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April 2015 NOVA Magazine
MUSIC & BOOK REVIEWS 21
Fear and Saturday Night
Blessed with sandpaper, world-weary
vocals and a penchant for Stones-style
sloppiness, Texan Ryan Bingham has taken
his brand of Americana down a number
In 2010, his song The Weary Kind, from
the film Crazy Heart, received an Oscar.
Three respectably selling albums later and
he’s moved away from his record label
to set up his own, while the days of red
carpets and endless possibilities appear
smaller and smaller in the rear view mirror.
The choice to be true to his muse
rather than to the wild winds of celebrity
is his own, though, and it makes perfect
sense when you listen to the songs
With a flair for framing painful
memories and private longings against an
unsettling appraisal of the reality of now,
his words cut straight to the core while his
tunesmithing is rooted firmly within the
county rock mould.
This album is full of little highlights – the
furtive dobro entry on Diamond Is Too
Rough, the way Radio slips in and out of
double time as if it can’t make up its mind
which way to go, the fairground mirror
reflection of dark words and light melody
of Nobody Knows My Trouble – and very
The type of album that could have
been recorded 40 years ago and still
enjoyed today, Fear And Saturday Night is
all about honesty, sincerity and capturing
The type of album that, while extremely
likeable right from the outset, should
garner even more respect over time.
Raw and authentic.
Music In Exile
Forced to flee their northern Mali
home, these four exiles source their
inspiration from a lifetime of hardship and
displacement, which they joyously filter
through a funnel of optimism and youthful
joie de vivre to create a sound that rocks,
rolls, shifts and swirls like the desert sands.
Having caught the attention of Marc-
Antoine Moreau, Damon Albarn and Nick
Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, they now
find themselves singing to a far wider
Despite their new acclaim, the band
makes no attempt to dilute their distinctive
brand of desert blues and what you get on
this album is raw and real.
Similar in feel to the sounds of the
Tuareg people, Songhoy Blues combines
the rawness of the Delta with the trance-
like grooves of Mali to create a music
that is passionate, entrancing and
The moods they evoke are expressed
by keening guitars, emphatic rhythms and
powerful, drone-like vocals.
The result is hypnotic, exotic and quite
likely to cause involuntary toe tapping.
One of those albums that seems to
go on forever as the tracks flow from one
groove to the next, taking you away on an
aural journey with no apparent destination,
just your eyes and ears fixed on some
0477 915 031
I am Seda, I Am the Dance
Many in Sydney will recognise the striking
presence of Seda Star, a vibrant figure in the
city’s dance and holistic circles.
So it’s a real pleasure to be sent a copy
of her book I am Seda, I am the Dance
and realise that her sparkling persona is a
triumph over adversity we in a privileged
Western country can barely imagine.
Seda, now a successful dance teacher
and professional performer, was the third
child to a teenage mother in Turkey and
endured a childhood marred by neglect,
abuse and poverty – she tells of selling
fresh flowers in the sweltering streets of
Istanbul to help feed the family and the
streets were her school.
But something in her harked back
to her family’s four generations of belly
dancers and dancing became her single
minded pursuit. At times, reading of
her trials including a failed marriage
and a long history of physical and
emotional abuse, it seems dancing
was truly her lifeline.
Her amazing determination is evident
in her story – even writing in English for a
largely unschooled woman from Turkey
is a remarkable achievement. And Seda’s
story, while at times a little repetitive, has
much to offer us as she shares her passion
for healing herself and what she has
learned from her undoubted gift as
She is a great believer in the power
of affirmations and has fashioned her
own favourites into a Dance Prayer, which
she shares with us in 40 odd pages of
photographs and movement sequences.
The yogic influence is strong in sequences
such as “I am abundance”, “ I am free spirit”,
“ I am healthy” and many more, where
Seda’s instructions allow us to follow them
easily. A perfect start to the day, as she
would want for us!
As you’d expect from a professional
dancer, Seda writes informatively about
the power of the breath and its vital role in
achieving and maintaining optimum health.
She is intuitively aware of the role good
breathing habits play in activating the solar
plexus, the chakra so strongly linked to self
esteem. And it isn’t just for women, says
Seda. Anyone can do her Dance Prayer and
reap its benefits. As she tells us, “ Dance has
always been my escape zone. It is the best
meditative state for me; it is rejuvenating
and healing. I was, and still am, happiest
when I dance.” And just to prove the point,
the final section of the book has black and
white photos of Seda looking glamorous,
healthy, lissome and, most importantly,
happy in settings all around her adopted
city of Sydney.
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