how important is music? you tell me. this week’s podcast: fred leone.
Well, hello there, dear loves around the globe.
It’s been an emotional few weeks, to say the least. I mean, it doesn’t just rain, it doesn’t just pour, it just pours and pours and pours and pours and pours….this has been some Noah’s-Ark-level personal-life-colliding-with-world-news shitshow I’ve been paddling through. No matter. We are gonna get through it, because we get through everything.
Frist: thank you all, sincerely, deeply, really, for your love, glee, hugs, understanding-of-complexity, and shared tears of relief on the post about Neil and Ash’s reunion.
I feel all of you, and your love feels real, and so is mine back at you.
It’s been a surreal experience to watch this all unfold, like a strange film, and it’s my LIFE. Many days I get up in the morning and I can’t actually believe this is all happening. I hear the birds of Aotearoa, I read the New York Times and feel like I’m watching some sloppily-scripted movie, some parallel dream-world where we all wake up the next second and this pandemic didn’t happen.
Click three times but no fucking luck.
I’ll try not to derail this post with a discussion about visas, immigration and stuff…i’ll let that keep unfolding in the comments of the last post, where I’m still reading and commenting. To the person who commented “White privileged millionaires flying during a pandemic? I’m done” and canceled their patronage, you are probably not reading this anyway, but goodbye, thank you for your support over the years, and you are always welcome back. Also, I am not a millionaire (but I would love to be one someday because think of all the money I could spend on art and helping other artists).
And to RG Alms, I read your comment about your daughter being stuck in Australia with such sadness; I totally understand your frustration and I gave you the best advice I could about getting her back over here…the comment is over on the post as a reply. Good luck and I love you and I’m crossing my fingers.
And now to this week’s podcast, which went up on Tuesday as usual….but I’m posting/Thinging it a few days late because my family life took priority. Which is, may I remind you, one of the things I love so fucking much about patreon and why I feel it’s such an important – and, importantly, feminist – tool for artists.
Art and money have never been great bedfellows but one thing for sure that I experienced on a major label is that artists run on an artistic clock, and labels and corporations work on a financial clock. There is no leniency. There is little humanity.
I’ve put out well over 100 projects and podcasts using patreon now, and I cannot tell you how many times I’ve delayed the release of a “Thing” because Ash was sick, or because I needed a few days to rest, or because some friend of mine had an emergency and I needed to clock off for a few days. You know: LIFE. Back in the days of the Major Label, nobody gave a shit about your real life. You just had to deliver your project and product and you had to deliver it on time and if you were late, you were punished.
I love patreon. I love wherever artists get to set the time/space agenda. We may sometimes be sloppy as fuck, and you may wind up getting more art than you can swallow on any given month because we’re finally catching up…but guess what? Better a free and sloppy artist than a punctual enslaved one.
And now…to the point. 🙂
This week’s podcast is with Fred Leone. It sits in a cloud-field of context.
As I say in the intro of the podcast, the date we recorded is really important:
March 6th. 2020.
It was two days before the bushfire charity concert that Neil and I held at the Melbourne forum…the one where Missy Higgins was supposed to play but she stepped down because her dad, a GP/family dcotor, tested positive for Covid, and this was right when everybody was freaking the fuck out about it and knew very little. Her dad was getting yelled at, she was getting yelled at….it was a strange moment in time. On March 9th we threw a going-away party for me at our Air bnb.
That day, Neil and I also took Ash to a carnival.
I just went digging through the old photos, and it’s kind of overwhelming. These were The Last Days Before It All Went Weird.
look how happy everybody looks.
There were little bottles of hand sanitizer at various stations around the park.
Oh my god.
We knew so little.
Here they are, on the ferris wheel.
And this one really moves me for inexplicable reasons.
It’s Ash and Neil on a Flying Elephant.
I kep trying to get a perfect photo of them as they flew past me, but the Flying Elephant kept changing heights, so no matter where I moved, my shot was unobtainable. This was the best one I could manage.
It’s a kind of a beautiful and lonely photo. You can see Neil. You can’t see Ash. But I know he’s in there, in the Elephant.
Anyway….where was I.
Not quote there yet.
In the last few days, since Neil’s been back and I’ve allowed my shoulders to drop and my mind to wander a few steps away from immediate survival and child-protection, I’ve noticed something familiar: it used to happen to me after I’d finally been off the road for a few weeks.
I have wanted to listen to music again.
And I’ve been thinking deeply about music and why it calls, and when, and when we pick up the phone. What music does to us, to me. Why we need it. When we need it. What it makes happen that…..other things cannot make happen. How it is a tool. How it heals things. How it is kind of….fucking magic. Impossible to pin down.
I’ve also had the time – the literal air time, since Ash’s choice in music dominates my sonic space – to choose what I want to listen to.
All I have wanted to listen to is old, comforting favorites….”sonic security blankets” as Coco put it yesterday on the phone.
But also….Phoebe Bridgers. This album in particular. Over and over again without shame. As someone who has listened to Elliott Smith’s collected canon at least 500 times, often on repeat for days, it’s nice to have some new Elliott Smoth music, because he’s dead and can’t make any more new music, but Phoebe Bridgers can make Elliott Smith music that is Phoebe Bridgers music; it is more or less the same sonic spaceship with a new paint job, charting a course to a whole new undiscovered galaxy. Same tools, new destination. There are only so many chords and words. There are only so many atoms in the universe; we know it’s all finite. But what Fred talks about in this episode is so, so true.
He talks about how the music isn’t really ours.
It moves through us. We carry it along, we add our bit to the grand tapestry, chuck a tiny little brick onto the tower of song.
And that’s the thing I keep discovering as I think more and more about crowdfunding and patronage, and about the history of music since the dawn of time: the whole point is that ownership, profit and ego always get in the way of the transmission of the song.
Music in the old days (and I mean OLD days, the thousands-of-years-old days Fred is carrying on with his songs) was never about holding onto the story or the song and making it ours. It was all about connecting. Transmitting knowledge, data, the story of the land. Music as people-glue. Music as the most unforgettable vessel to carry information from one generation to the next, to the next. Music as the way to remember. Music as the way to tie one person to another.
Think about that music, then think about now. Think about how we even think of music; what it is “worth”, what it is supposed to “do”.
This is what I wrote for the website:
Twelve months ago, the Australian bushfires were center stage. I was in Australia for the final leg of the “there will be no intermission” tour and all that mattered was raising money to help the effort. With the support of my patrons, we made Forty-Five Degrees: Bushfire Charity Flash record and on March 8th 2020, we staged a fundraiser.
I recorded this interview with Fred Leone, who participated in both the record and the fundraiser, two days before that show, and less than two weeks before Covid really upended the globe. A conversation about the marginalisation of first nations Aboriginal Australians and their culture might have/should have lost its impact after the craziest year in living history, but you know what? It’s all so fucking RELEVANT. Our ability to communicate with each other – through words, through music – well is the glue that holds us together and if we can learn anything from recent events in the US, it’s that Western culture’s glue is no less vulnerable to erosion than any other.
Fred has worked for years to preserve the language and rituals of Aboriginal culture, through the traditional means of storytelling, music and art. We talk about how tech has usurped these channels, how it might be repurposed to reopen them and how swiftly their disruption leads to extinction. It’s weird how a conversation can be so sad and yet full of hope. And Fred’s voice…I could listen for days. I hope you hear the music under it all. It’s more important than ever to keep sharing our stories and singing our songs.
It’s our light in the dark.
From Fred, bio-wise.
My name is Fred Leone I’m a musician/ artist with traditional ties to Butchulla and Waanyi Garawa country, and South Sea Islander descent.
I’m the front man for the hip hop group Impossible Odds, which expresses issues facing aboriginal people through music; I’m proud of my culture and determined to see positive changes.
Growing up there were limited positive role models, it was easy to fall into the trap of following the wrong crowd, and I believe feelings and emotions expressed negatively can impact on you and your family leading into a downward spiral.
I find that music is a productive outlet especially for young Murri’s to express their feelings constructively, I am currently working on an Indigenous Music Development programme.
I also do cultural dancing and get fired up when young people don’t want to learn about their culture, I believe there are too many distractions before them and they loose their connection to language, dance and customs. We need to realise when elders pass its important to know and document their stories.
I enjoy the messages conveyed through our music; young people are learning and singing these stories, they are for all of community to hear without being confrontational.
I would like young people to stay positive; Impossible Odds were finalists in the Deadly Awards in 2008 and 2010 and were selected in two finalist spots in the 21010 Q SONG Awards,
In the categories of Urban and Song of the Year for their track ‘Soul of troubadour’ which won the Urban category.
Impossible Odds Rhymes with a gifted conscientious and mindful approach that articulates the vast struggle our people have suffered. Listening to the music of Impossible Odds is power and knowledge.
And here we go:
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST and SHARE it, please!…
audio for all of the podcast episodes are embedded on my website, including today’s episode:
go here, select the podcast venue of your choice (i.e. apple podcasts), and click on the most recent episode.
FREE! BECAUSE PATRONAGE!
WAIT – HOW DO I LISTEN?
this handy linktree has a round-up of how to tune into the podcast on some of the most popular players. we will have the audio embedded on each episode post on my website: http://amandapalmer.net/podcast
FRED’S WEB STUFF:
This is the album that brought me and Fred together…..
He played didjeridoo on “Solid Rock”, a song by Goanna…and it was actually folks here on Patreon that suggested the song, so THANK YOU again. Bounty untold.
here’s a little video of Fred’s recording session…..
and here’s THE WHOLE ALBUM…..
If you missed it in the commotion of life, because Covid news was eating your head, it’s actually an incredible album. May I suggest “Beds are Burning”, “Black Smoke” or “Regional Echo”….they are fitting to the, um, times.
(Also, if you’re a patron, you can, as usual, access EVERYTHING that was ever THINGED, so go here to get your download for free…..https://www.patreon.com/posts/forty-five-code-33848849)
THE DISCUSSION CONTINUES ON THE SHADOWBOX….
As usual, since the commenting system here on patreon is less than ideal and since we spent megabucks on the new forum, GO USE IT. It’s BETTER THAN PARLER OR GAB!!!!! AND THERE IS NO MENTION OF QANON!!! (i think).
Seriously, though, the last discussion aftre masarat daud’s episode was fantastic…thank you you. (It’s still going, here: https://forum.theshadowbox.net/t/burka-no-burka-talka/6559/6)
This week’s thread is here. You need to be logged in with your patreon account to use it:
As always, I’ll be reading all comments in both places.
We’ve attached a pdf of the transcript of the podcast the patreon post. To view it, you can download it by visiting this patreon post on the web, if you ain’t there already. (it’s a hyperlink at the very bottom of the post with a little paper clip attachment symbol next to it….you’ll see it). THANK YOU, ALEX.
The podcast was recorded at Sing Sing Recording Studios, Melbourne Australia, on March 6th, 2020.
It was engineered by Nick Edin and edited & produced by Fannieco.
THANK YOU TO ALL YOU PATRONS, FOR SUPPORTING THIS PODCAST.
This whole undertaking would not be possible, in this manner, without patronage. At current count, there are about 14,000 of you.
YOU make it possible for this podcast to have no ads, no sponsors, no censorship, no bullshit, we are just the media, doing what we do.
because of you:
I love you all.
See you soon.
——THE NEVER-ENDING AS ALWAYS———
1. if you’re a patron, please click through to comment on this post. at the very least, if you’ve read it, indicate that by using the heart symbol. that’s always nice for me to see, so i know who’s reading.
2. see All the Things (over 100 of them) i’ve made so far on patreon:
3. JOIN THE SHADOWBOX COMMUNITY FORUM, find your people, and discuss everything: https://forum.theshadowbox.net/
4. new to my music and TOTALLY OVERWHELMED? TAKE A WALK THROUGH AMANDALANDA….we made a basic list of my greatest hits n stuff (at least up until a few years ago, this desperately needs updating) on this lovely page: http://amandalanda.amandapalmer.net/
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