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HomeCultureMusicShine a light on inner-city life

Shine a light on inner-city life

Redfern-based duo Boy Torch will join Youth Group’s Toby Martin for Local Stories Live on Saturday December 11. The online concert, a fundraiser for the South Sydney Herald, promises original song-writing and spirited performances in celebration of diverse and resilient community.

Boy Torch is Joe Fenech (vocals) and Edmond Kairouz (vocals, acoustic and electric guitars). The two have enjoyed a close working relationship since the mid-1990s.

Their friendship was forged in the heat of Sydney’s live music scene – pub-rock, folk-rock and indie-pop. Kairouz played guitar with various acts including local legend Perry Keyes (with whom he still plays). Fenech was a budding songwriter.

“Now I bake the cake (lyrics and melody) and Edmond adds the icing (dynamic intros, solos and beats),” Fenech smiles, grateful for the long-term support and musical acuity of his collaborator.

Kairouz also brings a keen interest in home recording. “I have a simple setup,” he says. “We are aiming to complete a project in early 2022.”

Boy Torch was formerly known as the Torchsong Country Soul Band, an eight-piece ensemble featuring vocalist Marie Byrne. The group released an eponymous EP in 2007, then an album of folk-, country- and soul-inspired originals in 2011 before Byrne sojourned to Ireland (she has since returned and is now a full-time mum to two wonderful girls).

“A big band was a great experience,” Fenech reflects. “I learned so much. It’s a challenge now [to sing the songs], but easier being just the two of us. We can select material that suits us and our voices.

“We’ll play a few new songs [at the fundraiser] – some folk and rockabilly, a little grungier, but still rootsy – guitars and vocal harmonies. Think Everly Brothers meets Neil Young – stories about what we see and feel.”

What do the “boys” value most about growing up and living in South Sydney? “It’s multicultural and people show care for neighbours,” Fenech says. “Most people will look you in the eye.”

Gentrification is a big issue, of course. “I hope the songs bear witness to life and change, with humour as well as criticism,” Fenech says.

Kairouz nods. “The songs are about who we are,” he says.

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Local Stories Live, Saturday December 11, from 6pm. Join via Zoom: https://southsydneyherald.com.au/local-stories-live/

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