22 November 2008

David Bridie and George Telek

David Bridie and George Telek
22 November 2008
The Speigeltent

David Bridie and long-time collaborator George Telek made the Speigeltent dance at their Australasian World Music Expo performance. There wasn’t actually room for the audience to dance, but the weather made the velvet canopy undulate for us, as the mirrors and coloured glass kept us safe and dry from the unseasonal Melbourne storm.

David Bridie founded my second favourite 80s band, Not Drowning Waving, and (I think) favourite 90s bands My Friend the Chocolate Cake. With film soundtracks and solo projects, he’s continued to produce an ongoing supply of his evocative and haunting sounds, smooth voice and personal lyrics.

Telek’s web site describes Telek as “a band, a man and, in some parts of the world, a legend”. With legions of fans in Papua New Guinea, he has been at the forefront of the PNG music scene since the 70s.

David met George in 1986 when he was holidaying in Rabaul, PNG, and two years later Not Drowning Waving recorded Tabaran with Telek and other musicians from the area. David Byrne declared it his favourite album of the year and Peter Gabriel was so impressed that Telek performed at WOMAD festivals and has since recorded on Gabriel’s Real World label.

Journalist Jon Casimir describes Tabaran as, “Neither exploitative nor the slightest bit anthropological ... a genuine, joyous integration of cultures, a landmark album which sounds as startlingly right today as it did in 1990.”

I bought my copy after being gobsmacked by Telek and Not Drowning Waving one hot night in the gardens at WOMADelaide. The unique fusion of traditional with contemporary sounds didn’t diminish or demean either, and it was such a joy to hear the same music, so many years later, and realise that it’s still so original and powerful.

David also pleased the assembled fans with a selection from his most recent album Succumb and favourites “Dive” and “Salt” from Act of Free Choice. He performs with a sometimes disconcerting distance from his audience, but his passion for his music is absolute and addictive.

George, David and their band sent us back into the rain with “Melbourne City”, the first song George wrote when he came to Melbourne in the late 80s – and David insists that there are still beetle nut stains on the footpath alongside Elwood beach from that visit.

This review appeared on AussieTheatre.com.

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