The Song Lounge is the brainchild of musician and entrepreneur Christina Giorgio – and, she writes, it’s bringing back the idea of music in intimate spaces…
If you’ve been in the Byron Shire a while you’ll know that once upon a time most weekends involved gathering some friends and heading to one of the many gorgeous country halls that dot our coast line and hinterland. From major touring artists to small collectives of local original musicians, experiencing music up close and personal was the norm, usually with a chai in hand and some yummy food in our bellies.
But these days our scenic halls that were once the perfect location for live music have been appropriated by the higher paying clients, such as weddings, so that even those halls willing to host music are now priced out of the park for community events.
These days most of us are left to experience live music at crowded festivals, in passing as we loiter by a busker on street corners, or as the stripped back soundtrack to our café trip, or over the hum of drinkers in covers-dominated sets in local bars. The spaces to really savour the magic of live, original music and intimate community gatherings are now few and far between. Enter ‘The Song Lounge’, a fully curated, intimate music event for communities to come together to share music, share spaces, share food and share experiences.
Its first sparkling event launched in lovely South Golden Beach in April. The newly renovated SGB Community Hall was transformed into an oasis of tasty original music, delicious food and fabulous friends. Micka Scene, Phil and Tilley and Christina Giorgio & The Wishing Well brought to the table musicianship, storytelling and a reverence that had audiences captivated for hours. Even as the organiser I was blown away by seeing these artists in this setting and I booked them in! It had the feeling that we were experiencing a magical moment in time which we’d be telling our friends about in the future.
Song Lounge events are a total night out with doors opening at 6.30pm and Kristina’s Tasty Kitchen’s serving up $10 bowls – locally sourced, nourishing, kind to the planet and super tasty. Local Chai masters Hari Har Chai will also be brewing up spicy delight and baking sweet treats. In between acts set up on one of the shared tables, meet somebody new and get the conversations flowing. Grab a rug and cosy up with a cushion, chai and a loved one. These events are a chance to come together and escape the everyday in a space fuelled by community, connection, excellent music and a little bit of magic.
The next Song Lounge event is at the Mullum Drill Hall on Saturday June 16, featuring Loren and Luke Bennett. John Butler says of Loren: “Loren writes the kind of music that when you listen to it you somehow feel like you’re getting a massage. A sweet, gentle voice accompanied by relaxed melodically plucked guitar written by a man with a heart of gold. I’ve watched him play a few times and am always inspired by how effortless the music is.”
Loren is widely known in the folk and acoustic roots circles for his emotive storytelling in song and passionate performances. His six album releases have found their way into many homes and his latest collection of songs shows a natural evolution in his ripening as a songwriter. The past few years have seen Loren take a step back from the festival/touring circuit, to stoke the fires of his passion for making music. Nestled in the mountains of the northern New South Wales a new direction has emerged in Loren’s music – more meditative and medicinal in flavour.
Launceston-born Luke Bennett grew up falling asleep to the sounds of Fleetwood Mac, Tracy Chapman and Dire Straits. At 14 he started to learn the guitar, and after finishing college he adopted a nomadic lifestyle. Songwriting turned out to be a natural expression for him. Luke’s songs talk about the richness of and adventure of life as well as its questions and internal desires. With the catchy pop sensibilities of John Mayer and Sting fused with the stripped back earthiness of Xavier Rudd and Jack Johnson, Luke Bennett’s warm vocals and intricate guitar sound are food for the soul.
The Song Lounge, Mullumbimby Drill Hall
Saturday June 16th, 6pm
Featuring Loren and Luke Bennett