Heartfelt nod to nautical history

BURSTS of colour are scattered around the Albany Entertainment Centre thanks to a new exhibition by Felters in the Great Southern (FIGS).

FIGS’ latest showcase, Vessel Voyages will be on display through August and features the work of six crafters.

Curator Lynley Campbell said it was exciting to be involved in another project.

“We’re augmenting maritime history here,” she said.

“And in this beautiful building overlooking the harbour, where boats and other vessels are, we think it’s a nice springboard to showcase our work.”

Artist Viv Matts was inspired by ancient Mediterranean household vessels for her creations.

“They would be used for storing food as well as in festivals and rituals,” she said.

“And they were often elaborately decorated in various colours.”

Anne Cochrane brought her passion for nature into her felt display.

“I usually make seed pods, which are a type of vessel,” she said.

“I’ve used a lot of the rustic colours of nature except one pop of colour.”

Joining Matts and Cochrane in the exhibition are Di Baker, Maggie Myers, Nadja Roelofs, Penny Roberts and Liz Turnbull.

Vessel Voyages is part of a new initiative the AEC is undertaking with the visual arts community.

Each month different artists are given the opportunity to utilise the space and present their works to the community.

Other visual artists who are interested in presenting at the AEC are encouraged to contact Mand Markey by emailing aec.engage@ptt.wa.gov.au

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Home sweet home for rising star rocker

ONE of WA’s brightest up and coming stars is heading back south to where it all started for her as a live performer.

Albany’s Carla Geneve will be rocking the walls of the White Star in August as part of a three-pronged tour starting this month.

Geneve is scheduled to play at Mojos Bar in Fremantle on July 24, before performing regional gigs at The River in Margaret River on August 1 and back home in Albany at the White Star on August 2.

Great Southerners are well-known for claiming famous individuals as their own, even if they only lived in the region for a couple of years.

But Geneve is no blow-in.

The true blue Albanian was born and raised in the Great Southern until she relocated to Perth after her 18th birthday.

Speaking to the Weekender, Geneve said the White Star held a special place in her heart.

“I played so many of my first gigs there,” she said.

“I learnt a lot about performing there. It was a great place for me.”

The blues-rocker burst onto the WA music scene in 2017 to critical acclaim, with her debut single Greg’s Discount Chemist taking out Song of the Year at the 2018 Western Australian Music Awards.

Geneve has since released a self- titled EP on Dot Dash Recordings and the first single of an upcoming debut album that will likely hit shelves late this year or early next.

Geneve, who won Best Rock Act and Live Voice of the Year (WA) at the 2019 National Live Music Awards, said the forthcoming LP was more polished than the self- titled EP and would explore themes of mental health and coming of age.

“The record has a little more purpose and focus,” she said.

“I’ve become more musically aware as I’ve been around people who are musically talented.

“It’s a lot less raw. I liked the rawness of the EP. Not more filled in necessarily, but a little more thought has gone into it.

“It’s actually finished now … I can’t wait to put it out. Hopefully it will be soon.”

In what would have been her biggest performance to date, Geneve was supposed to play at the South

by Southwest festival in Texas this year but those plans were dashed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the lockdown, the singer-songwriter said she hadn’t expected to miss playing live so much.

“It affected me a lot more than I thought it would,” she said.

“I miss being in the same room as people who love the same thing I do. I miss the connection with like-minded people that come along so I’m so excited to have that again.

“I just can’t wait to drive down. It won’t be a trip down memory lane, it’s more than that, but it will be nostalgic and comforting to play at the place I feel so at home.”

After tasting early success in a short space of time, Geneve said it had been invaluable to sit down and ponder her next move as an artist.

“This year was going to be a big year for us, we were going to get into national touring and we can’t do that anymore,” she said.

“But I almost feel grateful that I’ve had this pause to think about what I want to do and where I want go, instead of just being swept away in this whirlwind.”

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Karski brings classic blues to Gold Room

HE MAY currently reside in Fremantle and has lived all over the nation but Albany and Denmarkians still claim beloved musician Lez Karski as their own.

The legendary guitar-ist, session musician, singer and producer lived in Torbay for many years and was quickly adopted as a ‘local’.

Karski has done it all in Australian music playing with renowned bands such as The Bondi Cigars and The Hippos, producing albums for Midnight Oil and Spy vs. Spy and working with artists such as The Triffids, Yothu Yindi and Nick Cave.

Karski’s long association with the blues has yielded a shed load of classic original material, much of it involving Australian names and places.

Now with help from Denmark bassist Tony King and award-winning drummer Paul Meyers on skins, Karski performs a collection of songs penned during his time with The Hippos, Bondi Cigars and, more recently, The Nervous Investors.

With Karski’s unique guitar and vocal style, waggish lyrics and compelling rhythms, this brand of music is good dancing fun, engaging both feet and brain.

With selected soul and rocking blues covers from the likes of Al Green, Joe Cocker, Robert Cray and Otis Redding, there’s a stylish blend of blues, soul and funk to enjoy.

The Lez Karski Trio performs in the Gold Room at Six Degrees on Saturday night with limited tickets available.

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Dolphin has whale of a time

DUBBED as the “jack of all arts”, Mount Barker’s Andy Dolphin is being highlighted as Regional Artist of the Month throughout July.

A relationship that began with drawing as a child, Dolphin’s love of all things that require him to flex his creativity has led him to explore a wide variety of styles and mediums.

“As a young man I got into custom-painting vehicles then moved into the signwriting industry and even produced scenic art for TV ads and movies,” he said.

“From there I jumped into advertising design and illustration, teaching myself desktop publishing and digital design along the way.”

Dolphin said his passion lies with anything that presents a challenge and is constantly in the pursuit of improvement.

“I’m just driven to try new things,” he said.

“Every once in a while, something catches my attention and although it may be something I’ve ignored or avoided for years, I suddenly decide to give it a go.

“From that point, I obsess over this new thing until I have a firm grasp of it.”

His recent fascination has manifested in re-visiting his skills as a signwriter.

“I did my apprenticeship back in the 1980s, before computers infiltrated the sign industry, and I am enjoying testing my brush skills,” Dolphin said.

“I am particularly interested in ‘heritage-style’ signs and designs – the sort of thing you might associate with tattoo shops, or whiskey labels.”

After having some of his work commissioned for local movie productions like RAMS and H is for Happiness, Dolphin began experimenting with what he was painting the signs on.

“The sign work I did for the movie RAMS rekindled the joy of signwriting and this led me to begin hand painting vintage saws as ‘man-cave art’,” he said.

“The rusty saws are cleaned up and stabilised, ready for hand-painting with professional-quality enamel paint.

“A range of quirky slogans are painted on the saws, including things like ‘Instant Tattoo Removal’ and ‘Cordless Beard Trimmer’.

“The saws are completely done by hand with no stickers or printing.”

The Regional Arts WA program aims to highlight a regional artist every month and hopes to spread their message and talent across the state.

“It is flattering and humbling,” Dolphin said.

“It is a great opportunity for exposure to a much wider audience than usual.

“I suspect my art story will be a little different as it has so many directions to it, but I hope that makes it interesting to others.”

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Sawyer’s bronze age

PORONGURUP artist Larry Sawyer is candidly refreshing, does not mince words and labels himself a traveller in arts and crafts.

“You won’t get much arty-farty talk from me as I am a worker in all disciplines,” Sawyer begins.

“I won’t wear silk cravats or attend art meetings or groups. I just do my thing.”

Having no trade qualifications but self-belief, he started woodwork with a view to selling his products, and now after 30 years has built himself a sound economic unit working from home.

Sawyer also sells watercolour paintings and promised that when he got older he would investigate deeper into traditional arts.

“So on retiring at a overproof age, I taught myself bronze casting,” he said.

“This followed a period of resin casting, as I thought ingot bronze unobtainable.

“I have now built a studio workshop if people care to visit.

“Sales are unimportant as this is a collection of my work, however there is a donation box to help me continue.

“Most of monetary input has come from success at local level, such as Art in the Park.

“The awards came fairly quickly giving me enormous confidence to plunge in.

“I have also a small display of traditional oil paintings focusing on portrait works.”

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The meditative healing of painting

IN A move that was supposed to encourage her children to paint, Albany choreographer and theatre performer Carmen Fasolo has found a new creative passion.

Well known locally for her work with Albany Light Opera and Theatre Company in the likes of Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music, Fasolo has swapped the bright lights of the theatre for a makeshift painting studio in her Mt Melville home.

With theatre shows cancelled during COVID-19, she decided to set up a painting space in a room usually reserved for making coffee and fresh bread.
Fasolo was hoping her kids would try their hand with the paintbrush, but soon found herself using the new studio far more often.

“It was more for my girls, but I really got into and got lost in it, it’s really meditative,” she told the Weekender.

While the smell of coffee still fills the air of her studio, there’s now more than a few short macchiatos on the production line.

Fasolo has taken to abstract portrait work, and she is loving the change of pace.

“I love that you have no idea what will is going to come out on your canvas,” she said.

“For me it’s knowing when to stop which is quite hard. I think it’s not being too scared about being perfect. That’s why I really enjoy the more modern abstract style.”

Working with the paint brush has also been a healing process, according to Fasolo, who was choreographing Elton John and Tim Rice’s musical Aida for Great Southern Grammar when the show had to be dramatically cancelled because of restrictions.

“We were in production week when it got shutdown so that was pretty devastating,” she said.

“So this has been a form of healing – going into something new.”

Fans of her theatre work don’t need to be too worried though, as she plans to get back to singing and choreographing musicals once the local scene gets up and running again.

But Fasolo believes her theatre experience has helped her creative flair flourish when it comes to painting on canvas.

“Theatre taught me to be brave and just have a go,” she said.

“I’m at the beginning of my little journey.”

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Golden return for power trio

WE HAVE all had passions that we have missed madly during COVID-19 restrictions … for some it was AFL, others simply eating out but for many it was watching a live band; sweating, dancing and drinking without a care in the world.

Tomorrow this passion returns when EXP hit the Gold Room at Six Degrees as they blast out classics from Led Zeppelin, Cream and Jimi Hendrix.

EXP are dubbed the ultimate ‘60s psychedlia and ‘70s hard rock and blues tribute band.

Bass player and singer David Rastrick could not contain his excitement leading up to the gig.

“I expect the show will be full of energy and electricity as we’ll be back to the stage fresh again,” he said.

“It’ll be like new – dynamic and on the edge. It sure will be fun to play for people again.

“Personally, I’m very happy playing and recording music at home, working on new material and technical challenges.

“It’s giving to other people that makes the live music experience so special for a musician.

“It’s gratifying seeing the music you play bring joy to others.

“This gig will be significant as one of the first live band music gigs back in Albany- Kinjarling.
“It’ll be one of the first opportunities for people to come out and party!”

Rastrick said the opportunity to perform live as a band in a pub setting came around sooner than he thought.

“I was expecting it would be a lot longer until it was feasible for venues to put on shows,” he said.

“I’m grateful that venues and events like Six Degrees, Denmark Festival of Voice, Harbourside and Wilsons Brewery have stepped up to put live music on again.”

However, there are still measures in place to combat COVID-19 and this gig will be different to previous gigs.

“All venues will maintain sanitisation, physical distancing and attendance record-keeping measures,” Rastrick said.

“The shows will be less crowded.

“People who don’t live together will be required to keep 1.5m apart and to remain at their own location rather than sharing a communal dance floor.”

EXP were formed early this year and consist of Rastrick, guitarist Mardae Selepak and drummer Paul Myers.

Rastrick is in more bands than he can count (“about 10”) and plays as a session musician for at least another 10 bands throughout the southern region.

“I do this for a living. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s a challenge paying the bills,” he said.

“Covid has been yet another challenge to quickly adapt to, to survive in the industry.

“My main instrument is trumpet, and jazz, reggae and soul are my usual styles.
“EXP has been a chance to re-visit some of the music I played as a youth – but better!

“I’m enjoying playing bass as well as singing in the trio.

“The ‘power trio’ is such a fun format to play in.

“The bass has both a crucial and expressive role in the music, holding the band together and driving it forward.”

Selepak is a classical guitarist, training initially under Denmark’s Colin Reeves, and then kicked it up a notch, touring nationally with the Australian Guitar Duo.

EXP was Selepak’s first major expansion into rock and blues, wanting to emulate some of the great blues-rock guitarists; Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix.

Local rock veteran Meyers is the go-to drummer in the area, playing with popular acts including Lez Karski, Pinstripe and Mooseknuckle.

Meyers and Rastrick first played together in a high school rock band but rarely played together since and are thriving together under EXP.

The band also enlisted Denmark drum legend Mark Gretton to play drums as a back-up for Myers due to his association with so many bands and gigs.

EXP performs in the Gold Room at Six Degrees on Friday from 8pm.

Tickets are limited due to restrictions.

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Harbourside concerts relaunched

ALBANY Entertainment Centre (AEC) is the first Perth Theatre Trust venue in the state to reopen, welcoming back visitors as of today.

Harbourside Concert Series will be the first program performed at the AEC since closing in March and AEC Manager Drew Dymond couldn’t be more pleased.

“It was really disappointing to close because this is a venue that entertains people, so it’s disappointing when we can’t do that,” he said.

“It’s exciting now to focus on how we can offer entertaining experiences for the community again.”

Curator Rod Vervest said it had been heartbreaking to cancel shows but was keen to get the talents of the eight-part Harbourside program on show to the public.

“We chose Harbourside because it was locked in and ready to go – it already fits the new restrictions of smaller crowds,” he said.

“And it’s a really treasured opportunity for local artists. The diversity of the program is of incredible value.”
Arts Minister David Templeman said Harbourside would take place within the Kalyenup Studio with arranged seating, multiple hygiene stations and implemented traffic flow control.

Tickets can be purchased online at albanyentertainment.com.au, at the box office on Toll Place or on 9844 5005.

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Dancer’s genes a perfect fit

NATURAL rhythm is in Denmarkian Annette Carmichael’s blood and it showed from an early age, pre-empting her successful adult career.

Carmichael was just six-years-old when she first begged her mother to let her join a ballet class she’d seen advertised at the shopping centre.

She remembers her parents were always the last to leave the dance floor at parties and thinks dance is in her DNA.

“I always wanted to be a dancer and I trained really hard, up to 25 hours a week whilst also going to school,” Carmichael said.

“When I was 18 I lost hope that I could do it and tried to give up for a while.
“But dance just kept calling me back.”

The call was from London where Carmichael learned contemporary dance, expanding her horizons beyond her classical training.

“There was so much amazing contemporary dance happening, I just couldn’t help myself,” she said.

“I remember racing between dance classes, trying to learn as much as I could from the brilliant choreographers that were teaching at that time.”

She quickly developed and expanded both her dancing and choreography skills and now has her own company that focuses on bringing projects to life with community members, rather than just professionals.

Carmichael finds both dance and choreography equally rewarding.

“When I’m performing, I am intensely living in that moment,” she said.

“There is no room for distraction, it’s mindfulness at its most extreme.

“Choreography is more intellectual and so much about communication. My approach to choreography uses mathematics and patterns, which is then layered with emotion and intent.

“It’s incredibly rewarding when two years later I am sitting in an audience watching it all come to life.”

Carmichael’s latest achievement is the one she is most proud of – The Beauty Index trilogy.

The three original dance works – The Beauty Index, A Light Shade of Red and Chorus – were performed by people from across southern WA and included hundreds of community dancers.

Carmichael said with livestreaming projects, COVID-19 restrictions meant she reached more people than would have performing in a theatre.

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Popular reception for station

DENMARK will have its very own local radio station next month thanks to the dedication of a group of people pushing the idea for nearly a decade.

The idea for Denmark FM 99.7 first came about in 2012 when local Matt Sivyer and former ABC chief Sue Howard rediscovered an old community survey, which stated the community was interested in having its own radio station.

However, life got in the way as it often does and the idea was put back on the shelf, until eight years later when the pair decided to see it through.

Once a home for the station was found at Denmark Community Resource Centre, it was all go from there.

“It will be more than just music,” Sivyer said.

“It’ll reflect Denmark. Denmark’s a pretty interesting place and it will be a celebration of the community by the sharing of stories and music.

“It’s a very positive project.”

Howard said a big benefit of having a Denmarkian radio station was that it could provide listeners with up-to-date localised information all the time, particularly during bushfire seasons.

“That sort of thing is really crucial for a town like this,” she said.

“People can get information in real time.”

The programming will include music from local musicians, the telling of community stories, news and localised special interest profiles.

If all goes to plan, Denmark FM will have its first test broadcast in late July and reach listeners throughout Denmark as far as Greens Pool, and halfway out of town towards Albany and Mount Barker.

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