Queensland Multicultural Festival - Rose Water

It was just another gig, singing to the lizards.

Last Sunday was the day of the Queensland Multicultural Festival at Roma Street Parkland in Brisbane, and it was the first festival performance for my world music trio Rose Water. Now, it seems every major city comes with a token central park - New York has um, Central Park (with squirrels), London has Hyde Park (also with squirrels) and Sydney has um, Hyde Park (with possums, which are just a larger sort of squirrel, really). Each of these parks are polite, delicate pockets of greenery in which one can go for a tranquil stroll and admire the softness of nature before heading back to the rigidity of the cityscape.

Roma Street Parkland, however, is less of a strolling park and more..."Jurassic Park". To even get in from the nearby train station, you basically have to scale a cliff face, and require satellite navigation to work your way along the windy paths, through the subtropical plant life, up and down hills, all while battling the scorching Queensland sun which is reflected back with blinding intensity from the shiny lake. If you can find your way to the edge, there is a lovely, flat rainforest in which to rest...but don't let the tranquility fool you. This oasis looks like it could be home to dinosaurs...but in fact, it is home to DRAGONS! Handsome Australian water dragons, to be exact.

So on Sunday morning, Rose Water found a nice bench nestled in the rainforest to do some pre-show rehearsing, and we attracted the attention of passers-by. Some were people; some were lizards. One lizard in particular stayed for an entire song, so I directed the whole thing to it, looking it in the eye as I serenaded it with a lament from a land and culture far, far away. We had a nice moment together. Then, without as much as a goodbye, it scuttled off into the forest. 

We headed back through the gardens and over the hills to the Ceremonial stage for the *real* gig. It was a lovely spot, a grassy area overlooking the curvy train tracks of Roma Street Station. We even had real people (not lizards) come to the gig, and they even clapped (because they weren't lizards). It was a 20-minute set, so we only sung four songs, "Sao Roma", "Debreli Hassan", "ija Miya" and Naci en Alamo", and I loved every moment. I felt like I really let loose in this performance (even though my leg was involuntarily bopping up and down with nerves). It's a hard thing to do, you feel so exposed, but it's equally exhilarating once you do it. Addictive, actually! We don't have any more gigs planned at the moment so we can take some time to learn some new material. So, people and lizards of Australia, stay tuned...