Thursday, June 13, 2024
HomeCultureMusicLocal blues legend headlines Sydney jazz festival

Local blues legend headlines Sydney jazz festival

Long-time Redfern resident Marlene Cummins, considered Australia’s foremost Indigenous female blues writer and performer, is a headline act at this year’s Sydney International Women’s Jazz Festival.

Cummins is a jazz blues singer, saxophonist, artist, activist, broadcaster and proud Guguyelandji and Woppaburra woman.

While influenced by Ray Charles and legendary blues women Big Mama Thornton, Bessie Smith and Etta James, Cummins knows the blues, which she says is born of prejudice, from an Aboriginal woman’s perspective.

Her performance at the Seymour Centre on October 28 will tell her story of vulnerability, strength and survival, while celebrating pioneering First Nations female jazz and blues artists.

Born in Cunnamulla, south-west Queensland, Cummins grew up amid the Aboriginal Protection Act of the 1950s and had a political “grassroots” upbringing.

By the time she became a founding member of the Australian Black Panther Party, campaigning for medical, educational and legal services, and land rights, Cummins, still a teenager, already bore the scars of institutionalised racism.

She continued to endure hardship, discrimination and abuse, even from within her own community, leading to a cycle of addiction that left her on the streets.

Cummins has since maintained an outspoken stance on political and other abuses committed against Aboriginal people, but prefers to continue the struggle through her artistic expression in music and art.

She said she wanted to sing about Black people, how they thought and how they contributed to the betterment of the country.

“I feel like I have some kind of responsibility because I have lived it,” she said.

One of her paintings is of her favourite Aboriginal blues artist, Syvanna Doolan, a blues and jazz singer-songwriter in the 1960s whose mainstream exclusion is for Cummins an example of how institutional racism filtered into the music industry.

A Doolan song will be included in Cummins’ performance for the jazz festival, as will her song about Aboriginal warrior Pemulwuy, who resisted the incursion of white settlers onto his people’s traditional lands.

She said she would confront the audience with the song but balance it out with music people could dance to.

Now in its 11th year, the Sydney International Women’s Jazz Festival continues to showcase some of the most talented, inspiring and creative musicians from home and abroad.

Performing with Cummins (sax and vocals) in “Marloo’s Blues” at The York Theatre, Seymour Centre, October 28, 7.30-10pm, will be Clayton Doley (organ, accordion and piano), Zoe Hauptmann (bass) and Calvin Welch (drums).

The festival, which also includes such famed performers as Chilean saxophonist Melissa Aldana, Finnish ECM recording artist Iro Haarla, and Melbourne’s Andrea Keller Trio, runs from Thursday October 27 to Saturday November 5.

_______________
Tickets are available at sima.org.au.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

spot_img
- Advertisment -spot_img
- Advertisment -spot_img

Tenants have their say about Waterloo

In the first half of 2023, at community events, online and through government and non-government agencies, tenants had opportunity to provide their views as part of the Waterloo Public Housing Tenant Survey.

Volunteers’ News – June 2024

Volunteers’ News – June 2024.

Living with dementia – a carer’s journey: 5. Psychotic episodes

One evening in May 2020, Stuart suddenly felt freezing cold. I checked his vital signs, all seemed to be within the normal range. In the following days and weeks, gradually the symptoms became more frequent. He would start with feeling cold, then roll onto the floor, shivering, holding his head saying “you are hitting me”, “it hurts”.

Crown Princess Mary Scholarship: how a Sydney student met Denmark’s Queen

When University of Sydney student Sophia Parada began her degree in 2020, she feared the pandemic would derail her dreams of studying abroad. In late May, at a ceremony in Denmark, she shook hands with Queen Mary as she accepted a scholarship to study at the University of Copenhagen.

Jan de Voogd’s legacy of compassion

Jan de Voogd was a Quaker peace activist, musician, teacher, sailor and boat builder who lived in Sydney. Born in Japan to Dutch parents, Jan spoke several languages. His work for peace spanned more than 50 years.

Volunteers rule!

Counterpoint Community Services hosted its 18th Redfern and Waterloo Volunteer Awards at the Alexandria Town Hall on May 22. The event was part of National Volunteer Week.