28 December 2010

Not so qt@Xmas

Jazz-wise it’s quiet for me this Christmas. I’m in Adelaide and haven’t managed to find any gigs at suitable times and haven’t happened on any bands. But the buskers had me thinking how cultured and interesting is our street life these days. Rundle Mall is the main shopping street in Adelaide and I caught this capricious mix of styles. The Australian Girls Choir was singing lovely harmonies with massed high voices. They were obviously well prepared and well practised and singing a predictable repertoire of Christmas songs. Appropriate to the season but a bit tame for me. Then a small group of young tap dancers. Tap returns! I liked this, mostly for its life and excitement and rarity. Great fun and excellent exercise although some of the rhythms were just a bit out. The kids playing nice Christmas tunes on violin and guitar were predictable but lovely to hear. Then the Asian links. I’ve just been reading of Asian connections in Australia jazz and how this is a feature of the Australian art (Eric Griswold in conversation with Peter Knight, in Extempore, no. 5, 2010, p.34-46). There were two Asian links that I heard this day. First was a bloke with an Asian hat, a dulcimer-like instrument played like a guitar and plenty of loops and effects. Second was shamisen player and Japanese singer, Noriko Tadano. I really liked Noriko with her harsh Japanese vocals and that banjo-like three string shamisen. I later discovered she’s appeared at WOMAdelaide and various Melbourne jazz events and even won awards for her shamisen playing in Japan. See some videos of Noriko on YouTube. It’s not a normal sound for my ears, but I found it refreshingly new and fascinating. To finish the night, I caught an escapologist at the Bay. What a wonderfully eclectic mix of buskers … such a lively street life.

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