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The Festival of Voices director, Peter Choraziak, and musical director Scott Targett respond to the question: why did you start the Tasmanian Songbook? The Tasmanian Song Book is a program of music presented through Festival of Voices that speak directly to the heart and identity of the island and its people. The pair discuss the different curatorial thematics they use to develop a program of music that looks past, present and future, including protest songs, Tasmanian First Nation artists, songs about Tasmania, and bands that nearly made it. The pair also discuss the how narrative and context is used to introduce each of the songs during the live performance. The conversation also talks about the wealth of talented musicians in Tasmania.

The podcast includes songs recording live during the 2021 Tasmanian Songbook. The following list of songs and artists is listed in order of play.

  1. Liyini milaythina rrala (Singing Country Strong) performed by Jodi Haines & Jude Reid, and Merinda Sainty (violin)
  2. Glenn Richards performs “Van Diemen’s Land”
  3. Let the Franklin Flow by Shane Howard
  4. Sooner or later by Monique Brumby
  5. Lost Child by Kartanya Maynard
  6. Tom Wolfe performs You Come Back to Tassie
  7. Monique performs Walk That Beach Again
  8. Go Home performed by Jed Appleton
  9. Walk the Night by EWAH & The Vision Of Paradise
  10. Ain’t Seen It Yet by Nick Wolfe
  11. Go Home performed by Jed Appleton

Transcript

 

Keith Deverell:

In this episode, we're going to listen in on a conversation between Peter Harron, Jack and Scott target. Peter and Scott are the curators and ins skaters of the Tasmanian songbook. The Tasmanian song book is a program of music presented through festival of voices that speaks directly to the heart and identity of the island and its people to start this conversation, I'd like to welcome you both and ask one very simple question. Why did you start the Tasmanian songbook?

Peter Choraziak:

It's a, a very good question to start with and it might take a while answering it, actually it, it actually morphed. So the whole project started out. Um, you might not even be aware of this Scott actually back in 2020, really, they almost the end of 20 19, 20 20 before the play hit us. We were working out ideas for, for the 2020 festival. One of the ideas was this idea of a, of a, of a Tasmanian song repository called the sound lounge project. L let's have a, have a space where you could walk into and you could sort of have a catalog of songs that were all Tasmanian or about Tasmania and songs that you'd never realized even existed. And you could put on some headphones, private headphones and, and plug in, have a listen. And we thought that sounds good by the end of, uh, 2020 morphed into two ideas.

Peter Choraziak:

And one of those ideas was we went from a sound lounge to a vinyl and the vinyl lunch we actually did last year as the name suggests we had, um, uh, in the founder's room, we had, we set up a vinyl lounge with just a couple of turntables and, and we had Peter G and, um, Paul McIn from the ABC. Just talk about music and songs. If you know, Paul you'll know, he's very passionate about songs. So we did that. And then this other thing was the, we imagined a large scale life concert of Tasmanian songs. I think the first first name was, um, the, the great Tasmanian songbook project, Laura Harper and I, um, hopped at Laura was the XCO of music Tasmania. And so she had a, a strong interest in Tasmanian music, myself being Tasmanian. I've always enjoyed the live music and the, and the local music scene and the arts in general.

Peter Choraziak:

And I thought this is a really good legacy project, or could be a really good legacy project. And one of the early things we came, um, to the realization that it had to be co-curated by the, by the Tasmanian music community, we need someone to collaborate with Laura and I can sort of kicked around a few ideas and we thought this fellow called Scott target was pretty good. He was, uh, did a couple of shows for us at the festival. He was a good musical director. He was a multi-instrumentalist and he's old enough to be, um, intergenerational with his, with his genres. So, and Scott, I think you got a, you got a phone call or an email outta the blue.

Scott Targett:

Yeah. You got a, got an email from yourself and Laura, I just, it was a bit secretive actually. It's like, what are these guys up to with something along the lines of, you know, we've got this idea for a project. We can't really say much more than that, but would you be keen to meet up for a coffee? So, you know, I'm always always up for, for new things, new projects. So when it had this coffee and, um, as a Tasmanian myself and, and obviously a musician and a fan of music, yeah, I was very intrigued. Well, Peter and Laura were sort of talking about the concept and how they were imagining, you know, what songs might be involved. I was kind of in the back of my mind, thinking how we can make this happen on stage, who would be, who do I need? Who can I bring in? They'll mention a different artist and a different song, and I'd think, okay, it's a different collaborator would come to mind. And I suppose from there, I guess we had the Tasmania songbook project

Scott Targett:

Somebody says, oh, have you heard this? And they bring up something and then it goes, become something else. And that becomes something else. Yeah. I, I learn so much doing it, researching it, different Tasmanian bands, different songwriters, different artists, people I didn't realize were Tasmanian. I knew their songs. I didn't know that that was a Tasmanian artist. Then there were musicians and artists I'd heard of, but I didn't know what they'd done. So we jumped into those rabbit holes and I dunno how long that first list was. Peter. It was pretty

Peter Choraziak:

Huge. It's pretty good. I mean, yeah. When we added that bit about songs, not just songs by us, um, and about us, but songs about us inspired by us done by other bands, what quickly happened, I thought was that whole bucket. So there was different buckets at the categories tended to fall into

Scott Targett:

Wasn't it, we had the traditional songs, like the convict songs, stories about being sent off to van DMAs land. There were the songs written about Tasmanians. Like you mentioned a Flynn famous actor, which was a big hit by Australian cruel.

Peter Choraziak:

Yep. And protest songs. I mean, that I thought was a real emerging category. It all started with, you know, Franklin dam and Gonna and their big song there and...

Peter Choraziak:

One of my favorite buckets was the, you know, the could have beens the bands that almost made it and they were good enough. But back in the day, I think the, the big music corporations like you, your sons and all those, um, had a, had a whole, I think it was strategic on their part to actually have a bucket of people in the same sort of genre and out of that would come a winner. And they would back that winner and the others with there away who were potential competitors. And I think I, I actually heard that from talking to some of those old bands and, you know, they weren't very, they weren't very happy in talking about the record, the big record producers and the big record companies. Some did make it like, uh, Kevin sheko, you know, who was, uh, won a big gong back in the sixties from Bernie. So that was one of the oldest songs that

Scott Targett:

We wonderful country artists. Ah,

Peter Choraziak:

Yeah. But there were more of them that did make it. And, um, that's a big bucket and it's, uh, and it's lovely to talk to those sort of guys, because the two songs we're gonna do this year, devil's in heaven from Lonnie

Scott Targett:

And reckless hearts from Hobart. Yeah. Yeah. But in some people's books, like they, they weren't bands that didn't quite make it. They, they, they were successful. You know, they left Tazzy, they were on the touring circuit on the mainland.

Peter Choraziak:

They even made it on countdown. Molly, uh, gave a big rap for what was the one we did last year.

Scott Targett:

Oh, the innocence,

Peter Choraziak:

The innocence. Mm.

Scott Targett:

Yeah. The innocence were incredible. And they yeah. Performed on countdown on a few occasions I believe, and performed all over the world.

Peter Choraziak:

Yeah. And Molly said, watch out for this Tasmanian band. These guys are gonna be big.

Peter Choraziak:

The cravats we're doing this year. Now the 1960s Hobart banded, they had the, the pleasure of actually knocking off the Beatles for a while in Hobart, on the Hobart charts on the, uh, I think seven ho radio charts, the cravats actually knocked out the Beatles for a few weeks.

Scott Targett:

See, as you know, I'm a big Beatles fan and

Peter Choraziak:

Yeah. Is that sacri ridiculous to you?

Scott Targett:

Yeah. That's, it's harsh. I'm actually performing a Creve song. You know, they took off, they knocked the Beatles off number one. 

Peter Choraziak:

We'll make sure we put that in the narrative. Yeah. That you're not happy. Yeah. And, and the narratives important on this because people are saying, why did you put this song into the, into the song book? So we have to give that, that background and, and, and explain those sort of our ideology, if you like around it. It's a big ask because when we were workshopping this, you know, Laura and I asked ourselves a few questions and some of them were, what are the songs that define us? What are the songs that say something about us that was at the start of another bucket really was that whole sense of home and place and belonging. And, you know, having lived here all my life, there is a thing called island. This, if you like, we're all ping pigeons. At the end of the day we leave, we come back, we leave, we come back because there's something about being, living on an island, growing up on an island that actually draws you back all the time. And I think that reflects in our music and musically Tasmania, we are on the cusp, I reckon. And we're on the cusp of being an like island or Iceland or Newfoundland, those other great creative islands around the world.

Scott Targett:

Yeah. Definitely something in the mentality of isolation being on an island. And although we're so connected with Melbourne and Sydney and the rest of the country. Yeah. It does play a part on the mindset of an artist or probably, maybe everybody just being separated enough, having that water between where we are now and the rest of the world, it does change things.

Peter Choraziak:

And self-sufficiency, you've gotta be, so you'll learn to be self-sufficient, we're all multitaskers in, in Tasmania. I reckon, I reckon that's good for creativity. You're not just a specialist in one particular area. You've gotta more holistic view. I think that's really starting to come out now in a lot of the songwriting. I mean, you've seen it, you know, we've the emerging artists. We look at

Scott Targett:

Last, that's another bucket within itself, but also spills into the buckets we've already spoken of, cuz it's not just about established artists. It's about the emerging. It's about celebrating. What's coming up. The young songwriters, the excitement that is to come in the Tasmania music.

Peter Choraziak:

I'm excited by particularly the emerging Aboriginal artist, Tasmanian Aboriginal artist,

Peter Choraziak:

The narrative of the show. Once we've, we've got songs that we think are worthy by our own sort of measures that we put on that, that we think we can do justice to in a performance way as well. Then we try and build the narrative of the night. If you like it, it's gotta be a roller coaster. It's the classic joyful, happy, sad, tragic. And when we take people on a journey, do the break, you know, oh, I'm exhausted. What's what's gonna happen in the second half. And we like to finish on a big song. We won't tell you anybody. What the big song is this year, but it's a very worthy, big song. And it's a cracker. Fantastic. Yeah. We want people to leave thinking that was a hell of a journey. And the narrative that we built into that in presenting each song, Helen shield would be the narrator this year. And, and Helen's a, a big TAs music supporter. And what she does during music month is fantastic. And so, and she's got an immense knowledge of, of all that sort of stuff. So once we, once we work out those songs and, and the, and the narrative of the night, then it's over to Mr. Magic here to, to pull the musical direction together and find the right performance. It starts both ways. We, we look at performing artists first. I mean, we got the core band, you know, that's the key thing. And all those, you

Scott Targett:

Are an incredible yeah. Set of musicians must day.

Peter Choraziak:

Yeah. I like the way you reimagined some of the songs too. John Williamson song. God hope he's not listening. John Williamson song, you come back to Tassie's very day song, but the way it was reimagined last year made it cool and actually gave it, I think a little bit more, more meaning that Nick and Tom Wolf, you know, the way that they delivered it, I think it was Tom's arrangement pretty much. Wasn't it? I think. Yeah. Yeah. Made it made a daggy. So cool.

Peter Choraziak:

I love switching up that we are doing between genders and things too. So, you know, with Claire and Taylor doing the heavy lifting on, uh, a tale, they won't believe whew, big song to sing song, to do a cover justice or improve a cover in case of John Williamson's song and those other, you know, a couple of other songs we did is you, you gotta have really fine, fine players and fine musicians, but

Scott Targett:

Once we've got our kind of list of artists, or sometimes like the songs come before the artist, it's like, this is a great song. We need to have this this year. Can we get the person that wrote that to perform it? And it all takes a lot of time and sort of toing and throwing and changing what that song is or who the artist is until we get the final lineup. It's okay. This artist is performing this song that they wrote. And then we try to also get them to do a cover of a song that is either by a Tasmanian artist or like in the case of the Errol Flynn situation written about a Tasmanian so far. I don't think we've had anybody kind of say, no, I only want to do my own music. They're all so charged to open that trunk and go, oh, look at all that Tasmanian music. What can I do? Sometimes we suggest songs or they might come to us and say, I'd love to do this. I love what you've suggested, but how about this one instead? Which is great. It's collaborative. It's a good way to get to the, the final list of the songs

Peter Choraziak:

And they smash it. You know, <inaudible> smashed that, that cover.

Scott Targett:

Oh, incredible. It's so powerful.

Peter Choraziak:

Yeah. Mon smashed the cover that she did. That was a good example. So Monique, Brumby had a brand new song, the song about draining lake PETA walk on that sand again was the song and it's a beautiful song. And so we had this, she did the, the cover of, I can't remember what the

Scott Targett:

Sun was now. She did the innocence, the innocence

Peter Choraziak:

She did. She smashed the innocence outta the park. That's right. And then did her own song, which really was a very different vibe. And, and that, to me, you know, she's a very, very talented singer and songwriter, so,

Scott Targett:

So completely different performances. Yeah.

Peter Choraziak:

Yeah. And that to me again, is like, damn we're pretty good. These musos zones down here.

Peter Choraziak:

And Jed Jed covered. Actually I spoke the party, you know, that don't you. So we did the, the last song we did last year was home by Chris Colman. And he was in the

Scott Targett:

Jed Appleton, performed the

Peter Choraziak:

Yeah. And J Appleton performed. But Chris was in the audience and I walked past Chris and I said, uh, you happy with the song we've chosen for you? Or, you know, and he looked at me all dumb and I thought, ah, I've just given it away, put your foot in it, given the surprise away. But Jed, you know, and, and the whole ensemble just played that

Scott Targett:

Beautifully. And that was a beautiful moment. It was bringing everybody back on stage for the finale. Yeah.

Peter Choraziak:

Which we'll do again this year.

Scott Targett:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. But we can't tell you what the song is.

Peter Choraziak:

Rabbit hole after rabbit hole, after rabbit hole. And, and to me that says that that's why this project is actually worth doing, because you, we start to uncover, we start to educate, reveal a bit of our history and, and hopefully provide some sort of legacy and some, and more importantly, some sort of inspiration for, for emerging songwriters to, to say, okay, I wanna, I wanna be part of the song book. I wanna write something. That's part of the song book. I'd love, love, love this project to be ongoing, you know, well, and surely ongoing.

Scott Targett:

It could be something that was already around for years. That's the kind of, that's the kind of project that this is because it could, it's taking music that's happening now. You know, one song that we've got coming up this year is, you know, it's spent weeks and weeks in the top 10 country charts, but it's also songs, as we've mentioned from the sixties that were in the charts, that's unknown songs that have never been possibly, never been performed in public before. And this and their songs that repertoire of songs is different every year. Like you can, you could pull from all different angles and fill those buckets up and have a completely fresh show.

Peter Choraziak:

At the end of the day. It's hard, you know, 19 songs for a two hour gig with an interval. It's, it's really tough.

Scott Targett:

It's overwhelming the amount of music

Peter Choraziak:

And isn't that great. I mean, that's something to be celebrated. It is overwhelming. That's great. If we were scratching around trying to find songs and you know, uh, that's not worth doing then, is it?

Scott Targett:

But the quality of the music coming out of Tasmania it's always has been and still is just incredible.

Peter Choraziak:

That silly idea way back around a Tasmanian sound lounge is still in the back of my head because I think that would be so cool to be able to walk into a place. I don't know where that place could be. And there's catalog, there's the back catalog of Tasmanian songs that you didn't know existed. We had songs coming outta the woodwork that I say, didn't know existed, and we haven't spread this very far yet. This is only the second year. And, um,

Scott Targett:

And the first year that we've left Hobart, really?

Peter Choraziak:

Yeah. Yeah. And once that word spreads, what we want us to be is bombarded with people that have said, Hey, you know, I've had songs sent, sent in and some of them are dreadful, but, uh, that's my personal humble opinion. And it's not for me to say, they're dreadful. It's for me to say that actually, this is an important part of our history that needs to be documented, stored, cataloged in some way. And I'd love nothing better than a catalog of, uh, of, of songs. My partner was a big fan of Hayu, you know, and Hayu, um, was a great band. It still, they still muck around a little bit, the old guys and of, of my ear and my vintage, if you like, um, the Datson won 20 Wises, you know, another great Fern Charney, um, Chris Coleman's dad, John. Mm,

Scott Targett:

Great band.

Peter Choraziak:

Great band, great songsm, I mentioned those three names and most of people wouldn't know who they were, but gee, they were good songs. Mm.

Scott Targett:

Uh, if only people got the chance to hear them yeah. That weren't there at the time.

Peter Choraziak:

I I'd love nothing better than to actually start to create a catalog and accessible catalog and in some sort of, uh, an fair way to distribute it. Um, you know, that's important. We don't, you know, so that the artists even can clip the ticket on the way through when we have a listen, that'll be awesome. Cause that's what it's all about. We gotta, we gotta feed our artists. We gotta encourage them. I, I like to, to think that festivals like festival voices does provide a, a platform to celebrate artists and celebrate emerging artists, celebrate Tasmanian artists. Because I think the key ingredient is, is confidence. Tasmania's emerging confidence over the last 10 years. Yes. Mona effect is part of it, but it's deeper than that. It definitely, there's a real sense of we're as good as anybody else. Hell we are even better than other people it's already happening in the food and beverage sectors events are certainly there. And music's not too far behind. I don't think if we can celebrate, I guess there there's the answer to the question. Celebration is important. Celebration of ourselves is important. I think, as, as artists and if we can celebrate and build confidence, I think the rest will happen.

Peter Choraziak:

It can't be, um, Hobart centric. It has to be, um, it has to be statewide.

Scott Targett:

Like it's not the Hobart song, bookers. It is the Tasmanian song book. You know, this year we do get to take it to Devonport and to Launceston, but maybe in the future even further,

Peter Choraziak:

You know, because the key thing to us is celebration needs to be large. Scale needs to be big stages, needs to be well produced. Good tech as, as we demonstrated last year, uh, Scott, you even said yourself, you know, what a, what a delight it was to perform on the theater all stage. Oh that the first time you performed on that stage,

Scott Targett:

That that was, yeah. There you go. Yeah. But yeah, like that was my first time performing at theater Royal. And that was like, it's the best, the best place I've since been back again just recently. And I imagine every artist that performs there spends a moment. They just first walk onto that stage when they arrive in the afternoon and just take it in yeah. Special. Like you stand there in silence and just, it is special. That's great.

Peter Choraziak:

Yeah. So, you know, that's, that's part of, that's part of that confidence building and say, yeah, yeah. I've played there I have gigged there.

Keith Deverell:

To go back to that very original question. Why did you start the Tasmanian song book? Do you think you could give us a one line sentence that answers that now?

Scott Targett:

Why? Because Tasmanian music is incredible and to perform it is a treat.

Peter Choraziak:

If we don't celebrate, what's got us to this point and we don't preserve that. We have no reference point and legacy is such an important thing for this state. You know, we've made plenty of mistakes in Tasmania document it don't, don't sweep it under the carpet, bring it out, rewrite it, you know, and a lot of the songs that are yet to emerge and a lot of the, the stories out of those songs that, that emerge worth preserving worth celebrating.

Keith Deverell:

Peter. Scott, thank you so much.

Scott Targett:

Thank you. Thank

Keith Deverell:

You, Keith. Really look forward to seeing the next iteration and hearing the next iteration of the Tasmanian song Book. Thank you.

Keith Deverell:

If you have enjoyed this episode, please listen to other episodes on your favorite podcasting platform or via the Music Tasmania website music, tasmania.org till next time, keep listening and loving Tassie music.

 

Music Tasmania acknowledges Tasmanian Aboriginal people as the traditional owners of this island, lutruwita (Tasmania). We pay our respects to elders past and present and acknowledge traditional peoples' connection to country. We respect the traditions and customs of the Aboriginal people of lutruwita, who remain the custodians of these lands.