Last Month’s Art Party (AP) was back at the Create or Die space where the audience reflected on lessons they have learned. To acknowledge them but more importantly to let go of any negativity, “Sending the past into the sky”.

Once again, AP’s ever shining ray of sunshine, Jessie Ray welcomed the audience and introduced the first performer of the night.

Matthew Simcock – Spoken word poet

This was Matthews first time at AP. Originally from New Zealand, he had the audience hooked onto his every word. He began his performance by speaking, almost chanting in another language that as both captivating and reassuring, saying, “When strangers meet, greater allowances need to be made”. He then went on to acknowledge the earth and our relation to one another through the earth. He acknowledged the vastness of the sky, its darkness and emptiness. As a newcomer and traveller, he acknowledged the traditional custodians of the land, he acknowledged the people who built Sydney and the people at AP who speak English as a second language and finally he acknowledged the dead, our ancestors. He ended his performance with a poem that came to him 20 years ago, fully formed, in Wellington that he wrote on a napkin. The poem was about Jane, a woman who enters a cafe and the effect she had on the narrator, speaking of a life lived through words, fully formed.

Dominic Youdan – Singer/Songwriter

Having had the pleasure of watching Dominic perform at a previous AP, I knew the audience were in for a treat. Singings songs full of emotional truths, the audience connecting with his words and his voice. He sang a song about someone who doesn’t see how good they are through the eyes of someone else and needing to love yourself before you can love somebody else, on a song called, Somebody Else. Then he sang, Don’t Love me, about a couple who thinks one loves the other more, something that many could relate to, who have been in a relationship like that at some point. Then he sang, Tiger Lilly, a song that made his mother cry who had come all the way from England to watch him perform. It’s safe to say his words touched all of those who were present at AP. The audience demanded more of him and he did not disappoint. Keep an eye out for his new EP that will be dropping soon.

Jessie Ray – Something I’ve learned

Jessie took to the stage. She talked about the importance of forgiveness, saying sorry and hugging it out, “At the end friendships are more important to hang on to,” she said. Speaking about the people who are no longer present at AP anymore, but were there at the beginning. Jessie acknowledged her fiery nature and her ruthlessness sometimes doesn’t allow her to see what is important, something she is constantly working on. Some of the people that are no longer present at AP was because of her, she told the audience, the way she had said certain things and the things that she’s said without thought. But she is working towards changing this, learning to become a better person and learning from past errors. She sang a song about falling out with a friend and how through art she is better able to understand and reconnect with her feelings.

Beth Hill – ‘The Uncanny Love of Jimmy Panagakos’

Beth is the author of the novella titled ‘The Uncanny Love of Jimmy Panagakos’ that is soon to be released. Inspired by the real Olympia Milk bar on Parramatta Rd, a step back in time where milkshakes were only $2.90 but now it looks structurally unsound, which has been the cause of a lot of gossip and misconceptions, all unconfirmed. Beth recited a few pages from her novella that was accompanied by a slide show of photographs, some of which she had taken of the real Olympia Milk Bar and its surroundings as it stands today and other images she had gotten from people. There was something peaceful about being read to, a reminded of one’s childhood, a time of innocence and unconditional love, all safe and tucked into bed. Like one large warmth blanket, the AP audience cozied up to each other, listening intently. ‘The Uncanny Love of Jimmy Panagakos’ is a story of unrequited love, longing, and finding our place in the world, which explores dark desires and those hidden places of the human heart.

Epizo Bangoura – African Harp

The multiple award winning musician and true multi-instrumentalist, one of West Africa’s leading musicians, Epizo Bangoura dazzled the audience with the Kora, the African harp. This was something that had to be experienced, it was ethereal and beautiful and entrancing and it beckoned the AP audience to listen. It was instantly obvious to see why he has been travelling the world receiving critical acclaim for his clever mastery of rhythm. He told AP the story of the Kora while stroking the cords of the harp.

Before harvest time, someone had to watch after the rice to stop the rows and other creatures from eating them. The job fell to a brother and sister. Every morning the brother and sister when to do their job and every morning the brother carried with him a doumbek drum. The brother would sit with his drum while his sister did all the work. One day, while working, the sister wanted to play the drum to better understand why the drum was capable of making her brother stay still all day. He refused and told her that only men could play the doumbek, always refusing no matter how much she begged. She decided to build her own instrument called, the Kora. She didn’t know any songs but she thought it sounded beautiful. Upon hearing the sound, her brother wanted to play it. She reminded him what he had told her when she wanted to play the drum. She said the Kora is only for girls. Later, she married and had a baby boy, she taught the baby boy how to play the kora and he became the first boy to play the Kora.

Rendra Freestone joined Epizo on stage and together they created magic, mesmerising and captivating, the audience couldn’t get enough, shoulders were shaking and hips were swaying, it was amazing.

Luka Lesson – Spoken word poet

What can be said about this man that hasn’t been already said or written? Luka Lesson is a full time hip-hop/spoken word poet after taking part in poetry slam and winning the Australian National Poetry Slam. He I currently heading towards the end of his book tour, his 2nd book, titled Antidote. As a lover of words, I was hooked to every word that came out of his mouth. The AP audience gave him their attention as his words, his soldiers entered their hearts, infiltrating to the very fibres of their being to get the audience to feel, deeply and strongly. All those who were present that night, experienced Luka’s power with words as he recited some poems from his book. A storyteller with a message, using his tongue as a weapon to get the audience to listen, to think, to reflect, to challenge and be transported through space and time without leaving the Create of Die space. Luka was a highlight and the audience, myself included, wanted more. Check out his website, you can purchase his books as well as audio versions of his poems, you won’t be disappointed.

Lady DeVine – Burlesque

AP is constantly challenging my ideas of what burlesque is and what it could be, taking me to places I never thought one could go with burlesque. Lady DeVine is described as a performer with a face like a doll and a bodacious booty. With touches of cabaret, neo noir, and gangster mine and more in her performances. She entered the stage dressed as a mine with a white face mask over her face. She started off miming as though she was in a box with music perfectly selected to reflect the change in her performance. She got down on her hands and knees in what appears to be a cat costume, tail included, which the audience approved and cheered loudly. An utterly entertaining performance and it was clear why Lady Devine is dancing up a storm in the burlesque world, she is great at what she does.

Rhythm Hunters – Log Drum/Ladoai

This was another mind blowing moment, Rhythm Hunters have been described as one of Australia’s most exciting music groups, wowing the AP audience and audiences nationwide. Combining music from Indonesia, Japan and Australia, physical percussions, didgeridoo, western horns, Asian flute for deep grooves and ethereal soundscapes. The beat reverberated within your body, beckoning you to move, the AP audience clapping and cheering and Rendra Freestone showing AP once again why he a master of the drums. The Rhythm Hunters performance was powerful, tribal, a story told with no words. The intensity of the drumming caused one of the drum sticks to snap in half, but like a true professional that didn’t stop the drum player form picking up another stick and continuing through the routine, without losing rhythm. The next set involved drumming that combined singing with movement. The three women were amazing to watch, infectious in both spirit and movement, they were absolutely hypnotic, and they were powerful and captivating, allowing the music, the drumming to take over their bodies. You can catch Rhythm Hunters playing at Jenolan Caves, tickets are still available through moshtix.

Son of Sun – Band

Son of Sun, a band of really talented guys. They played at the very first AP, back in the day, when it took place in Jessie’s backyard and throughout the years they have remained humble and have not allowed their successes to change them as people. They were a great end to another amazing night of talent, great voice of the lead singer, deep and soothing and enveloping. They had the ability to transport the AP audience to places through music and lyrics alone, very powerful. The AP audience wanted more and when their set finished it almost felt abrupt, much quicker than what the audience had anticipated, but they were amazing to watch live.

For even queries/advice or to perform, get in contact with Jessie Ray and be welcomed into the AP family.

Art Party would not run smoothly each month without the help of these fine people, who volunteer their time to bring you Art Party each month:

Create of Die – Thank you for giving AP a home each month

Rob Studdert (Digital Image Studio) – For the amazing images.

Jenna Tros – For the delicious curry

Kat Kicuroski and Tim Kicuroski – For their mastery of the fork and their warm hugs

The next Art Party will be held on December 18th, come along for a night of great entertainment, warm hugs and food and smiling faces.