If Aretha Franklin were to venture Down Under this November, I know where she’d get her kicks. The gospel god would undoubtedly come to shake her thing at Standing in the Shadows of MONA – the soul gig set to rock Hobart town right before the summer.
The outdoor extravaganza will unite an incredible set of musicians including Maria Lurighi, Michael Spiby, Brian Ritchie, Take 6’s Grammy-winning Khristian Dentley, the ARIA nominated Southern Gospel Choir, and local star Andrew Legg.
Andrew will also play the role of MD for the show and says we can get ready for a gig that’s “all about gospel and soul music, and its home away from home in Tasmania.”
“There will be fun, power, huge horns and mighty beats, stunning singing and a sound that will get under your skin and change your life,” Andrew says.
Some of the sounds that’ll penetrate the open air were originally performed by Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, and a range of artists you’d never expect, who Andrew hints “have gospel music right at the heart of who they are and the music they write.”
If you are under the impression that gospel is a style that emerged and ended last century, this concert will show you that the energy and influence of soul surrounds us through even the most modern of music.
“Gospel is the heart and soul of all contemporary music. From the sound of the voice, to the way the audience reacts, from the earthy realness of the sounds to the way the instruments are held – all of this comes from gospel,” Andrew explains.
“As for keeping it alive, it doesn’t need any help. You can’t kill it, you can’t suppress it, you can’t bury it or ignore it. It is the breath and blood of humanity. If you want to understand our roots as a contemporary music culture, it all starts and finishes with gospel. That’s about 100 good reasons for us to do it.”
Good reason number 101 for the event is the opportunity it provides for local voices to be heard loud and clear, serving as a reminder of the pure talent we can find in our own backyard – even in an age where global music is more accessible than ever before.
“MONA has provided opportunities for the Southern Gospel Choir and the Conservatorium to step up and come alongside a truly international vision and set of expectations,” Andrew beams.
“This is often lacking in Tasmanian cultural expression – not talent or ability or even desire, but the expectation and experience of a genuinely international sound is often not understood well. MONA raises the bar, and also provides a mechanism to achieve another level again.”
“It gives us permission to talk more, sing more, to experience more, to push the boundaries more.”
Standing in the Shadows of MONA will provide one more important opportunity for everyone to consider, and Andrew sums it up quite simply as “joy. Joy and more joy.”
“There is so much negativity and anger in our world, and whilst music can’t fix it, it can motivate and push us towards loving more, caring more, and living more fully and wholly.”
Get a taste of the good life on November 24 on the MONA lawns. The free event will start at 2pm and provide three hours of aural ecstasy. More info at www.mona.net.au.
This article featured in Warp Magazine November 2013
Image source: Warp Magazine