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Byron Shire
October 4, 2022

Singing songs of sorrow and resilience

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Tucked away in a Mullumbimby music studio, a group of local musicians have been pouring their hearts out through song.

The artists are taking part in Flood Songs, a project helping the community process its trauma around the floods and helping local flood-affected musicians get back on their feet.

Ben Ellis plays guitar as he is rescued in the March floods in Lismore. Photo Josh Dooley

‘It’s the kind of compilation that I’ll want to listen to with the headphones on and my eyes closed,’ says the project’s creator, local sound engineer Jan Muths.

‘There’s an amazing cross-section of different genres – it’s definitely going to be a musical journey.’

The local arts and entertainment industries have been among the hardest hit by the dual challenges of the floods and COVID-19, with live events coming to an almost complete halt for extended periods.

‘I’ve heard cases of musicians who’ve just given up after losing all of their instruments and gear,’ Mr Muths says.

‘It’s been so great to see things start to pick up again with live gigs coming back.’

Over the past month the team have been recording a wide range of flood-related songs at the new rooms Mr Muths is using as part of his business, mixartist.com.au.

Byron’s SAE Institute has also donated the use of its studios.

Among the featured musicians are Shannon Loch from Tweed metal band Emotion Killer, folk and country singer Brett Kelly from Lismore. There will also be genre-defying offerings from Emma Hamilton and Cheyenne Murphy.

The team, which includes locals Saphia Stone and Nathan Stanborough, will begin the mixing process in the coming weeks before heading into post production.

The final release is expected to take place later this year.

‘The musicians have all been very grateful, and I think there’s a bit of relief there too,’ Mr Muths says.

‘I think they’re happy to be focusing on making music again rather than just dealing with the day to day struggles of cleaning up after the floods.

‘It’s a small step toward having a normal life again.’

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