God gotta be crazy
about this episodeEpisode one. The start of a new passionfruit.
This song started with a gipsy jam in Hampi where I met Axel La Courte and Ludovic Boutet. I was just walking around when I saw this french gipsy group passing by. Great guys with crazy energy and a very open mind. I just bumped into those guys when they were about to perform a show on the Hampi temple festival. Unfortunately I was not prepared for registering it. The prehistoric phone I carried had a picture quality worse than my scanner from '97. The only physical memory left over is that blurry pic in our gallery. Nevertheless I was enjoying the way Axel and Ludo entertained the enthusiast crowd. They where obviously used to playing together. The result was a wonderful balanced gypsy performance. Axel brought a wonderful sort of banjo guitar. An original metallic sound and a laid-back groove resulted in the awesome riff Axel played on this record. More days of jamming followed in Hampi.
One year after recording Axel in Hampi we traveled this song to Derby (West-Australia). We were lucky to walk into the Norval Gallery runned by Mark and Mary Norval. To be honest, at this stage of our trip we were really seeking for more creativity. We found more than we could ever wish for in Derby. We both had never seen a gallery like this before. I mean, the way in which cultures, people and creativity merged together was awesome. The cultural barrier between Aboriginals, Tourists and Australians didn't seem to exist in that building. During our travels we have heard some stories about the indigenous people and the way they could or could not live along the Australians. We have heard much prejudice people talking about this problem. Some of them where joking about or even blaming indigenous people for living their way. According to the horror which has been imposed on them in the past, this attitude is obviously terrible. Fortunately The Norval Gallery plays a wonderful emphatic role. Their doors are open for anybody. Everyone is invited to explore their creativity and Mark and Mary personally help wherever they can to add value to the lives of many. Marshal, the lead singer of this record, is a wonderful example. He could easily be judged as "one-of-those-troublemakers''. Instead of judging him, the Norval Gallary tries to see the beauty and challenges for him to explore. Because of this trust, Marshall started to feel confident and talked proud about the Mowanjum traditions, songs and rituals. He sang the ritual morning song which is remixed with Axel's guitarplay in India. In this episode you also see Mark Norval's work and Mark himself painting on our car window. His work is full of empathy and historical consciousness using different material to express himself. Mark and Mary, you have left an unforgettable impression in our minds.
Not so long after recording Marshall and Mark we met another Ozzie bloke; Chris O'Dea from Sydney. We were walking down the streets in Darwin, scoring some food. It was the echo of his sax sounds that triggered us to come over. As a sax player myself I know the challenge of doing a solo performance. I mean, for a sax player it's nice to have a band around and drop some solo's where it suits. Chris managed it to stay interesting without that extra musicians around. It was that pure sound echoing through the streets of Darwin. His technique and creativity are developed on such a great level. Wonderful to feel the spirits coming out of that metal instrument. Chris was instantly a sort of a teacher and a huge source of inspiration for me. It didn't took me long to say hi, give him the headphones and microphone. It didn't take him more than three minutes to record two awesome takes of music. Sometimes you just have to be on the right spot at the right time. We all were there.
I don't want to sound too spaced out but it really felt as if this track had a sort of indescribable spiritual power. I've never been religious or spiritual so far but this energy and drive was unique for me. Bassplayer Stefano Bonfanti only confirmed this energy by merging into it. We met this guy after seeing one of his gigs. It was a sort of last minute freestyle performance. Stefano and his friends (Daine and Jimmy) were put on the main stage accidentally. Their performance was a complete improvisation. "Wow" is what only passed my mind. Wow! Those guys, this performance, this setting is one of the best I've ever seen. Forget the fact that the audience wasn't any bigger than my soccer team. It was that same magical energy. Stefano's technical slap work and feel for the right arrangements are a killer combination. As a songwriter himself it was the perfect guy for finishing this record. He suggested a couple of great changes, his recordings were so natural and without any struggle. Wish we could have spend more time together!
The five sisters painting in this video are given a platform by the Norval Gallery. During our stay at the gallery they became our friends. Dorothy, Audrey, Phillippa, Robyn and Annin really had a drive for drawing. Dorothy rocked up every day and taught us a bit about their art. We did hang out and shared stories. It was great fun and inspiring at the same time.