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September 28, 2023

Young Lismore musicians to play in Sydney

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The Lismore musicians, aged 16 to 22, will travel to Sydney later this month. Photo supplied.

Later this month a group of young Lismore musicians will travel to Sydney to take part in a huge night of Latin music at Sydney’s Club York. 

This might not seem like such a big deal, but these youth, who live in a town once renowned for its cultural vibrancy and especially its flourishing music scene, have like many in the region been rebuilding as part of the long and difficult post-flood process.

Re-establishing cultural connections in the town, particularly as they apply to young people, has been extremely difficult. Fortunately, a dedicated group of both local and visiting musicians and arts organisers has been working tirelessly to restore the once-dynamic live music environment.

Sydney musician and band leader Gai Bryant has travelled to Lismore on multiple occasions to mentor young students in conjunction with Anita Bellman, the director of the local Northern Rivers Conservatorium. 

A opportunity to gather and connect

Bryant said that this (the trip to Sydney’s Club York) has been particularly important as it will give young people an opportunity to gather and connect. ‘You can imagine how many instruments were lost – I know the Con lost all its pianos, drum kits, percussion and library of scores,’ said Gai.

The musicians have been working through a Latin-inspired repertoire and the basic rhythm patterns needed to understand a few basic styles as well as improvisation, for the past two years.

The Northern Rivers Con is the only place that has instruments and a musical infrastructure in the area, following a donation drive for instruments after the flood.

The Sydney trip has been a huge motivator for everyone. The young musicians are incredibly excited to be able to come down and play for a Sydney audience.

Anita Bellman has managed to find local sponsorship for the airfares needed. The Conservatorium of Sydney has given them free tickets to attend the Symphonic Wind Concert the night before their Club York event. AIM have offered rehearsal rooms.

On Saturday 23 September the group will perform at Club York in the Sydney CBD under the name Cubano Jazz Combo, alongside some of the country’s finest Latin musicians drawn from multiple ethnic backgrounds.

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