts attention wherever we travel…
It’s been 7 years now since I acquired a double bass, a long-time coveted dream come true at age 40, and with that a new life began for me.
It was a huge change from playing my slinky little electric fretless bass. Feeling the sound-waves through my body, hearing those beautiful soft, low tones, dancing and playing acoustically, no electricity required – is a joy like no other, that’s why I lug around a big double bass.
I also love to sing at the same time. I have to sing - can’t help it - always have and hopefully always will. It feels good to let your feelings out in a song.
So it was that - in our musical share house in Abingdon Street, Woolloongabba, subjecting my beautiful, creative partner in crime, Warwick Hargreaves and his guitar playing, to my early explorations of the double bass, where he would patiently play along with and encourage me - our duo, OUT of ABINGDON, was formed.
Thinking back to Abingdon Street I feel lucky to have lived with two amazing guitarists, Warwick and Kevin Aubrey, with so much beautiful music wafting through the corridors… We all met while studying music at JMI – the Jazz Music Institute. Each of us had made the decision at a, let’s say, more mature age, to deepen our knowledge of music.
For a few years Michelle Phillips, a fellow student and beautiful musician, and I had a duo of piano, bass and vocals. We cut our teeth performing live around Brisbane and made music that still soothes my soul as I reminisce and remind myself to make time for more!
Warwick and I had a few different combos going doing jazzy material, but as OUT of ABINGDON we just pulled out songs we loved from all different genres - songs that had moved us and inspired us to pick up an instrument and play, and we played them our way. We began to explore writing original material together and are still developing as a songwriting team and having lots of fun with it!
Throwing caution to the wind we indulged in our desire to put music before that ‘something practical to fall back on’ and make it central to our way of life.
We have travelled so far in that time, both musically and in distance and it is a joy and privilege to share making music, the challenges and the highs and lows, with the man I my love.
Together we have released 3 albums that are snapshots of OUT of ABINGDON’s musical journey. We’ve toured twice to the UK and Europe playing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, jazz clubs in Paris, Berlin and London, as well as many local venues and music festivals around East Coast Australia. It’s pretty cool, I have to say, jamming in the lounge room, entertaining ourselves and then sharing that on stages around the world … luckily for us people seem to like listening to our music and sharing in that joy!
Traveling and learning about other cultures through music is another wonderful aspect of playing and I love collaborating with a variety of musicians and artists. Music unites us, it crosses all sorts of cultural barriers and I’ve always been intrigued and inspired by sounds from all over the world.
It is a great joy to have had the opportunity, with Ravi Singh - a Brisbane based tabla player - to explore Indian Classical Music and the fusion of sounds. In our collaboration called GROoVAi (groove, Australia, India, OoA, Ravi - it’s all in there) we’ve traveled to Varanasi, India to play and record with 7th a nd 8th generation musicians. The culture of music is highly valued there and passed on through families. We were privileged in being welcomed by the Mishra family into their very musical home.
Through Skype, I now have a porthole to Varanasi where my guru-ji Shantwana teaches me, aurally - as has been done for thousands of years - the language of Classical Indian vocals. It’s awesome!
Another collaborative project for Warwick and I is ‘Chapter 5’, a tango quintet playing the music of Astor Piazzolla and other Argentinian composers of the genre. Sparked by Hugo Fernandez, an Argentine born master of tango dance living and teaching here in Brisbane. after we worked together on a video clip for OUT of ABINGDON’s original song, 3 Piece Suit, we have started rehearsing for some performances combining music and dance planned for 2016. Piazzolla’s incredible music is teaching me so much about composition and the breadth of sounds achievable on stringed instruments. I’m learning to bow too. There’s so much to learn!
We’re also exploring bringing aspects of Charlie Horse, Warwick’s jazz funk band, to OUT of ABINGDON’s sound by adding some trombone, trumpet and percussion to some gigs coming up – this will be fun!
Double Bass is a challenging instrument to play well (aren’t they all) and it might just take the rest of my life to get there - I’m keen to try though. I hope that, by following my passion and living creatively, I can inspire others to follow their dreams. It’s never too late. I hope too, that by filling our house with many wonderful musicians, learning, practicing, teaching, traveling and working hard to create opportunities to play, has exposed our children to the possibility of carving a creative career as a number one choice for them if desired.
Many friends, teachers and influential people throughout my life have steered me towards music and I’m grateful to them. Music allows me to express what is meaningful to me, to create and respond and to be completely in the moment.
I am also grateful to have been embraced and supported by Brisbane’s community of music lovers and promise to never give up - to keep growing, questing, exploring and making art for the rest of my days…
Thank-you to all of those people, too numerous to mention for being part of
OUT of ABINGDON
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