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Kodivine is transient. Moving from place to place, inhabiting and creating with fierce care and vitality. At the moment, Mparntwe/Alice Springs is home, and they have many gifts of enthusiasm to impart upon Territorians with the Darwin Fringe Festival in their immediate sight. Hannah Muir caught up with them at the 8CCC Café. for a long black and a quick chat.

You were in Alice for a while, you left, and now you’re back!
I was here in 2018 and went back to Brisbane to study Masters in Music at the Conservatorium, which I dropped out of – I like to say I’m a jazz school dropout! I think in my bio I wrote “spends most of their time in the Central Desert, and the rest of the time wishing they were back”, which I think a lot of people can vouch for.

Aside from being a “jazz school dropout”, what is your musical background?
You have a very jazzy, soulful voice – did you grow up in a musical family? Absolutely not! I grew up in the heart of the bogan land in regional Queensland. I’ve been singing since I was six. I had a very compromised musical education being in regional Queensland and not having much access to artistic and cultural opportunities. But eventually, I did go on to study Contemporary Music in Lismore, then went on to my Masters, which lead me to study in New Orleans and Denpasar.

How do you find the music scene here?
So dynamic! The music scene here is a hidden gem of the national scene. The skill level is really high. It’s just such a shame that access to and from the Central Desert is so expensive. There are trade-offs in some ways – I personally really appreciate the literal space you have and feel here.

What have you got coming up?
I’m producing two shows for Darwin Fringe! Kodevine x Velia is a Fringe-exclusive, and the players in this band are so legit. We have our original sets we’ll perform separately but there may be some crossover, you need to come to the show to find out. And Prickly Pear, which is such a special moment. Yeah, we are putting on a show, but we are a moving community and coming into collision of what’s your idea of culture? How do we safely gather? How do we choose to spend our time together? What’s the role of art in people’s lives? These are the things we have been thinking about when these people gather in this space. And then, you invite an audience into voyeur.

And what are you expecting to come from that?
This show, when it has happened before, has left audiences inspired to actually create their own creative practice. They see the value for their own creativity. I think that contributes to a healthy community. There’s a real focus on emerging artists or artists that are at the early stages of a certain practice, and I think that’s really relatable. I like to try and dismantle any obstacles for people to access arts, and one of those is elitism in art and only seeing things that are really polished and really well funded.

Prickly Pear at Darwin Fringe
WHEN SAT 9 & SUN 10 JUL | 3-4PM
COST $17.50-$25

Kodivine x Velia
COST $22 | $20 CONC | $17.50 GROUP 6+

Thumbnail, header & inset: Photo: Kate Atkinson

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