Tag Archives: Bremen Town Musician

SpeedPoets Call-Back-Poet #1: Marisa Allen

Last week was QLD Writers Week, and though it has come and gone, I am still celebrating! Throughout this week, I plan to showcase some of the poets who will take the stage as part of the SpeedPoets Open Mic Championships on Sunday November 4 at Brew (Lower Burnett Lane, Brisbane City, 2:30pm – 5pm). Each of these poets was ‘called back’ to perform again at the end of an event as a result of their startling performance. So let’s kick things off by showcasing the work of Marisa Allen (aka Bremen Town Musician).

if i was a Buddhist i would tell you there is no shame in sorrow

retangle the light
i dig ditches into your confused pulse, become dust in the red eye of a flare.
the wayward chase of a burning blaze will deny pathway’s illuminated by a skittish dawn. pull down (from the sky, home of gods and harpies) the great thunderous hammer, with which we drove oak nail’s fashioned from sticks into fence post’s for a corpses tunnel.
the wreckage of a pulsar is scattered points.

sliver of heart muscles molten centre.
shaking – shivering – strobing in slipvision
wrung from the flesh heated oil from fine cuts of fat delay it’s thumping echo make a marshland of thickened solar ash, disturbed by solar wind
scattering the stuttered debris after the blast, splintered fragile honeybones decaying in a workman’s midday slump.
forces that made you leap towards brilliantine air stopped the beat forever. we stayed at this end place. adrift in time. full to the brim of sorrows. glistening. exposed. without a place to rest.

**********

Marisa is a multi disciplinary artist working in words, sound and visuals who has performed nationally and abroad. Her sublime and visually illustrative poetry performances have appeared at the 2007 , 2009 and 2011 Queensland Poetry Festival and the 2011 Brisbane Festival Under the Radar, combining experimental sound works with spoken word. She was a Woodford ‘Wordfood Slam’ finalist (‘07/08) and has also performed at the Village Festival in Yeppoon QLD (’08) and the Riverbend Poetry Series readings (’10) in Brisbane.

Her chapbook ‘Fire in the Head selected works 1995 – 2006’ is published through Outsiders press, edited by David ‘Ghostboy’ Stavanger. Published in Going Down Swinging, Cottonmouth, Speedpoets Zine and Outsiders.

Along with poetry she has collaborated in live spoken word and recordings with violin for Shane Koyczan (QPF ‘07). Marisa is the front woman for the Qmusic award nominated avant folk, experimental blues act Bremen Town Musician as violinist, vocalist and songwriter and the band performed at QPF 2009 & 2012. She has toured throughout the United States as violinist to American/ Icelandic country folk act The Foghorns (’07) and has performed solo at SpeedPoets, Outsiders and various venues throughout Queensland since 2005.

**********

2012 SpeedPoets Open Mic Championships

Date: Sunday November 4
Location: Brew (Lower Burnett Lane, Brisbane City)
Time: 2:30pm – 5pm
Entry: Gold Coin Donation
More details at www.speedpoets.com

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SpeedPoets Calls Back Marisa Allen

Each month at SpeedPoets, thirty poets are given the opportunity to sign up for Open Mic and at the end of the day, one of these poets is called-back by the monthly features to perform a short set to close the event. In May, that poet was Brisbane based singer-songwriter-poet, Marisa Allen. I just posted her poem and bio on the SpeedPoets website, so be sure to click on over.

And to give you all a taste of her musical prowess, here she is performing Nerve Child live for Balcony TV. Such a voice!

SpeedPoets takes over Brew again on Saturday June 2 and features Julie Beveridge premiering work from her new collection, home{sic} and the launch of Alan Jefferies‘ new book, Seem.

When: Saturday June 2, 2pm – 5:30pm
Where: Brew (Lower Burnett Lane, Brisbane City)
Entry: Gold Coin Donation
More details at www.speedpoets.com

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Peaceful Music

We are still waiting for the arrival of our son… ah yes, the best things in life take time, require patience.

So, to say the least, my head is a wee bit overloaded, which is why I have been diving headlong into the glorious pool of minimalist recordings I have in my collection. And one of the very latest in this collection is Peaceful Music I – VIII, by Brisbane based sonic experimentalist, Marisa Allen (aka Bremen Town Musician).

She describes it as:

Alone in your room. It’s winter. No it’s summer… but not yet. A dog barks, there is a chicken wandering through the yard and the possums scream during the night. You live in the city but you don’t really live in the city. It’s quiet. Everything starts to warp and then you are melting. It’s 3 am. It’s midafternoon. It’s not breakfast. It’s not lunch. The wind is blowing, the clouds are gathering. A car. A motorbike. Nothing else.

Here’s the video for 2nd single from the album, IV:

The album is available now for download from Bremen Town Musician’s BandCamp site.

Another recent release well worth getting your ears on is The Peregrine by one of Brisbane’s sonic pioneers, Lawrence English. In fact, if you want to do this, you had better get cracking as The Peregrine is a strictly limited release of 500 vinyl copies. Composed in response to J.A. Baker’s book of the same name, English’s latest work cements him as one of the modern masters of his craft.

Here’s a passage from J.A. Baker’s, The Peregrine:

Swiftly now he is resigning his savagery to the night that rises round us like dark water. The great eyes look into mine. When I move my arm before his face, they still look on, as though they are seeing something beyond me from which they cannot look away. The last light flakes and crumbles down. Distance moves through the dim lines of the inland elms, and comes closer, and gathers behind the darkness of the hawk. I know he will not fly now. I climb over the wall and stand before him. And he sleeps.

And you can listen to a sample from the album here:


So if these sounds strike you, show your support for local, independent art.

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Air for the Birds – Ghostboy & the Brotherhood of the Wordless

If you don’t already have it marked in bright red (or whatever colour takes your fancy) on your 2010 calendar, then grab said pen and mark Saturday January 30, as the day you head across to State Library of QLD to experience Air for the Birds.

Air for the Birds is an inspiring spoken word event, combining the talents of some of Australia’s most well-known performance poets and one of the country’s most unique writing collectives, the Brotherhood of the Wordless. The Brotherhood of the Wordless is comprised of fourteen South-East Queensland writers with autism and other disabilities that preclude speech or the muscle ability required to use keyboards or writing implements. Using the technique of facilitated communication, the Brotherhood works with trusted scribes to bring their powerful thoughts and words to life. The Brotherhood of the Wordless have published a book of collected writing, “Tapping on the Heart of the World”, now in its third reprint. They have featured on ABC Radio National, the Brisbane Writers Festival, Queensland Poetry Festival, and members have preformed at the Woodford Folk Festival to a standing ovation.
 
Working with their facilitators and one of Australia’s premier performance poets, Ghostboy,  the Brotherhood of the Wordless will present performance based texts and poems they have written over the past year with Ghostboy entitled Air for the Birds.  Air for the Birds covers the themes of fantasy and dreams, the face of the “other”, and the voices of the everyday objects central to these writer’s lives.

I recently had the chance to interview Ghostboy and several members of the Brotherhood of the Wordless, to get an insight into the collaboration.

Peter Rowe and Peter Brown with one of the BOW facilitators

Air for the Birds is such a great title for the show; air and breath being such important elements in both the performance and writing of poetry. Tell us about the title’s significance and how it came to life.
 
Ghostboy: The line is from one of the shows central poems by Peter Rowe – I felt it really summed up the collaboration, the process around their writing with me, and the degree of their dreams and ambitions… and all the guys agreed!

Glenn: it represents freedom of expression, like flying / spreading wings

Lucy: the expectations of flying is so precious to me. the lost capacity of speech is tragic & the need for speech breath is basically not there for us.

Sam P: Freedom.

Peter B: Enjoyment!

Peter R: freedom of expression and the thought of movement / something we do so naturally but so essential to my words

Adrian: freedom! our poetry is like clean air, cleansing our souls.

I was reading an essay by Diane di Prima recently and she was saying that what we are is nothing but a physical instrument, not much different to a musical instrument in some ways and that creation comes only out of changes in the physical instrument. Tell us about how the unique ‘physical instruments’ of this show came together and the creative process involved in developing Air for the Birds?
 
Ghostboy: The writers wanted to give you some sample lines from their object poems about their facilitation boards & physical environs  – as they are so central to their creative process – to answer this one:
 
chair takes me places  – Adrian

My chair is my life / It comforts me / It’s chocolate and leather / just for me  – Mike R

Chair / Flat in my legs

And yet a cube in my sign  – Lucy

Straining at the loo / I can’t let this go  – Geoff

the Communication Board feels like my lover

I’m full of gratitude and respect / my beautiful God given board / my life, hope and future    – Glenn

My Board / My true love / my fun time / my friend / my everything. 

You are to me / what air is to a bird.  – Peter R

What have been the highlights of the collaboration?
 
Sam R: So much fun working with Ghostboy, have really loved being part of this.

Mike: The enthusiasm Ghostboy brought to the sessions has been very inspiring, it has brought new life and energy to my words.

Peter R: This project has brought another level to my work

Peter B: Ghostboy and “air for the birds” ROCK!

Ghostboy: The Brotherhoods creative drive being one of need not ego; the efficiency of their language set against their unbridled energy and spark as physical beings; their ability to direct their own work in terms of the voice required by others reading it; their self-belief as artists – huge!

Finally, what can the audience expect from the show?
 
Peter B: The audience will be gobsmacked. awestruck, overwhelmed and flabbergasted!!!

Sam P: It will change the way people think about us – both us writers and human beings

Glenn: it will bring further understanding about the autistic world.

Peter R: It will bring another message that we are artistic – not just autistic- and clever.

Mike R: This is a space for us to express ourselves in the outside world.

Rodney: They will see us as poets being part of the most mind blowing dazzling spectacle of fun. fearlessness, and fucking awesome poetry!

The State Library performance will be accompanied by ouTsideRs artists including musician and poet Suzanne Jones (keyboard); renowned avant garde musician Bremen Town Musician (violin), and ouTsideRs award winning spoken word artists Pascalle Burton and Tessa Leon.
 
Air for the Birds is Presented by the State Library of Queensland, ouTsideRs aRT Inc and Brotherhood of the Wordless.
 
 
When                    4pm, Sat 30 Jan
Where                   slq Auditorium 1, level 2
Tickets                 Free, no bookings required
Please note this performance contains some adult themes and is best suited to people aged 16 and over.
 
 
And you may want to follow these links: 
 
www.slq.qld.gov.au/whats-on/events/talks#opensource
www.outsiders.com.au

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QPF Spotlight #8 – Bremen Town Musician

My QPF 2009 program is already suitably inked, with many sessions marked that I just cannot miss. One of those sessions features the blistering soundscape rock of Bremen Town Musician. Their 2008 album, No one is holding a gun to your head (Songs to Run to), is still stealing my breath and I am busting at the seams with excitement to see them stretch their sonic wings at the Judith Wright Centre when they take centre stage on Saturday August 22 in the session, A Canary In Our Throats alongside Brianna Carpenter. To help build the excitement, here’s a recent interview with founding member of Bremen Town Musician, Marisa Allen.

 

Bremen Town Musician

 

How does a song begin for you – an idea, an image, a phrase, a chord?

All of the above really. It seems to be a combination of these things backed up by a strong feeling. When there is a feeling associated with these then there is a kind of momentum that kicks in harnessing all the elements of bringing a song together. They may not all happen at the same time, it may a period of minutes or even years to piece it all together. I’m finding that there is strong visual element to my songs, that the music and the words combined (on a song that is really working) tend to stimulate a visual side when listened to and from this a story is begun.

 

What role does poetry play in your songwriting process?

It’s actually very important. I started out writing poetry independently of songwriting. Being an instrumentalist first, words and hence vocals took a back seat in the process for a very long time and were a separate thing to any music that I was making. Then after coming out of a period of illness and journaling a lot I decided I wanted to write songs with words and indirectly that meant adding vocals. So I just wrote.  And because I had always written poetry first, it was familiar to me, that’s what I started writing. I gave myself 3 years to work on the craft and then another period of time to get co-ordinated enough to sing and play at the same time. Every time I had a strong feeling I would write it, that was the only guide I really gave myself. It was a very gentle process and I just allowed myself to write without critiquing anything. It was also a very disciplined process because I kept aiming for something, so there was a focus, I didn’t know what I was aiming for but when I hit it I knew, if that makes any sense at all… Through this process I like to think that I’m now able to discern quite well between what is certainly a poem and what is a song, at least in my own work. Sometimes though the line between what I would consider should remain a poem and what should become a song isn’t so clear but when that happens it can become a really unusual song.

 

Who are your artistic beacons and how have they shaped your work?

Oh dear! Everyone and no one??? Such a hard thing to pin point. I’ll stick to contemporary artists. If I said one it would be Polly Jean Harvey. I’ve been listening to her work since I was 15 when I first heard Sheela Na Gig coming down through a crackly radio reception on 4ZZZ (how we even picked up 4ZZZ  2hours north of Brisbane I’ll never know!) and I was like who! the! fuck! is that, it was 7 in the morning and I was going to school but that weekend I was down at the only independent record shop in town facing up to the independent record store guy saying have you heard of this person..?? can you order it in..?? I don’t think he really knew what to make of me and could’ve easily just said no, but anyway he ordered it in and I got the album and that was that. Whoosh! .and I cannot explain what it is that resonates with me but it just does. Certainly Dirty Three also. But then there are also such obscure and strange things that are like a light for me such as landscapes and experimental musical instrument makers that shape the entire way I do things musically.

 

 Nick Cave once said that inspiration is a word used by people who aren’t really doing anything. What’s your take on this?

Hey I answered this question in Pascalle’s spoken word workshop in 2007! Inspiration is like an elusive mist that you can never actually capture, some people spend their time chasing the mist, but they are misguided. Inspiration actually comes out of working and is like a muscle or a cog that starts turning once you actually start doing something.

 

What are the words you live by?

“Say it in as few words as possible”

 

About Bremen Town Musician:

Bremen Town Musician are a three piece with Marisa Allen on violin/vocals, Arron Bool on guitar/bass and Dave Bell on drums/percussion playing a blend of experimental/blues/folk at times accompanied only by a single violin to create mesmerizing performances.

Formed in 2005 Marisa Allen emerged as a soloist with the name Bremen Town Musician releasing her first independent solo EP ‘Silent Arrows’ a lo fi exploration of the violin.  Performing as a street musician since 1995 in Australia the U.K and Iceland she was mentored by Geoff Adeney (ex Bullamakanka ‘79 -’81) and Cleis Pearce (DHA, Michael Luenig).

She has toured the United States with Icelandic/American country rock act The Foghorns and performed at Bad Taste Records (Iceland), the Adelaide Fringe Festival, Queensland Poetry Festival and Yeppoon Village Festival and was invited to collaborate with Icelandic improv/jazz/noise collective Spuni/Graupan for the Governor of Reykjavik, at Reykjavik City Hall, Iceland.

Bremen Town Musician offer audiences a unique show. In a live setting the band take one step further bringing an album of songs to life with instrumental improvisations and delivering the raw energy the band harnesses.

Watch Bremen Town Musician perform a solo set at SpeedPoets here.

Find out more: www.myspace.com/brementownmusic

 

Catch Bremen Town Musician at QPF 2009:

Saturday August 22 – 6:00pm – 7:00pm

A Canary In Our Throat: feat. Bremen Town Musician & Brianna Carpenter

All sessions are held at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, Brunswick St. Fortitude Valley.

For full program details head to www.queenslandpoetryfestival.com

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Dear Rose Book Launch… a sneak preview

Here’s a sneak preview of the Dear Rose cover and an excerpt from the title poem… Details of the launch are also included so hope to see all you Brisbane folk there on Sunday night, and for all those beyond, details of how to order online will soon be posted to the Small Change Press website.

 

Dear Rose Cover

 

an excerpt from Dear Rose… by Nicola Scholes

 
Dear Rose, you were the best friend I had since I was torn from country at age ten in the back of a black beetle cab. The driver couldn’t understand he was only taking us to London as he took a corner it would set off my mother then my father would start saying don’t look back. It was the last time we’d go down those streets and the face I left footing the curb was not replaced until I met you.

Dear Rose what have you replaced me with, copious cups of tea or coffee alcohol Ali study TV Connie Debbie or someone new? Do you appreciate this time, have you achieved distinctions?

Dear Rose you said I stressed you out, you had to eliminate the stressors from your life. What’s it like now, are you no longer stressed, how do you fill your time now is it peaceful?

Dear Rose I won the open mic you shoulda been there Rose you shoulda seen me Rose I did the poems justice I wasn’t nervous it was a huge stage they loved me Rose you shoulda been there Rose you shoulda seen me Rose you shoulda.

Did you have a good time with Debbie that night?

Rose I may be transferring to UQ I’ve started rehearsals for a new play don’t you want to see the artwork I did for the flyer Rose my car’s still not working but the exercise is good I saw the doctor about my legs the scars are healing next week I turn 32.

Dear Rose the updates are getting longer. I’m worried that one day they’ll get so long they’ll need filing. You’ll say how are you & I’ll say fine. One gig of memory zipped.

 

Small Change Press is excited to launch it’s first title for 2009, Dear Rose by the winner of the inaugural ‘Dream Aint Broken Chapbook Competition,’ Nicola Scholes. The poems in her debut collection are brimming with inventiveness and moments of illumination.
 
As part of this live launch experience, Nicola will be reading from Dear Rose, alongside one of Melbourne’s truly innovative spoken word artists, Santo Cazzati and the sonic beauty of Bremen Town Musician
 
Date: Sunday July 5
Time: 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Venue: Queensland Writers Centre, Level 2, 109 Edward St, Brisbane
Tickets: $15.00 single or $20 couple (including a signed copy of the book, glass of wine & nibbles).

Book your spot now by emailing smallchangepress@gmail.com (tickets to be paid for on the night)

See you there!

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Small Change Press Launch: Dear Rose by Nicola Scholes

2009 is shaping up to be a busy year for Nicola Scholes. She is one of the feature poets at the final Riverbend Books: Poetry on the Deck event on Tuesday June 23 and just a few short days after that on Sunday July 5, she will launch her debut poetry collection, Dear Rose.

I caught up with Nicola recently for a quick chat …

 

NicolaScholes

 

What intially drew you to poetry?
 
I’m not quite sure.  I’ve been writing poems since I was a child, but I also loved to draw, sing, and write songs and stories, so writing poetry was just one outlet for a young creative spirit!  I had a best friend who was also creative, and we wrote poems together, and swapped poems.  It was fun, and part of my growing up.  Just before my 11th birthday, my family emigrated from England to Australia, and after that, I wrote a lot more.  I think that this was my way of trying to make sense of the move.
 

When is a poem ready to be published/performed?
 
It is ready to be performed as soon as it is written.  It is ready to be published after quite a few edits.  I have worked on some poems for many years.  Sometimes the original is better than successive edits, if I didn’t know what I was doing with it.  So I go back to the original when time has passed, and try again.
 

Has publication changed the way you approach your writing?
 
Yes, it has made me feel much more confident about my writing.  Sometimes I am surprised at which pieces are accepted, and which ones are not.  That teaches me not to be so hard on myself, but to write what I want, and then think about publication after it has been written, and not beforehand.
 

Why perform/read your poetry?
 
I love reading a poem that is fresh and that I have just written.  It now feels like a part of the process of creation — to write and then to read to an audience.  I think that you can learn quite a lot from your own poem by reading it aloud to others.  Even words that you had intended to use in a certain way, can suddenly take on new meanings as they cross over into space and other peoples’ ears.  In this way, the audience helps to shape the poem.
 

What is the greatest challenge faced by poets/poetry today?
 
I think that the challenge is always to keep going, to keep creating, in spite of general public indifference to poetry, and most forms of artistic expression, especially ones that do not appear to contribute to the economy.

 

Small Change Press is excited to launch it’s first title for 2009, Dear Rose by the winner of the inaugural ‘Dream Aint Broken Chapbook Competition,’ Nicola Scholes. The poems in her debut collection are brimming with inventiveness and moments of illumination.

In 2007, Nicola also won the inaugural Love Poetry Hate Racism open mic competition. Aside from winning inaugural things, Nicola has had her poems published in magazines such as The Broadkill Review (USA), Cordite Poetry Review, The Courier-Mail, dotlit, Hecate, holland1945, Nineteen-O-Splash (NZ), SpeedPoets, and Stylus Poetry Journal. Nicola has also been involved in Brisbane community theatre for more than ten years. She has performed in plays with Villanova Players, and St. Luke’s Theatre Society. She is currently studying a PhD on representations of the maternal in Allen Ginsberg’s poetry, at the University of Queensland.

As part of this live launch experience, Nicola will be reading from Dear Rose, alongside Melbourne’s intensely musical, Santo Cazzati and the sonic beauty of Bremen Town Musician.

Date: Sunday July 5
Time: 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Venue: Queensland Writers Centre, Level 2, 109 Edward St, Brisbane
Tickets: $15.00 single or $20 couple (including a signed copy of the book, glass of wine & nibbles).

Book your spot now by emailing smallchangepress@gmail.com (tickets to be paid for on the night)

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