Childhood is the time of our unbridled creativity. American poet Maya Angelou summed it up best with this statement: ‘We are all creative, but by the time we are three or four years old, someone has knocked the creativity out of us. Some people shut up the kids who start to tell stories. Kids dance in their cribs, but someone will insist they sit still. By the time the creative people are ten or twelve, they want to be like everyone else.’
Mullum Music Festival continues its commitment to nurture the creativity and talent of our young people with their Youth Mentorship program. Winners of the categories have just been announced. Winners not only enjoy guidance from a mentor, but also perform a 20-minute spot at the Festival.
The winner for the Blues and Roots category, with Jordie Lane as mentor, is Carl Leplan from Mullum High. Carl will be performing at the Drill Hall at 7pm on Saturday 26 November. Winner of the Band section, mentored by Husky, is Potato Potato, with students from Xavier, Byron High and Cape Byron Steiner. Potato Potato will perform at 8pm at the Civic Hall on Saturday 26 November. The Singer-songwriter section was hotly contested but was eventually won by Gabe and Gecilia Brandolini from Cape Byron Steiner. Their mentor is Lucie Thorne and they perform at the festival on Friday at 4.30 at the Drill Hall (this is different from the program). The Singing section, mentored by Liz Martin, was won by Casino girl Millicent Ivaschenko. She performs at the Bowl on Saturday 26 November at 2.30pm. And finally, the winner of the Under-15’s, mentored by Sara Tindley, was 12-year-old St John’s of Mullumbimby student Sarah Grace Buckley.
Tom Whitaker is the co-ordinator of the mentorship and he was impressed with the standard and scope of the applications.
‘We got nearly a hundred entries – heaps more than last year, some from as far as Bonalbo, some from Caboolture; one of the winners was from Casino; we had lots of high school entries.’
So what were the judges looking for when they awarded winners?
‘Judges were looking for performers who had quite a bit of experience. You could tell this by what they submitted in their bio. They were at a level of professionalism and it was clear the opportunity would help them get to the next level. There were some artists where you thought they would benefit because they could use the opportunity to build their profile and they were in line with their mentor and what they could give them.’
Which entries stood out the most ?
‘The band entries were fantastic. Bands have a sense of humour that solo singer-songwriters don’t have. The bands are quirky and sometimes people had cameras strapped to basses at live performances. There is an element of performance that is about fun; for the young fellas it’s almost like kicking the footy around.’
Tom reflected on last year’s singer-songwriter category winner Jordan Mylrea to explain how a mentorship can enhance a young person’s performance skills.
‘Nano Stern mentored Jordan last year. Jordan was a very good singer-songwriter and incorporated some interesting music ideas, but he was very quiet and shy about his songs. Although he had a lot of material he said his show improved so much from the mentorship because Nano gave him buckets of mojo about getting up and performing. His mum and dad were there at his performance and the change was remarkable; there were definitely tears!’
‘This is the thing they get from the mentors, it’s that stage craft element giving the kids ideas about how to play their songs how they would play it and the mentor will give tips on their set list or the song and help them accentuate things that they hadn’t thought of before.’
Winners were delighted. Brother and sister songwriting duo Gabriel and Cecilia commented:
‘We would like to thank the Mullumbimby music festival for giving us such a wondrous opportunity to play alongside such talented and renown musicians. We are both ecstatic with excitement, dying to get on stage and perform the songs we have spent countless hours composing and practising. We are both highly motivated musicians who have been playing instruments since before we were talking and walking and we can’t wait to see all you lovely people at the festival!’
And the boys from Potato Potato were equally grateful and excited about what lies in store for them over the next few weeks.
‘We are really stoked and really looking forward to the opportunity to talk and learn from Husky; they are such a great band and we can’t wait to meet them and get some tips. Being 14 we greatly appreciate the chance to improve our sound, stage performance and musicality; we can’t wait to see you all at the festival.’
Mullum Music Festival, Thursday 24 till Sunday 27 November. Four days, eight venues and more than 100 performances, some of them by our new up-and-coming young music stars. Make sure you catch their shows and be part of the Mullum Music Festival movement to nurture emerging talent.
It’s not every day that young people get a chance to share the bill with international and national talent.
For program details go to mullummusicfestival.com.
Image: Lucky young recipients of Mullum Music Festival’s Husky band mentorship, Potato Potato.