It always starts with a dream. It was building for some time. An idea starts to take form, but it is never clear what that actually looks like. This is all part of the creative journey. Does this happen to you, too? When the right side of the brain won’t shut down, it is always dreaming up these ideas? Well, that’s what I get. Ideas are the life blood for the future to change. But it was always never easy to bring these dreams into reality.
In early 2020, a group of Australian creatives from diverse cultures had a zoom meeting, partly because of Covid and a lockdown. I had initiated it because over the years I had met and befriended a group of amazing creative people and wanted to put a fire in their belly about an idea I had, which I called “The Coming Together Project”.
The premise of the idea was to collaborate across the cultural divide and intergeneration. My youngest attendee was 20 and the oldest, apart from me, was Marama, 68, who couldn’t attend the Zoom anyway. However, this small group of 12 talked about how we could collaborate across music, film, theatre with content aimed at telling stories about what it meant to be Australian and whatever that meant through each creatives lens or perspective.
We had a range of backgrounds; African, Torres Strait Islander, Samoan, Australian Aboriginal, English Australian and so on. Around the same time, I had written a whole group of poems. These were my first attempt to express how I felt about being an Australian, through the lens of a sixth generation convict descendant, living and understanding more about stolen lands and colonisation, which my family were all part of. I didn’t know what to do with the poems at first, so I recorded four of them at Neil Coombe , a good friend of mine at his studio The White Room, so I could share them to friends and family.
One of the poems was about my best mate, Kitch Taitu’uga Wesche, called Walk in 3 Worlds, (to be released in September 2021) who went through a life transformation to uncover his culture and language as a young Samoan adult to manhood. I had the pleasure of working with him from 2017 – 2019 with youth in Logan City and he taught me so much about culture, identity, meaning and belonging. As did Stephen Mam, a Brisbane born Torres Strait Islander man who taught me lots about his own culture and more. Along with many diverse cultural people I had been talking with; Aunty Betty McGrady, Aunty Robyn Williams, Uncle Noel Summers, Uncle Alan Parsons, Constantin Mukendi, Future Destin, Getano Bann and others.
Then the idea became clear. I was talking with Taitu’uga about the poem one day and I said, “Why don’t we start a podcast?” He agreed and we initially decided to have Jungaji (Troy) Brady as our third co-host. He was busy as the new chair of the Dhadjowa Foundation to stop Black Deaths in Custody and his own son, Dean Brady, is launching his own musical and film careers.
We had met Yarraka Bayles whilst working on “Empowering Youth To Thrive Project” and asked her if she was keen to be part of it. I had met her Dad, Tiga Bayles, back in the late ’80’s and early ’90’s and I knew of the great work the family had done over the last 30 or so years.
We had our three co-hosts and we knew nothing about recording video and audio. But what we do love is collaborations. We love that the right people turn up in our lives, just when we start an idea moving forward. It is called Synchronicity. The start of this was an audio professional I had met many years ago, John Bosak (Audio Advantage) and we did our first audio recording with Uncle Alan Parsons as our first guest. We were fortunate to have a good friend, Bruce Fogarty (Fog) from Worx Studios at West End who let us record in his studio. John did a great job and we were very grateful for his skills and time.
You can hear this audio here.
Next synchronicity was Joe Panetta, now based in Sydney, he owned and run a successful studio, Red Zeds, in Brisbane for well over 25 years. He was producing an album for Doug De Jong, a guitar wizard, who I had met 20 years ago at Ellaways Music, whilst hosting a clinic with Eric Johnston and The Hellecasters (guitar heroes) from USA. It turned out that Doug has a studio in his backyard and was keen to host us to do two interviews. Taitu’uga and I interviewed Stephen Mam and then Marama Smith.
Very grateful to Joe for reconnecting us with Doug for his studio and wisdom. Keen to do more episodes there in the future.
You can see these here. Stephen Mam interview. Marama Smith interview.
Now talking more about synchronicity, I needed someone to provide guidance and reassurance that we were on the right path….Strategically orchestrated and perfectly aligned to deliver a message….Introducing David Crane back into my life.
It was through a singer, songwriting friend, Brian Procopis, who invited me to play bass guitar in his project, Sweet Freedom Singers. When I turned up and joined the five piece band, aptly named, Five Shades of Grey, the keyboardist was David Crane. David and I had first met in 1987 at Palings Music Centre, Elizabeth Street, Brisbane. David reminded me that I had been his manager for a short time before I left. He told me that he had enjoyed 16 great years at the State Library of Queensland, as Events Manager, Volunteer Coordinator and Documentary Filmmaker, but was now semi retired.
“Would you be keen to help me with my Podcast and turn it into a video Podcast?”, I asked him. “Why not”, was his answer and so another synchronistic moment occurred. We then recorded all six poems in one day and an interview featuring Yarraka unpacking my own convict ancestry story, plus exploring growing up in Tasmania and not knowing, being nescient, about the colonisation that created the Vandemonian Wars and the role my ancestors played in this in the early 19th century. The poem titled “Charlotte Simpson Hall” is to be released here in late August 2021.
These are all on our site here.
We have recorded well over 13 episodes now (as of August 9th 2021) and we will be releasing them weekly.
We are very appreciative of all the people who have helped create the content to this point, without them reconnecting our lives, none of this would have happened.
The second part of this story is about the web site and social media learning curve. But that is for part two of this story to unfold.