live: Celebrating song, the Lil’ Fi way ......................
WHETHER she’s celebrating her voluptuous figure or pondering if it’s kosher to tell someone there’s toilet paper hanging out of their knickers, Lil’ Fi’s lyrical content is positively humorous.
The northern NSW-based comical-songstress, aka Fiona Hunter, says musicians are ‘‘the antennas of society’’ and have a duty to sing about the unspeakable. ‘‘I love socially awkward moments,’’ she says. ‘‘One of my songs is called Celebrate The Curves. People ask if I am pregnant all the time ’cause I have my mother’s body. I have curves and a big ol’ arse. I want to celebrate who we are. Botox is up there with foot binding. We do all sorts of things to ourselves – clitoridectomy, labiaplasty – we get a Brazilian wax and realise it looks like a goat down there.’’
Combining her tongue-in-cheek songwriting style with her own blend of Australian-blues, Lil’ Fi sings from the heart.
‘‘I am a white girl from Queensland not a black American from the deep south,’’ she says.
‘‘I made a conscious decision to sing with an Aussie twang. When I was 19 and started singing professionally, I decided I wanted my own sound. All other musicians sounded the same except the popular ones that are really good – they have their own sound. When I decided I wanted to sing blues, I didn’t want it with an American accent. That was unheard of here in the ’90s. I was one of the first to do it.’’
Lil’ Fi’s musical persona is most alive on stage with her seven-piece band, Lil’ Fi & The Dirty Rascals.
Known on the festival-circuit for throwing high-energy, feel-good gigs with a barrel of laughs, Lil’ Fi is ‘‘very cheeky’’ on stage.
‘‘I make people feel like they are in my lounge room. They feel safe knowing they are going to have a good time,’’ she says.
With her performing career spanning more than two decades, Lil’ Fi says no two shows are ever the same.
‘‘I always do something different. The beauty of blues is you can’t rehearse it. It keeps me on my toes. After 23 years I have a few gigs up my sleeves. With blues, you don’t get older, you get better. A couple of songs I have been singing for 20 years, but I sing them in a different key to keep myself interested.’’
The feel-good aspect of Lil’ Fi’s shows stems from her belief music has the power to heal. She approaches healing with a ‘‘feet on the ground’’ attitude.
‘‘I don’t think that just because you talk deep, you are a healer,’’ she says. ‘‘You get healing through having a nice time. You don’t need to have a gong and white outfit that floats in the breeze to be spiritual. You can wear cowboy hats and cuban heels if you want.’’
Lil’ Fi did her masters in Reiki, a technique for relaxation and healing, when she was 26 and says it helps her understand the power of vibration.
‘‘Beautiful music played with beautiful intent makes you feel good. Musicians are the heart and soul of a community,’’ she says.
– ROSE SADLEIR
Lil’ Fi & The Dirty Rascals play Live at Bond, at Bond University’s ADCO Amphitheatre, on Sunday from 3pm and four shows at the Blues on Broadbeach festival, from May 23 to May 26.
– Picture: LUKE MARSDEN.
Singer, songwriter and musician Lil’ Fi.