It is a combination you won’t get anywhere else and they are one of Sydney’s – if not Australia’s – treasures. The Siren’s Big Band – long may they sing us over the edge.
“In Bridge of Dreams, the collaboration between myself, Shubha and Aneesh was at the core of the creative process. I am not in any way expert in Hindustani music – they are! They generously share their knowledge, are willing to experiment, trust, take risks, and allow me to use my instincts to shape and recontextualise the musical materials they offer. “
In fact, on the band’s debut, Theseus and the Minotaur, Kirkwood has taken on a hell of an idea: the Greek legend of Theseus and his battle to the death with King Minos’ monstrous cannibal creature, the Minotaur. The band tell the story over five linked pieces, with narration by Ketan Joshi.
The binding quality of Ellen Kirkwood’s music and her collaborations is that is consistently has one foot firmly in jazz and the other trailing in the waters of a tangy broth of blues, rock, gypsy swing, klezmer, reggae and you-name-it.
‘We’re all friends who enjoy making music together’, says Jess, ‘which makes for a really exciting and engaging live show. Audiences really seem to dig it and keep coming back for more, which is something we don’t take for granted.’
Is this a new genre? Pub jazz-rock? I remember that hearing the Subterraneans for the first time was a hallelujah moment. Finally here was a band combining rock’s visceral energy with jazz’s lithe spontaneity without compromising either.