Mu­sic Spin Doc­tor and the lat­est al­bum re­views

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Contents - Iain Shed­den spin­doc@theaus­tralian.com.au

Ear­lier this week I wrote in The Aus­tralian about 13-year-old singer and dancer Mack Holz, a young hope­ful from Light­ning Ridge in north­west­ern NSW who is one of the stars of the film Wide

Open Sky, which has its full-length, direc­tor’s-cut world pre­miere as part of the Syd­ney Film Fes­ti­val next Fri­day. The film, by Syd­ney direc­tor Lisa Ni­col, fo­cuses on the Mooram­billa Voices re­gional choir, whose artis­tic direc­tor Michelle Leonard’s aim is to bring mu­sic ed­u­ca­tion to those in ru­ral NSW who oth­er­wise would have no ac­cess to it. Wide Open Sky fo­cuses on the re­cruit­ment of 200 pri­mary school chil­dren from across the state and their par­tic­i­pa­tion in a three­day mu­sic camp — many of them away from home for the first time — fol­lowed by a kind of grad­u­a­tion con­cert. It’s a won­der­fully up­lift­ing and nat­u­ral piece of work, dis­play­ing not only Leonard’s pas­sion for her task but also how mu­sic can open young minds to a whole new world of pos­si­bil­i­ties. The film’s pro­duc­ers are hope­ful of a cinema re­lease later in the year, we hear. A posse of more ex­pe­ri­enced Aussie mu­sos will get the chance to broaden their hori­zons next week when they start record­ing an al­bum with Cuban and Ja­maican mu­si­cians in Ha­vana. The record­ing project, which will fea­ture the tal­ents of leg­endary Ja­maican rhythm sec­tion Sly & Rob­bie, among oth­ers, is de­signed to bring to­gether Cuba and Ja­maica’s dis­tinc­tive styles of mu­sic and to forge an orig­i­nal hy­brid. Aus­tralian sound en­gi­neer Eric Coelho, who works as an au­dio lec­turer at the Cre­ative Me­dia In­sti­tute in By­ron Bay, NSW, will be sound en­gi­neer on the record­ing, which takes place at Ha­vana’s Egrem Stu­dios. Also tak­ing part from here are pro­ducer and key­boards player Jake Savona, Blue King Brown and Bom­bay Royale drum­mer Ju­lian Goyma and per­cus­sion­ist Javier Fre­des. Aussies are also film­ing the record­ing ses­sions for a doc­u­men­tary. The al­bum will be mixed and mas­tered in Australia. Although the large tour­ing rock fes­ti­val is go­ing the way of the dodo, there are a grow­ing num­ber of bou­tique-style gath­er­ings across Australia that are at­tract­ing qual­ity acts from here and over­seas, as well as good num­bers. Next one off the rank is the in­au­gu­ral Bello Win­ter Mu­sic Fes­ti­val in Bellin­gen, NSW, which takes place at venues across town on July 2-5. It’s run by Glenn Wright, for years pro­moter of the suc­cess­ful Mul­lum Mu­sic Fes­ti­val in Mul­lumbimby, NSW. Bello, he says, will fol­low a sim­i­lar path, com­bin­ing mu­sic with work­shops and fo­rums fo­cus­ing on the en­vi­ron­ment and re­new­able en­ergy, among other at­trac­tions. Lead­ing the line-up next month is the much-lauded Cal­i­for­nia duo the Milk Car­ton Kids. Lo­cal tal­ent in­cludes Ash Grun­wald, Tin­pan Or­ange and Emma Dono­van. You can find out more at bel­low­in­ter­mu­sic.com. Happy birth­day this week­end to Carl Barat of the re­cently re-formed English out­fit the Lib­ertines, who is 37 to­day. Also to gun Amer­i­can gui­tarist Steve Vai, who is 55. To­mor­row Welsh singing leg­end Tom Jones reaches his 75th birth­day, while soul-pop-funk mae­stro Prince Roger Nel­son, bet­ter known as just Prince, turns 57.

Mack Holz with film­maker Lisa Ni­col

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