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Wednesday 22 March 7.00pm
If Australian multicultural music has a name that name is… Eastwinds
Eastwinds are: Esfandiar Shahmir, ney (Persian flute) and daf (frame drum); Kristiina Maalaps, voice and jaw harp; Sanshi, digeridoo and cajon; Mark Cain, saxophones, shawm, claritubes, flutes, whistles, puns; Steve Barnes, guitar and guizouki.
Bands are often described as unique combinations of this and that, but there is really is nothing quite like Eastwinds. This is what you get when you mix a percussion and woodwind virtuoso from Iran, a golden-voiced improvising singer from Estonia on the shores of the Baltic, an astonishing beatboxing didgeridoo player from Japan, a veteran multi-string instrumentalist and former festival director from England and an equally veteran Australian player and creator of uncountable reed and woodwind instruments including, on rare special occasions, the infamous surgical glove bagpipes. Throw in some hot percussion, a vast global range of musical knowledge and interests, an infectious love of adventurous improvising, the haunting Persian ney (the end blown flute beloved of Iranian dentists) and some truly shocking puns.
The music ranges through jazz-inflected Norwegian lullabies, Estonian runic chants with a distinct Persian groove, didge-driven Turkish belly dance tunes, Jewish wedding dance tunes over jaw-harp drones and meandering musical journeys that might start with an Irish jig, develop through a rocked-out percussion jam, pay a passing visit to Paul Simon and end up somewhere in the Kasbah. It’s a thoroughly joyful and inventive musical experiment that has no particular end in sight other than taking the audience somewhere they haven’t been before and bringing them back happy.
Eastwinds released their debut CD in 2015, and played at two of the country’s most prestigious folk festivals in 2016: Fairbridge in WA, and the National Folk Festival in Canberra. They capped this by winning the World section of the WAM Song of the Year for 2015.