Con­way and Zy­gier serve a tasty feast

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Ker­stin Kehren

ARIA win­ner Deborah Con­way wel­comes the chance to reac­quaint her­self with the Tanks Arts Cen­tre.

“I love play­ing in Cairns and Tanks is a re­ally great venue,” she says. “It’s a great north­ern cul­tural cen­tre for in­no­va­tive mu­sic and peo­ple do­ing in­ter­est­ing things.”

Her March 4 out­ing at the re­cently ren­o­vated cre­ative hub sees Con­way per­form as part of Women in Song; a con­cert that will bring to­gether many fe­male artists in a sin­gle event as part of the venue’s In­ter­na­tional Women’s Day cel­e­bra­tions.

Con­way, known for songs such as Re­lease Me and It’s Only the Be­gin­ning, will be joined by artists Fleur McMe­namin, Mojo Juju and oth­ers.

Women in Song isn’t Con­way’s first in­volve­ment in a pro­ject cel­e­brat­ing fe­male mu­si­cians across a di­verse ar­ray of back­grounds.

Con­way and part­ner Willy Zy­gier pro­duced a long-run­ning con­cert se­ries — Broad — that fea­tured fe­male singer­song­writ­ers per­form­ing on the same bill. The pro­ject aimed to show­case the di­ver­sity of women singer-song­writ­ers and saw the in­volve­ment of such artists as Sara Storer (who will also per­form in Women in Song), Katie Noo­nan and Kate Miller-Hei­dke.

“It was in re­sponse to that idea that women, fe­male singer-song­writ­ers, were be­ing lumped to­gether on ra­dio playlists — ‘Oh, we can’t have that. We’ve al­ready got a fe­male singer-song­writer’ — or in record stores.

“Ac­tu­ally, the idea that this was some kind of mono­lithic genre is, of course, a non­sense.

“There are so many in­tri­cate dif­fer­ences and dif­fer­ent aspects to how women would con­duct and re­spond to writ­ing songs,” Con­way points out.

Among Con­way’s own song­writ­ing achieve­ments is Man Over­board from her time with the band Do Re Mi. It was writ­ten with Dor­land Bray and is, in sim­ple terms, about be­ing a woman of strength. It is the only song Con­way sings from the out­fit and it may be heard at her Tanks per­for­mance.

“It re­mains to be seen,” she says. “It seems fairly on topic how­ever.”

Asked just what she sees as the song’s mes­sage, Con­way re­veals some­thing of her own views on mu­sic.

“I al­ways think that songs kind of be­long to the lis­tener in a way,” she says. “I’ve al­ways found it’s a ‘ don’t mess with me, I’m not yours to be messed with’ kind of a song.”

Con­way will per­form at Women in Song with Zy­gier, and the two “very rarely” play apart th­ese days.

“I’m a very meat and pota­toes gui­tar player,” she says. “He’s any­thing but. He’s the chilli and the gar­lic and the spice to my meat and pota­toes.”

She has re­cently fin­ished writ­ing an­other al­bum, but as for what some of the themes in that new ma­te­rial are, Con­way ad­mits “it’s pretty an­gry.”

“But it’s not nec­es­sar­ily an­gry about gen­der is­sues.”

Deborah Con­way per­forms as part of Women in Song at the Tanks Art Cen­tre on March 4. Tick­ets from tick­etlink.com.au

Pic­ture: SU­SAN WIND­MILLER

Deborah Con­way and Willy Zy­gier.

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