Harry Jakamarra has a voice that stops you dead in your tracks. A punchy, Springsteen-esque growl that’s imbued with the rugged texture of the West Australian desert where he grew up.
Harry’s songs are truly Australian . . . just like ‘Wake in Fright’. A Kimberley Cowboy turned Mad Max, Harry tours in a vegie oil powered fire engine he converted to a house. He tears the roof off Pilbara pubs and southern sit-down gigs alike with his dry Guitar picking and dark, twisted lyrics.
Harry is joined by his younger brother Elwood Gray. Elwood, an already accomplished and road worn song-craftsman, possesses a depth to his playing well beyond his 18 years. With a telepathic ease on stage and virtuosic playing the two create vocal harmonies of a quality only blood can blend, reminiscent of the Everly or Stanley Brothers.
Harry also takes the Clawhammer Banjo style to new levels. Far from a dinky twang, Harry’s Banjo playing is closer to the Saharan rasp of the Tuareg rebels who schooled him.
Inspired by Warumpi Band, Midnight Oil and Gillian Welch. Warped by studying Indian Classical on the banks of the Ganges River, and narrowly escaping a Tuareg uprising in Timbuktu. Coloured by a life spent on the road, Harry’s music is the most genuine thing you will hear this year. His songs have the poetic staying power of Wilfred Owen, Paul Kelly and Hank Williams.
“Harry plays that banjo with all the revered spirit of the ‘ole timey’ while lighting a new exciting virtuosic flame underneath it”
– John Butler
“One of the (Woodford) Festival’s real stand-out artists of the year.”
– Melanie Tait, ABC Radio National Evenings
“And then Harry Jakamarra… just blew me away the first time I met him. He’s kind of a genius. He’s a bit of a multi-instrumentalist and can play the shit out of the guitar as well as having the amazing, gravelly, Bruce Springsteen-y kind of a voice. I think people are going to love him.”
– Missy Higgins (‘The Music’ magazine)
“Harry Jakamarra has great storytelling, a commanding singing voice and he can pick a guitar or a banjo like the devil’s on his tail.”
– Jeff Lang
When you hear Madison Violet, the first thing you’ll notice is that their voices blend together, symbiotically, like family: born to sing the same songs. And over the past decade and a half, the pair have taken to genre-bending, moving effortlessly from folk to pop to electronic to Americana. In a word, they are musical chameleons.
Madison Violet’s first 2 studio albums, Worry the Jury and Caravan, were recorded with notable producer John Reynolds (Sinead O’Connor, U2, Damien Dempsey) and were critically acclaimed, garnering the pair several ECMA and CFMA nominations. Their 3rd and 4th releases, No Fool for Trying and The Good In Goodbye are homegrown collections, recorded in Ontario with producer Les Cooper at the helm. Their 5th studio release, was recorded in Toronto by acclaimed producer, Tino Zolfo (Carly Rae Jepson, Soul Decision, Hawksley Workman), and solidified the duo as musically versatile powerhouse songwriters.
Madison Violet have acquired quite a few accolades, including a Juno nomination, a Canadian Folk Music Award and a Critic’s Choice award from Country Music People’s Magazine. Their songs have featured in the notorious music magazine MOJO’s Top 10 Playlist, and have earned the duo the Grand Prize in the 2010 Maxell John Lennon Song Writing Contest (voted on by a panel of distinguished artists including Elton John, Tim McGraw, Black Eyed Peas, Fergie, John Legend, Enrique Iglesias and Mary J. Blige). Madison Violet were on Germany’s WDR’s list of ‘Best Bands of All Time’.
Brenley and Lisa are singer-songwriters. Multi-instrumentalists. Harmonizers. Dog lovers. Painters. Tennis fanatics. Amateur chefs. They have been described as folk, pop, roots, indie & Americana.
“Madison Violet really are a joy to experience. . . there are few other acts that can provide such a strong statement of quality musicianship coupled with songs of the highest caliber.”
– Lonesome Highway
“I shouldn’t have been too surprised to find a queue stretching down three flights of stairs . . . I soon became as engrossed in the girls’ instrumental skills as I already was in love with their songwriting.”
“Sometimes it all comes together in unexpected ways . . . it might come in the form of two dazzling women singing songs that are pure ear candy, blending perfect harmony with melodies and life-forged lyrics that insunuate their way into your psyche. So it is with Brenley MacEachern and Lisa MacIsaac, who call themselves Madison Violet.”
Festival of Small Halls Spring Tour is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland.