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The Desert Sessions

SEVEN SONGWRITERS, a pig with an identity crisis and Scruffycoco the Scottish deerhound… No, it’s not the beginning of a distasteful joke – it’s The Desert Sessions!

Presented by MusicNT, Tourism NT, Sing Hum Records and Gaga Music Publishing, The Desert Sessions Songwriters Retreat in September provided four days of collaboration, laughter and in-jokes, resulting in the creation of musical magic.

Held in the idyllic outback location of Ooraminna Station Homestead, home to The Drover’s Boy film set and half an hour from of Alice Springs, the retreat provided artists with the chance to get away from phone reception and work-life distractions to dedicate a few days solely to the art of songwriting.

With all the necessities taken care of, and plenty of talent to seek inspiration from, The Desert Sessions offered a rare opportunity to nurture both artistic creativity and relationships between a diverse group of Top End and Central-based songwriters.

Program facilitator and participant, Dave Crowe (Sing Hum/Resin Moon), was instrumental in the creation of the retreat. He believes there’s a huge want and need for opportunities such as The Desert Sessions to encourage the sharing of ideas and creation of new material.

“One of the biggest roadblocks for songwriters is finding the time and space to really focus in on creativity. The Desert Sessions provide such a space in an inspiring, uniquely Territory location, whilst fostering new connections and learning new industry skills,” he said.

This year’s participants included Dave Crowe, Adam Scriven, Darcy Davis, David Garnham, Rachel Younger, VJ Bumanlag and Xavia Nou, each bringing their own unique sounds and skills to the table to write a group song for the program’s funding partner, Tourism NT.

They were aided by Alice Springs musical legend Paul Ah Chee Ngala, who joined the group on the second day of the retreat to provide valuable industry insight and cultural consultation.

While tasked with producing a song that embodied that ‘Territory feeling’, each artist had time to work on their own songs, which they then showcased to the world – or at least, Alice Springs – at Epilogue Lounge on the final evening of the retreat.

Keep an eye – or an ear – out the next time you see one of these amazingly talented artists playing around town. You might just get to hear a product of The Desert Sessions for yourself!


Photo L-R:  Adam Scriven, David Garnham, Darcy Davis, Verjon Bumanlag, Rachel Younger, Xavia Nou and Dave Crowe.

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