Live Review: The Key Of Sea

18 December 2012 | 9:22 am | Jaye Weatherburn

This collaborative music truly becomes a uniting force that forges bonds across different cultures and is a joy to watch.

It is a unique gig night at Hamer Hall, as the CD The Key Of Sea – Volume 2 is given life in a concert that joins Australian musicians with performers from asylum-seeking backgrounds, with the profits going to various refugee charities.

The emphasis is on fun and enjoyment as the entertaining maestro from RocKwiz, Brian Nankervis, prowls the stage and the aisles, inciting laughter as he warms up the crowd. Tim Rogers and Polyxeni kick off the evening and give an engaging performance full of dark gypsy tones. Rogers is fantastic, his voice in fine form as he gels with the other band members, dubbing them his “new best friends”.

A group of Sudanese children, aged from eight to 13, enter the show when Nankervis calls some of them up to the stage during a band's set-up time. Two young girls (12 and 13 years old) perform a rap that is slightly disturbing due to the bullying undertones in the subject matter. They are very confident though, and “oh so cute”, as one woman in the audience repeats quite a few times. Sophia Brous performs with Awaz, a Kurdish musician. Brous' voice is strong and alluring as she sings a cover of Leonard Cohen's Story Of Isaac, and her impossibly high crooning notes marry well with Awaz's low register in Come Along.

The Tiger & Me are next, paired with Murtaza Jafari, who plays a fascinating instrument from Afghanistan, the dambura. It is long-necked and played like a guitar, with a beautiful earthy tone. The band's indie-pop stylings fuse well with the foreign sounds in their collaborative song with Jafari, Az Eshq Tho. The Royal Swazi Spa marry a soft jazz vibe with African calypso happiness. Chet Faker arrives on stage on crutches to join them, his leg bandaged, and lends his husky voice to Fear Like You. It's a fantastic grooving song, enhanced by the brilliant jazzy background. Jinja Safari wrap up the night, performing with Kinfe Geshu, called “Spaceman” by the band due to his shiny silver suit. Silence Of The Guns is a celebratory extravaganza, as all the performers from the night file back on stage to clap and dance along, and the Sudanese kids let loose on the chorus.

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There is an abundance of warm fuzzy feelings swirling around for this great cause and a feeling of togetherness seems to permeate through the audience. This collaborative music truly becomes a uniting force that forges bonds across different cultures and is a joy to watch.