Archive for March, 2011

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Adelaide Fringe Review – Skitch Tease

The premise seemed good.  Naked cabaret comedy performance with piano accordian.

I never thought I’d say that nudity can never compensate a wanting performance, but there you go.

It started well, as a bold bump & tease entrance, a slow disrobing behind a strategically placed accordian (a nice change to balloons).  But then Liz Skitch, our femme fatale protagonist for the evening, delivered her particular mix of songs, stories and comedic one liners, clothed in bad musical paisley behind a maddening novelty oompah bass line that had me convinced that at some stage she was going to deliver a “I say, I say, I say, my dog has no nose…” routine.

If you are old enough you may remember comedian Jean Kittsons ditzy character Candida Royal on the Big Gig – remove the leotard, give her German instrumentation and you get the picture.

Look, much of the audience seemed to be laughing and were enjoying it tremendously, so what do I know?

I just didn’t find the stories particularly clever, the songs were loosely constructed and the expected punchy one liners had the aim of drunken haymaker in the front bar of the Ettamogah Pub.

Skitchtease has one more performance this Thursday 11 March 2011.

Posted by Jonathan on Mar 8th 2011 | Filed in Cabaret,Culture,Events,People,Reviews,Style | Comments (0)

Adelaide Fringe Review – Adnaan Baraky: Sounds of Syria

I would like to use this review of Adelaide-based Syrian Oud player Adnaan Baraky as an opportunity to make a comment on the multiculturalism debate, and this so called notion of “assimilation”.

A number of years ago I started to learn the Oud with a wonderful teacher in the Western Sydney Turkish community, which culminated in me joining their community orchestra as the token White Anglo-Saxon. I didn’t speak a word of Turkish, I was not a Muslim, I had never been to Middle Eastern country, I knew nothing of the culture – and yet I was welcomed with open arms because of my willingness to cross the cultural bridge halfway on account of my love of the instrument. And I came to learn and love that there is such a thing as a unique Australian Turkish culture, a thing in itself. This was for me represented best in a song composed in Turkish Classical style by my Oud teacher which sang the history of the Australian “Johnnies” and Turkish “Mehmets” fighting on the shores of Gallipoli. “Assimilation” as the critics of multiculturalism would have it, would prevent art such as this from being born in Australia.

During the performance by Adnaan, a highly skilled and creative artist with a learned musical pedigree, he spoke of composing his piece Melodies from the Other Side as the US Forces invaded Afghanistan, written for the dead on both sides of the conflict. He was unable to finish the song. Then when the US invaded Iraq, again he tried to complete the piece but was not able. Finally, after moving to Australia, he was so touched the tragedy of the victims of the Victorian bushfires he was able to finish the song, as if the spirits of the dead were saying to the living “Don’t worry about us, instead, worry about yourselves, for we are in peace”.

This is what is created in the crucible of multiculturalism.

Much of his new music being showcased tonight from his newly released album is born of his migration to Australia, of the search to find a means of expressing his Syrian heritage in the Australian setting. The Blues was not born here, but we are often happy to talk about an Australian Blues scene, and cultural context. Why are we then so hesitant about recognizing Australian-Middle Eastern culture and music, or Australian-African, or Australian-Asian for that matter?

There are songs of geographical dislocation, Ya Balady, of Sufic spirital ecstacy through Union with the Divine, Dinaan and well as traditional dances, Lawha. Through all these works and thematic melodies he conjures amazing taksim (improvisation) that carries one into deep meditative admiration.

Adnaan Baraky will be doing one more performance for the Adelaide Fringe on Sunday 13 March. Attendance would be all the more culturally enriching for you I think, an opportunity to pick up his CD while you are there.

Posted by Jonathan on Mar 5th 2011 | Filed in Art,Cabaret,Culture,Events,Music,News,People,Reviews,Style | Comments (0)

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