Deaf dancer stars in KAGE’s Out of Earshot


Anna Seymour is a professional dancer. She’s also profoundly deaf.

She stars in Out of Earshot, the latest work from the contemporary dance company KAGE, which is all about silence, body language and the reverberations of sound.

I went along to the KAGE rehearsal room to speak to Anna, through interpreter Jinaya Myers, and to the Artistic Director of KAGE, Kate Denborough.

You can hear the interview, that I produced for Books and Arts on ABC RN, here.


Exploring Dark Mofo’s Dark Park


The Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra preparing to perform at Dark Park (Georgia Moodie)

Dark Mofo, Mona’s midwinter festival of large-scale public art, food, music, light and noise, draws crowds on an annual pilgrimage to the freezing southern island of Australia. While most of us are lamenting the fact that the nights are getting shorter and the mornings colder, Dark Mofo embraces Hobart’s long nights and biting winter winds.

One of the highlights of the festival is Dark Park, Dark Mofo’s industrial art wonderland at Macquarie Point on Hobart’s docks.

Visitors are encouraged to leave their comfort zones amidst unsettling installations by Australian and international artists.

We meet artist Michaela Gleave and composer Amanda Cole who have worked together on a new work called A Galaxy of Suns.

The pair have transcribed constellations into a musical score that is being sung live by the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra Chorus, singing the stars as they rise and set on the horizon.

I produced this story for ABC RN’s Books and Arts, and you can hear the story here.


The TSO chorus on stage at Dark Mofo’s Dark Park (Georgia Moodie)

The TSO chorus before their performance of A Galaxy of Suns on Saturday evening (Georgia Moodie)

Baroque Circus

The Circa ensemble members rehearsing at their studio in Brisbane last week

The Circa ensemble members rehearsing at their studio in Brisbane last week

Brisbane-based contemporary circus troupe Circa and the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra have joined forces for a performance of drama, sensuality, mystery and thrills.

The Brandenburg Orchestra is a period instrument orchestra, lead by the dynamic and energetic Paul Dyer AO, and they exclusively perform music from the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

For this concert of French Baroque music, they will be performing alongside French soprano Claire Lefilliâtre, who is also the heroine of the circus performance.

Seven Circa acrobats will join Claire and the orchestra on stage, for a performance that melds contemporary circus and the music of the French Baroque.

For ABC RN’s Books and Arts, I spoke to the Artistic Director of Circa, Yaron Lifschitz, and you can listen to the interview here.

Aboriginal choir returns Lutheran hymns to Germany

The Central Australian Aboriginal Women's Choir (Amy Jean Photography)

The Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir (Amy Jean Photography)

The Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir is a group of 32 Aboriginal women from remote communities in Central Australia.

They are currently on a historic tour in Germany, taking the hymns that were introduced to their communities by Lutheran missionaries back to the country and the churches where these songs originated.

German Lutheran missionaries established the Hermannsburg Mission in the Northern Territory in the 1870s, and translated beautiful baroque hymns into the local Aboriginal languages of Pitjantjatjara and Western Arrarnta.

Just before the choir left for Germany, choir leader Morris Stuart and singers Marion Swift and Judy Brumby spoke to me about what it means for this choir to be taking these Lutheran hymns back to Germany. You can hear the story, which I produced for ABC RN’s Books and Arts program, here.

Mountain Goats’ frontman John Darnielle delivers debut novel

WolfinWhiteVan_300dpiJohn Darnielle is the lyricist, composer and vocalist of the popular American indie-folk band, The Mountain Goats.

Many of his songs deal with troubled teenagers and people who don’t quite fit in, and his debut novel Wolf in White Van is no different.

It tells the story of Sean Phillips, who has lived with a horribly disfigured face since he was seventeen.

Sean rarely leaves the confines of his apartment in southern California, and much of his interaction with the outside world is through a snail mail fantasy game he has created called the Trace Italian.

Darnielle discusses why he is drawn to telling stories about troubled teenage boys, and how his own turbulent adolescence fed into this novel.

I produced this interview for Books and Arts on ABC RN, and you can hear the full story here.

Corpus Medicorum – an orchestra of doctors and their patients

Sue Bradley and Phillip Antippa (Georgia Moodie)

Sue Bradley and Phillip Antippa (Georgia Moodie)

The Corpus Medicorum is an orchestra made up of health professionals, including doctors, dentists, nurses, physiotherapists and psychologists.

It was founded by Phillip Antippa, a cardiothoracic surgeon and the leader of the orchestra’s viola section.

One of Phillip’s patients is also in Corpus Medicorum. Sue Bradley is a professional tuba play, who had to have one lung removed after being diagnosed with lung cancer five years ago.

Phillip and Sue discuss whether doctors make good musicians, as well as their concert at the Melbourne Recital Centre this weekend, which features Elgar’s Sea Pictures and Brahms’ Symphony No.4 in E minor, Op.98.

I produced this story for Books and Arts Daily on ABC Radio National. You can hear it here

Dara Puspita: the all-girl, Indonesian rock band of the ’60s and ’70s

A Sticky Fingers Art Print of Dara Puspita (Supplied)

A Sticky Fingers Art Print of Dara Puspita (Supplied)

A Sticky Fingers Art Print of Dara Puspita (Supplied)

A Sticky Fingers Art Print of Dara Puspita (Supplied)

The cover of a Dara Puspita LP, Jang Pertana (Supplied)

The cover of a Dara Puspita LP, Jang Pertana (Supplied)

Dara Puspita was one of the most famous girl bands to come out of South East Asia in the 1960s and ’70s, known for their crazy concerts, where all four members of the band would writhe around on stage and scream their lyrics to big crowds.

The band formed in 1964, and their brand of rock and roll did not sit well with the Indonesian President at the time, Sukarno.

After being arrested for performing at a wild party, Dara Puspita left Indonesia for Thailand, and then sought fame in Europe in the early 1970s.

In Melbourne, there’s an exhibition of screen prints celebrating the controversial Indonesian all-girl band – made by young print makers from Cambodia!

Julien Poulson is the leader of the Cambodian Space Project, a psychedelic rock band from Phnom Penh, and the man behind Sticky Fingers Art Prints Cambodia, who have made the equally psychedelic screen prints of Dara Puspita.

He discusses the forgotten story of the band that he calls the Pussy Riot of the 1960s and ’70s, and why they have a following in Cambodia.

This story was produced for ABC Radio National’s Books and Arts Daily. Hear it here.