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Jazz & Dew

There’s something magical about tapping into the past, revisiting fond memories or being reacquainted with an old friend. This month, you’re invited to rediscover the magic of jazz as Skinnyfish Music presents the Darwin International Jazz & Arts Festival.

By Tierney Seccull

Offering a sweet a day of music, art and culture, the inaugural festival is held during what the Larrakia refer to as a time of heavy dew, the Dinidjanggama season. This calm and collected festival unfolds gently over six hours featuring international, national and local musical acts, utilising indoor and outdoor spaces at Darwin Entertainment Centre to give audiences the chance to soak up the atmosphere at a relaxed pace.

The brainchild of Michael Hohnen, Creative Director at Skinnyfish Music and an established double bass musician in his own right, it was, in part, developed to engage with and celebrate the older members of our community.

“I was trying to think of something that was like a beacon for that demographic. I’ve got a passion for tapping into what older people have to offer society, and a lot of this demographic grew up with jazz,” he says.

And although jazz is the central element, there’s plenty more to this arts festival, a unique combination of artforms and artists showcased to entertain audiences of all ages – even dogs!

The line-up includes the internationally renowned Vince Jones and Band, award-winning Australian pianist and composer Charlie Chan, writer, author and cartoonist Michael Leunig – who performs, speaks and paints live – the Darwin Symphony Orchestra String Quartet with song man Archer and blues artist Kankawa, Charlie Chan’s Music for Dogs experience, plus international artists from Timor Leste, Taiwan and Indonesia.

There’s even the chance for the public to participate through Love Notes to Darwin. This exhibition, led by artist Kate Bradbury, invites you to share the beauty of Darwin through photos or drawings using a special hashtag to celebrate the many, many positives of this tropical town.

Offering a real-time experience, this exciting new festival goes against the grain regarding modern-day music production, and celebrates the essence of live music.

“Technology in music is prevalent these days, but jazz is a medium that has always bucked that pre-produced genre of music. It’s often about improvisation, spontaneity, live moments, and innovation,” Hohnen says.

“It’s not always about the latest, most fashionable thing that’s going on. The reversion to reflect on something that offers something not instantly attainable, that is really attractive to me.”

This year’s festival is a placeholder to see if it’s something that works for Darwin, with the vision to become an annual feature in the Skinnyfish program. It also has the freedom to evolve into other music genres, with the plan to one day be held outdoors, and always during Dinidjanggama season.

Witness the depth of talent and wisdom this diverse group of artists have to share, and enjoy some incredible live jazz during the heavy dew.


Darwin International Jazz & Arts Festival
WHEN SAT 22 JUL | 4PM
AT DARWIN ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE
COST $30-$105
INFO skinnyfishmusic.com.au | yourcentre.com.au | #lovenotestodarwin

Thumbnail, header & inset (left): Vince Jones Photo: Mish Photography
Inset (right): Michael Leunig, 'Francis And The Birds'

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