Feel the Bliss

Her music is reminiscent of 60s and 70s style singer-songwriters and, after a 20 year hiatus, local musician Kim Banffy has emerged from the shadows into the spotlight. She has recorded a debut album State of Bliss which she launches this week.

You didn’t sing for 20 years and now you’ve made an album….Why did you stop and what got you back on the creative path?

Societal pressures for women where and when I grew up were such that I was encouraged when I left school to go and get a real job, and forget about all this creative stuff (I’m also a visual artist). So I dutifully pursued the 9-5 job, and raised a family, and found that although there were satisfying elements in doing both of those things, there was still a big gap. I identify very much with the sentiment explored in Drusilla Modjeska’s book, Stravinsky’s Lunch! I attended a Summersong singing and songwriting camp at Lennox Head one year, and that got me back on the singing track…at first in choirs and groups, and then finally writing songs, albeit tentatively at first.

How have you overcome your nerves around singing?

I did a lot of singing when I was young, and wasn’t especially nervous, but ‘coming out’ as a middle-aged woman was a bit scary, especially singing songs from my heart, when it was my upbringing to be quiet and not be an imposition. I just did it, and it got easier the more I did!

Kim-Banffy-KNP_0810Who are the singer-songwriters that have most inspired you along the way?

I’m a big fan of Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, Suzanne Vega, Josh Pyke and Ron Sexsmith. Meaningful lyrics which make use of poetic devices, and unusual rhyme inspire me, as do interesting melodies and unusual key and time changes. I like it when songwriters compile albums that have a variety of styles, which avoids a ‘sameish’ quality.

What is the song that you are proudest of, that you have written?

Hmm. That’s a difficult question…a little akin in my book to asking a child to choose their favourite colour. The colours are best in a rainbow, because they provide a contrast to each other and highlight their differences. If I had to choose, I am fond of Couldn’t We, because it is a contemporary song which is unusual & unpredictable enough to be interesting, but follows a form (almost a classical rondo), which makes it comfortable to the ear.  I also really like State Of Bliss for the unconventional changes of key.

Can you tell me about State of Bliss? Where did you record? Who with? What did you want to achieve in the process?

I recorded mainly at Studios 301, with producer/engineer, Anthony Lycenko. I just wanted to record my best songs as well as I could.

Can you tell me about the band that you are playing with for the CD launch?

It’s the same talented people who recorded with me…Thierry Fossemalle (The Whitlams, Grace Knight) on bass, Dave Sanders (Grace Knight) on drums, Paul Appelkamp (aka Lionheir) on electric guitar and the legendary Steve Russell on keys. I am very lucky.

What should we expect on the night?

I hope that you will be uplifted, have your heart touched and leave with a warm glow!

Kim Banffy and her band perform at the Drill Hall in Mullumbimby Friday from 7pm.

Entry is $15/12

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