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Byron Shire
March 6, 2021

Songbirds of Mullum Music Festival

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Festivals create important meeting places for a community of artists to collaborate, and in some cases create performances that may never have happened if they were just touring or playing their regular live set. This year Emily Lubitz has something very special in store for festival goers, a showcase of amazing women artists called Songbirds of the 1970s.

How does the Songbirds show reflect the growing community that’s happening between artists at Mullum Music Festival? Mullum fest is a chick magnet! So many stellar female singers sweep through the festival every year and so many of us really dig each others work. There has been many collaborations between Mullum fest regulars so this project won’t be the first time I’ve shared the stage with many of these amazing ladies.

Obviously artists won’t have much time for rehearsal, it will be pretty spontaneous why do you think its important to create new music or events like this at a festival? Yes, the band will be tight so the singers can just do their thing over the top without too much rehearsal. I like that scenario sometimes as it allows for nervousness, spontenaeity and something new, for the artists and the audience. Our band has been coming to Mullum frequently for a little while now so I think it’s time we gave them something a little strange and wonderful.

There are so many fantastic women singers and singer songwriters from the 70’s like Helen Reddy, Grace Slick, Janis, Joan Baez, Karen Carpenter, Joni Mitchell, Roberta Flack, Patti Smith… how on earth are you going to choose? So many legends, it’s going to heartbreaking to make a shortlist. It was such a rich time in music. I’m not sure who and what and which at this point..

EMILYWhat do you think women singer songwriters today have to learn from these great artists? There is something very unmanufactured about all the women you mentioned. Something very raw. They were living in a time where the music industry was going strong and once they had been catapulted into fame they continued to be celebrated, purely for their musical talent. They didn’t need to tweet or instagram or create perfume and fashion lines because they could just sell records. They were huge stars, simply for their songs and voices. Sometimes I envy the world they lived in. (I’m still working on my fashion label).. So I guess, we can learn to not get too swept up in the marketing world we live in and just write the best songs we can, believing that songs can change the world.

Who are the women artists from this era that you most identify with? Joni, Janis, Stevie Nicks and Nina Simone are just a few who move me to core.

Do you think the emergence of feminism as a powerful ideology had some impact on so many women having such a powerful presence in the music industry? It was such an exciting time in history, especially for women, and I think the music reflected it. Civil rights, feminism, rock’n’roll, revolution… it was easy to find something to fight for, which is a good environment for art and music to be meaningful. Women were finding their roar and it sounded spectacular.

You’ve been to MMF four times now, what are the great artists and gigs that you’ve been to? Potato Potato are an amazing band! I loved watching Darren Percival doing Ray Charles in the high school last year, Husky, Loren Kate often makes me cry, Mama Kin was ridiculously fun in that late set she did in the Civic Hall and the after hours jams at the Courthouse have always been loose and awesome.

What do you think is unique or special about Mullum Music Festival? I think the calibre of artists at Mullum Fest seems greater than what you would expect from a such a small festival. Which is perfect. The music is incredible and you feel like you’re in a beautiful little community festival. I love how the the whole town comes alive, with music wafting out of all the buildings and that crazy, loud, ridiculous bus doing main-ies all day long!

Tin Pan Orange’s Emily Lubitz presents Songbirds of the 1970’s at the Mullum Music Festival this year. It is going to be a very special one off show, not to be missed!

Tix and info www.mullummusicfestival.com. 21 – 24 November.


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