Last year Mullum Music Festival director Glenn Wright decided the festival needed a patron. He wanted somebody who he felt embodied the spirit of the event, who could be a good spokesperson, and also had the charisma to boot. It didn’t take much deliberation to come up with the Mama Kin.
She just fit the bill.
Now in her second and last year as Festival patron, Mama Kin has been part of a very innovative project, something that will only be seen at Mullum Music Festival. Mama Kin will perform her Saturday show at the Civic Hall with young musicians and singers from Cape Byron Steiner.
So how did this come about?
‘I have been at Mullum Music Festival for the last few years and I’ve seen great talent coming out of Cape Byron Steiner. I mentored Matilda Dods last year as part of the Youth Mentorship – and she’s on the program this year!
‘Tom Whitaker who runs the music program is a good friend of mine as we were walking home from a gig I said I’d love to do something special with those kids!’
And so that’s how it happened. Danielle and the Cape Byron choir and various musicians got together over a month ago for a rehearsal. They will be presenting Mama Kin’s back catalogue which will include songs from Magician’s Daughter, Beat and Holler and her EP The Talisman.
With 10–15 singers and percussionists, and strings, this will be a very full musical presentation for Mama Kin, who has been nominated for Blues and Roots at this year’s ARIA Awards.
‘I love what we are doing. I love that sometimes you hear things you cannot possibly deliver without lots and lots of people. There are some moments that are only made possible by the sheer force of numbers.’
A mischievous spirit herself, Mama Kin has been relishing the experience of working with teenagers.
‘I just love their awesome freedom and their up-for-ness! I always think when I have to work with young people that they are going to be jaded – I guess I have a pre-conception that teens are disengaged or too-cool-for-school and they are not as open as they are. And it’s never true! This generation has been given a bad rap. We underestimate them. I think that’s the feeling I had as a teenager – of being underestimated!’
Danielle believes that working in groups is a powerful thing for young people.
‘I think doing things in peer groups is amazing. They are at a great age to be doing peer work and they don’t have to stand out on their own – it’s about making me looking amazing! It’s what all teenagers should have to do and they should be grateful!’ jokes Mama Kin with a wicked laugh. It’s easy to see why this foot-stomping raconteur of wit and whimsy has managed to enthral a group of adolescents.
As for Mama Kin’s approach to this year’s festival…
‘I am looking forward to the new venues. I am looking forward to being back in Mullumbimby. I am looking forward to eating the great food at Rock & Roll Cafe, and I am looking forward to seeing Ray Mann Three, Raul Midon, Kinky Friedman, Robert Ellis, Jaaleekaay and lots of other great international acts.
‘I am also looking forward to catching up with my fellow musicians. I look forward to Mullum more than anywhere else because there are so many catchups and you never know when another artist is going to pull you on stage and get you to sit in with them!’
Mama Kin is also part of Songbirds of the 70s – a dynamic show stopper that closes the Festival on Sunday. Featuring the women singers of Mullum Music Festival in a spectacular concert celebrating the great women singer/songwriters of the 70s – High School at 8.45pm. This will be a Knock Out.
You can also catch Mama Kin on Saturday at the Civic Hall at 9.45pm with the Cape Byron Steiner school singers and musicians.
– Mandy Nolan