Belle Hendrik made history on Saturday when she strummed the first few chords as the opening act at the inaugural North Coast Songwriters Session at Kohinur Hall in Upper Main Arm.
The event was the first of many from the North Coast Songwriters, a group whose aim is to maintain an open stream of information and communication between songwriters based in the North Coast Region of NSW. The brainchild of muso Ash Bell, the concept is to create monthly community events, the chance for music lovers to connect with real artists, to listen, engage talk and interact with great musicians writing and performing their own original work.
Belle, followed by Charlie Keller, was a very fitting introduction to what proved to be an extraordinary evening of music, memory and anecdote as local songwriters Garrett Kato, Sara Tindley and Tim Stokes took to the stage in the golden hot seats to sing their songs, tells their stories and ply their trade for the audience who made their way up into them thar hills.
Relatively new to the Byron area, Garrett Kato has both unfathomable talent and unlimited possibilities gleaming from every musical crevice, Sara Tindley has the type of ethereal presence that just makes you want to cry and melt and sink into somebody’s arms all at the same time and Tim Stokes brought his eternal depth and cheeky spirit to the Kohinur stage.
With a sense of the very personal and at times a rawness of feeling underneath the stories of their work, separately and together, the three wove an ever-binding spell over the audience with the colourful and heartfelt motivations behind their music and a rich blend of songs culminating in a superb rendition of Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire.
The evening was MCd by Ash who is still on a high. ‘I’m still drifting back to Earth from wherever we were taken on Saturday night’, said Ash on Monday. ‘You can do all the preparation you like, put all the pieces in place for a show like this, but what happens next is out of human hands.’
Ash says that this was the first of what he hopes will be many Song Sessions. ‘It was perfect. A timeless and memorable experience for everyone involved. A community of music-lovers, a beautiful and majestic venue, amazing sound quality and delicious food. Each artist bared themselves in their own unique and individual way. We really got to know them a bit, and them each other. My favourite thing was watching these relationships forming right there on the stage. We have some serious talent around here.’
The music was simply awesome and the atmosphere will be talked about for a long time – something magical was born.
To sum it up, if you missed this show: you’re a big loser. For those who braved the cold and the hills to get to Upper Main Arm, they have a memory not soon forgotten.
The monthly concerts will be held in local halls across the Northern Rivers on the first Saturday of every month. Three great artists will grace the stage each night. Next month will see the lovely Danny Carr flanked by Kyle Lionhart and Guy Kachel at the Ewingsdale hall July 6 – you’d be mad to miss this opportunity to listen to great music and to see behind the songs of some pretty amazing local talent.