In Between Sounds

By  |  0 Comments

By Daniel Wilson

Joel Ma and James Mangohid never missed a beat as they told their life stories and those of their families in a vivid flurry of words, pictures and music in their mesmerising show In Between Sounds.

The audience was invited to relive the memories of love, romance, adventure and family in order to explore two examples of the rich expression of living Australian culture.

Transfixed in their seats, revellers experienced potent and powerful hip hop from Chinese-Australian MC and spoken word artist Joelistics (aka Joel Ma of TZU), who just recently smashed it along with Poppy Gee, Sukhdeep Singh, Sheppard and Havana Brown in the opening ceremony of the Asian Cup here in Melbourne.

Filipino-Dutch-Australian producer/songwriter James Mangohig of Sietta, while usually creating musical arrangements, in this show was behind the mike rhyming his stories. All the while photos and videos of their upbringing flashed up on the screen behind them and vocalist Caiti Baker (of Sietta) accompanied the journeys with her sensational voice.

They explored the soundtrack of their mixed heritage as they weaved together songs and stories which span the music of mixed race families, the songs of modern Australia and the politics of belonging.

It was performed in Melbourne as part of Mapping Melbourne festival, a showcase of independent contemporary Asian arts celebrating the vibrant influence Asia continues to have on Melbourne’s cultural dynamism. With over 40 local artists and international artists, this multidisciplinary four-day festival spanned art, theatre, music, spoken word, dance and film in the heart of Melbourne.

“The genesis of the show was a conversation between James and the Darwin Festival director,” Joel Ma explained. “She wanted to bring Sietta and Joelistics to the festival but in a different capacity to the way we usually perform.

“James instantly freestyled an idea of working on some form of show that engaged with the commonality of us growing up in Australia in a Eurasian household, caught between cultures, and how that influenced and informed the music we make.“

The show was a huge success in Darwin, it sold out to 450 people. So they brought it to Melbourne. “It’s a pleasure to perform,” Joel Ma insisted, and he hopes to perform it again, as “my dad and sisters haven’t seen it yet.”

They want to make it even more spectacular, “working with some people in Sydney to deepen the story, bring in a third party like a director to deepen the show”.

“We don’t come from the theatre, we come from music, gigging, dirty pubs, laud shows. In Between Sounds is different from the shows they usually do.” Joel Ma explained.

“This is a breath of fresh air. It’s not about the bluster and the hype, it’s about the intimate moments and the quietness of the stories, and holding the moment in a completely different way than we are used to.”

In Between Sounds is about being in between cultures, and in between music genres. “As poly-cultural, mixed race kids, …, we relate to things that aren’t defined culturally, because that’s how our identity formed, is to be a mix, a fusion.

“I have a sympathy for misfits and underdogs who don’t fit in. Australia is a country built from misfits, we might not feel proud of that, but that is what I am proud of, the descending side of Australia, not the clichéd side”

Find us on FacebookFind us on FacebookFind us on FacebookFind us on Facebook