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Cool Bananas!

Cool Bananas
Reggae revisited invite all to party free
Sat. 27 April 2013
94 Poath Road, Hughesdale.

In 1981 in an independently decadent cafe in Middle Park known as Cafe Jammin on the corner of Richardson and Armstrong Streets, a part of Melbourne’s rich cultural history was born.

My dear friend and all round cool dude Chaeem Sadikin had landed from Indonesian armed only with his guitar, a smile and lots of musical talent. Strolling down Armstrong street one day he decided to poke his head into Cafe Jammin and noticed a drum kit. He then discovered that Peter the proprietor not only made a good coffee and toasted sandwich but he was also a drummer with a penchant for Reggae who attracted a dedicated bunch of muso’s and enthusiasts most nights. Out of this incubator Cool Runningwas born, contributing to and enriching the second blossoming of Melbourne’s live music culture. At that time two other Reggae bands were emerging on the scene No Fixed Address who were one of the first Indigenous bands and the African connection embodied in Randy and the Roots.

For the next two years Cool Running were playing gigs six to seven nights a week all over Melbourne with residencies at the Sydenham / Richmond Tavern and the Terminus Hotel in Clifton Hill. It was a time when Indonesian and African students were attracted to our fair city and Cool Running, No Fixed Address and Randy and the Roots provided a cultural epicentre. The scene started hotting up and these guys knew how to dance the night away and PARTY…

At the end of 1982 with Chaeem at the helm, Cool Running morphed into the iconic COOL BANANAS. They pumped up the volume of Melbourne’s burgeoning Reggae scene and for over a decade played all over town. Their residency at the Richmond Tavern is the stuff of legend. During that decade Richmond Tavern was HQ for the Survival Reggae Club and Chaeem was the musical ambassador of the movement. As a result Richmond Tavern became a destination for Indonesian, African and Jamaican travellers from all corners of the globe.

And this is where it got interesting for me personally.

Sometime in 1992 another Indonesian friend, bass player Dekka launched another Reggae band, Undreaded. He asked me to join the team moonlighting as a door bitch. A few months in he invited Chaeem to join the band as vocalist and lead guitar. Soon after DJ Ianabo Dibango (who now heads Crew Jamaica) joined as resident DJ. For the next two or so years I watched as the McKinnon Hotel on a Sunday arvo was transformed into an exotic hotspot of dance, laughter, good food and community.

Chaeem has continued to perform as a singer / songwriter and Reggae champion here and throughout Indonesian.

The good news is that COOL BANANAS will be performing on SATURDAY 27 APRIL 2013 at SIMBA’R 94 Poath Road, Hughesdale. located near Chadstone.

For Chaeem this relaunch has come about to celebrate 30 years of Reggae, community and good times. For anyone who loves to dance and party on, this is the gig for you…