Post by Dick Letts, March 4th, 2015
Ruminations and Revelations
Unsurprisingly, when Bukhchuluun Ganburged got a little bit used to Australia, he saw that things might work out better if he were known as Bukhu. He has just been awarded one of the 40 citizenship places reserved annually for artists of very high distinction. Welcome, Bukhu!
Bukhu is a virtuosic throat singer and performer on the Mongolian horse head fiddle. At a celebration at Marrickville’s Django Bar, we heard both. If you haven’t heard throat singing, it is a Mongolian male thing. It sounds like a didgeridoo with laryngitis, incredibly low, resonant, droning. That is already amazing, but throat singers are able to ‘split’ their voices into the low drone and another voice of high harmonics, up there with the theremin or the violin E string. It’s difficult to control this upper voice but Bukhu uses it with amazing skill and musicality. Oh, and then there is the bowed two-string ‘horse head’ fiddle. That’s happening at the same time.
At the Django Bar, Bukhu played with his multicultural band Equus. (Add a little Latin to keep the dead happy.) Along with his Tibetan music and his fusion music, he thought it would be a good idea to sing Summertime. Which he did in a very nice Western tenor voice. But then, once we had all relaxed into the familiar, he added the throat singing and the harmonic singing. What???!
Fishin’ for fusion? Bukhu’s your guy.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCIuDYdNMAo or https://vimeo.com/40566638
It was Melbourne jazz pianist Marc Hannaford’s dream to be able to perform with New York musicians Ellery Eskelin and Tom Rainey. In 2013, Marc won the Freedman Jazz Fellowship and also began study for his PhD at Columbia University in New York. He wasted no time and with the help of the Freedman prize money, has just released a CD with Eskelin, Rainey and Australian trumpeter Scott Tinkler. The link to the review of Can You See with Two Sets of Eyes? is at the top of ‘This Month’s Music Reviews’ on this website.
In Melbourne, having your name on a laneway could be a higher honour than having it on a freeway. The City of Melbourne has named a laneway after Divynils singer Chrissy Amphlett, who died from breast cancer in 2013. The naming results from a petition with 6,400 signatures, organised by ‘Little Patty’ Amphlett and Chrissy’s husband Charlie Drayton.
Amphlett Lane runs off Little Bourke Street between Spring and Exhibition streets, and adjoins the site of the Palace Theatre where the Divinyls played, and the Princess Theatre where Chrissy performed as Judy Garland in The Boy From Oz. It features a mural by Tasmanian artist Peter Gouldthorpe depicting important aspects of Chrissy’s life, including her beloved dogs.
Classically trained pop singer Kate Miller-Heidke was commissioned to write an opera based on a children’s book, The Rabbits, with an extremely short text by John Marsden and beautiful illustrations by Shaun Tan. Heidke had help from composer Iain Grandage since the opera is presented with orchestra. The commissioning and production had a lot of collaborating organisations including Barking Gecko, a Perth children’s theatre company, WA Opera, Opera Australia, the Perth and Melbourne Festivals; we have not yet sorted out who did what. But consequently/nevertheless it has gone on stage and appears to be a big success. A new Australian opera is a rare event and to be encouraged by our attendance. It will have a season at the Melbourne Festival. Here is a photo of the production which certainly is enticing.
That’s Kate Miller-Heidke at the zenith, singing.