I had the opportunity of filming a live to air interview at 3CR between Blues journalist / presenter Werner Martin and visiting Blues legend Ivan Zar.
Ivan painted a picture through word and song about his experiences touring indigenous communities throughout the Kimberley over a 20 year period. Fascinating to say the least. And I will present that footage in the not too distant future for your viewing pleasure.
In the interim, I would like to inform our readers about some gigs that are coming up later this week where you can catch Blues legend Ivan Zar performing with Melbourne sensation Ezra Lee.
COMING GIGS: Ezra Lee & Rocking Ray with special guest Blues legend Ivan Zar
I first met Damon Smith while accompanying Western Australian Blues legend Ivan Zar to Damon’s home.
We were there to discuss a documentary that Damon is currently producing on Ivan’s life and times.
I was immediately impressed by Damon’s well polished appearance, polite manner and straight shooting honesty.
As a stay at home dad of a three year old and chief carer of Jerry Lee his sixteen year old dog and equally old cat Hannah, I quickly realised that this is a man that does not waste his time!
His home is immaculate and his beautiful native garden leads to a tiny, yet impressive recording studio designed and built by Damon in his spare time.
I discovered that Damon Smith is a man of many, many talents.
As a singer/ songwriter/ musican/ performer and producer Damon has created a space for a diverse selection of songwriters to come to perform one original song and one cover of an artist that inspires them. The 29 artists currently on his website come from all over the country and overseas to record their original songs in this extraordinary environment.
Every artist plays on the studio guitar named Zach Glickman and the music is performed in ‘one take’ in an effort to capture the raw, unbridled, essence of a song, including all the wobbly bits, which help to make a song truly memorable.
The Retreat Hotel in Sydney Road, Brunswick Melbourne, hosted a very special event with performances by long time friends, Western Australian blues artists’ Ivan Zar and Olive Knight.
Singer / songwriter, deadly guitar and harp musician Ivan, first encountered Olive when he was touring the Kimberly through the Aboriginal communities during the 1990s.
Back in the 1990’s Olive Knight whose tribal name is Kankawa Nagarra was already a Gospel singer and leader in her community. She was so inspired by Ivan’s high voltage energy, abundant raw talent and knowledge of the Blues, particularly Delta Blues, that she tracked him down in 2010 to be her mentor and produce her first album.
In 2011 Olive Knight was discovered by Hugh Jackman, who helped propel Olive to achieve worldwide fame performing in Hugh Jackman Back to Broadway along side her son, artist / singer Clifton Bieundurry and Nathan Mundraby playing didgeridoo.
In November this year Olive Knight will again be part of a national tour in his latest stage production Hugh Jackman from Broadway to Oz again accompanied by her son Clifton and Nathan.
Ivan and Olive are both powerful blues artists, both with extraordinary and rich histories. They are the real deal when it comes to Blues and they both continue to touched and inspired people from all walks of life.
Performing Sunday 1st November 2015 at The Retreat Hotel, 280 Sydney Road, Brunswick between 5 – 7pm.
Born in Alexandria, Egypt in Memphis Street,Ivan Zar migrated to Western Australia with his parents age 13. He was drawn to the Blues at an early age and taught himself to play the harmonica and Delta Blues style guitar. In 1968 he began writing his own songs and formed his first band “King Biscuit Co”. Since then, Ivan has supported many of the international touring acts as either a solo performer or with one of his many subsequent bands.
Noted for his raw and passionate, rhythmic country blues on his trademark Dobro Ivan has traveled extensively throughout the Kimberly promoting blues and mentoring blues artists.
This coming Sunday Ivan will be joined by a special guest in Kankawa Nagarra (Olive Knight)who is a Walmatjarri elder from the community of Wangkatjungka. Olive and Ivan first meet while Ivan was touring the outback in the 1990’s. In 2010 Olive commissioned Ivan to produce her first album. Not long after Olive was making her Broadway debut with ‘Hugh Jackman, Back to Broadway’, supported by her son, fellow singer Clifton Bieundurry and didgeridoo players’ Paul Boon and Nathan Mundraby.
In November and December this year Olive will again be performing with Hugh Jackman in Broadway to Oz on a national tour.
Way Out West Roots Music Club is run by a dedicated group of volunteer enthusiasts and is located at the very well decked out Williamstown RSL. Not only does this venue have GREAT ACCOUSTICS the club hosts both local and international roots musicians and endeavours to support and promote young artists by giving the vast majority of gig funds directly to the performers!