The perfect light of resplendence

In between certain places

In between places

when our bodies were done
we found ourselves
more or less in ashes

bound to a mantle
we caught glimpses
of ourselves through
creases in open doors

the children were scared
and peered into our urns
the cat ran away

we attended the wake
wakeful and filled with space

somewhat surprised
at the turnout we were

still warm
empty
alive and
ultimate

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Briony’s Homecoming Gig, Melbourne – SCORCHER FEST, 9th Dec

Ok, ok, so this is a bit premature, huh? Well, excuse me for getting all excited like.

Mark the date. On the 9th of December, about a week after I return to Melbourne after volunteering in Morocco for the better part of this year, I will be playing my first gig back in Australia at SCORCHER FEST, an awesome music festival in its 10th year, proudly supporting local musicians.

I can’t think of a better homecoming than to have you there to support my set, and to enjoy the other 49 acts over 3 stages that will be on offer throughout the day jam-packed full of awesomeness.

Tickets are only $25!

They can be purchased through me (preferred – shoot me an email at briony_mack@hotmail.com), or through the festival website. If you use the latter method, just make sure you select me as the act you’re coming to see.

 

If you haven’t already checked out my music (a mix of indie/folk/jazz/blues), you can find me by clicking here. If you have bought the EP I released in March, hopefully you’re enjoying it immensely and if you haven’t (and like the music) please consider buying one. You’ll be helping to support the volunteer work I’ve been undertaking since April this year in Taroudannt, Morocco (you can read about this in previous posts).  CDs are selling for $15 + $3 postage. Just shoot me an email (again, at briony_mack@hotmail.com). You are awesome (in advance).

I seriously can’t think of a better way to celebrate my return, than to have an audience of my friends listening to all the new material I’ve come up with while I’ve been over here. Seriously, it would be awesome.

Until then, take care and stay warm wherever you are (Melbournians, I’ll blow some 50C heat your way if you like),

x Briony

Robbie Buck features my song, Sunday, on “The Inside Sleeve”, Radio National

In the last few days I’ve had a couple of nice deliveries from the universe with regard to my music. I’ve woken up several mornings in a row to emails from complete strangers seeking copies of my CD. Overjoyed, but at first a bit perplexed, it soon came to my attention that Robbie Buck (established Australian music radio personality, formerly of Triple J’s breakfast show with Marieke Hardy and Home ‘n’ Hosed) played me on last Thursday’s edition of his show “The Inside Sleeve” on Radio National. Pretty freakin’ awesome, huh!

Just as awesome, is the fact that there are people who’ve connected with my music enough to shoot me emails and buy my CDs. As a songwriter and performer you do like to think you write primarily for yourself. It shouldn’t matter what other people think! This is your outlet! Nonetheless, you can’t escape the joys of a little bit of appreciation or validation. So thank you universe, new fans, radio personalities, friends, you are amazing!

You can listen to last Thursday’s edition of “The Inside Sleeve” by clicking here. I feature towards the end of the hour. You can also visit the ‘my music’ page on this blog to listen to a couple of tracks.

If you like the music, please consider buying a CD. In doing so, you’ll not only be supporting me, an independent Australian artist, but you’ll be supporting the volunteer work I’m currently undertaking in Morocco with street children and their families.

You can email me at briony_mack@hotmail.com to order a CD; they’re going for a measly $15 + $3 postage. Failing this, if you’re strapped for cash like me, you’d also be doing me a huge favour by simply “liking” my Facebook page (in the right sidebar on this blog). Oh, and tell your friends.

I’ll be here in Morocco until early October (having arrived in April), and following this will be busking and gigging my way around Europe, sleeping on peoples’ couches. I’ll be back in Australia early December to play Scorcher Fest on the 9th of December. Put this date in your diaries – there’ll be more on this to come!

All in the name of life and living it,

Briony

Stay tuned for more music!

In addition to my update on work, play and pain below, I thought I’d just post a short update about my music. After spending the large part of two months lazing around on the couch, my guitar has *hurrah!* decided to forgive me my infidelity and take me back. Since last weekend, I have been furiously writing and composing, and feeling so inspired! Today I sat with my window open, the sun pouring in, and spent hours rediscovering myself musically, playing around with new chord progressions and riffs, and jotting down lyrics and ideas.

Photography: Kim Holgate-Ryan

I was feeling a bit guilty and sad about not  being able to find the time to do something that I love so much, and that makes me so happy, though I suppose that often it’s actually a good thing to take a step back from creating; to let yourself absorb new and familiar surroundings and experiences alike, without thinking too much about how you can use those things for the production of your music.

Because I’d been so busy (and still am) I hadn’t really noticed I’d not only stopped playing, but stopped listening too. So I’ve started listening again to some great music both new and old; after reconnecting with both my music and that of others it feels like a new creative space has opened up! I’m really excited to be able to share some of my new material with you soon via YouTube.

Thank you also for everyone who has bought my album, and made such incredible comments about it. If you haven’t checked it out already, you can visit the ‘my music’ page on this blog on which you can play a number of tracks, or go to my Facebook page (in the right-hand sidebar of the blog).

Details of how to purchase a CD are available on both of these forums. They cost a measly $15 AUD + $3 postage, and include 7 original tracks in diverse styles.

What are you waiting for? More?

Well, stay tuned, *ahem*. You know what I mean.

Photography: Kim Holgate-Ryan

Music makes a glorious comeback

Welcome everyone to this week’s blog entry: as usual it’s a collection of musings on life, development work, music, art, and friends in wonderful Morocco. I’d hoped to have posted some snippets of poetry, photos and thoughts for you during the week, but as usual my busy schedule seems to have gotten in the way! Rest assured though that as long as you keep reading and commenting I will make every effort to share with you more regularly the wonderful goings on here…To this, I’m really enjoying your feedback (both on the blog and via email)! It’s always an encouragement for me to know I have your readership, so if you feel like making a comment or starting a conversation, please do!

Well this week you may be pleased to hear that I have finally taken my guitar out and introduced it to everyone at the centre. As I had mentioned briefly at the end of my last post, my unintentionally secret “other life” was let out of the bag by Iqbal, who had gathered a veritable crowd around her computer last week to cheer on a video of me performing at my CD launch in March. I walked in on the boisterous throng to screams of “Artiste! Artiste! Enchanté! Enchanté!” and many extended arms. I’m not really sure why it took this glorious affirmation to convince me that the poor old forgotten thing had been gathering dust for too long. Thankfully, it forgave me straight away, greeting everyone with its usual warmth and friendliness and making immediate friends. I’ve spent the last four working days giving impromptu performances all over the place: for the children, staff and of course our many visitors. I must say it really feels so good to be playing again, and even better that I have an attentive audience. I hadn’t realised that it’s actually been over two months since I’ve played properly…I’ve really been missing it!

Hilariously, as seems often to be the case here, it has been arranged, and I have been told, that this week I will be giving a ‘very, very exciting’ concert with a Moroccan Oud player (who incidentally is also a teacher at the school where we painted the mural), Abdellah Lamine. This concert will be a celebration of both traditional and modern music, and, if other musical events I have happened upon here are anything to go by, it promises to be a lot of fun. I’m envisaging we’ll be helped along by some of the kids from the centre who are talented djembe players, and by the remaining kids and adults who will make for a more-than-adequate back up dance troupe! I’m very excited, and even more so as I plan to use my powers of persuasion to convince Abdellah to teach me the Oud!

As I write this, I have just come back from the hammam (see last week’s entry) and once again am feeling considerably relaxed. Unfortunately, over the last week I was also bitten by a small army of mosquitoes and fleas (I will not be patting dogs in the street anymore). Actually, I probably enjoyed the fierce scrubbing at hammam more than usual today for this very reason. Despite the annoyance, I do enjoy the fact that the vectors are not infectors and I can thus get bitten all I like without contracting malaria, dengue fever, or any other form of horrible life threatening disease. Bonus!

It’s just a short entry tonight, as it’s dinner time now, and I plan to write a separate update on work tomorrow. Lots has been going on, with some really positive progress – though of course not without challenges!

But for now…a delicious Moroccan lentil soup which I must get the recipe for, and lots of delicious Middle Eastern yoghurt which is impossibly cheap. I have genuinely cleaned out the fridge of my man who owns the shop next door. Needless to say he finds it quite amusing!

Bisous,

Briony

And it begins…

So I’ve finally got a blog. I say finally because I think I’ve always vaguely wanted one, I just haven’t been able to admit it to myself until now for fear that my dignity and political persuasions be swallowed up by the behemoth popular culture. That, and there are some pretty bloody good ones out there. I read these from time to time before shutting my computer in disgust. While this one might not be able to compete at that level, I’ve given up the attempt to analyse why I have an urge to be part of something trendy and popular on the internet even though it is fundamentally weird, and I’m just going to put my two cents in. Here it is. What I hope the blog will actually achieve or inspire in its readers, as well as an explanation of its name, is available on the ‘about me’ page. I hope you enjoy reading it, and if it’s rubbish, I enjoyed writing it!

I’m in Morocco. I’ve been here for two days, and I’ll be here for another five months. I’m in a small, sleepy and dusty town called Taroudannt at the entrance to the Sous Valley, about one hour east of Agadir, and four hours from Marrakesh. My lungs are already filled with dust, and I’m starting to wonder if there isn’t a practical reason women veil their faces. Nevertheless the place has a lovely positive air about it, and the men are smiley and friendly rather than leery and creepy which means I am clearly winning.

As many of you reading this will no doubt be aware, I am here to volunteer with the London-based not-for-profit organisation the Moroccan Children’s Trust and its local Moroccan partner organisation, Groupe Maroc Horizons. I will be assisting with the establishment of a program for women, and will be attempting to set up a music program at the organisation’s centre for children who would otherwise be living or working on the street. I have already visited the centre twice and it is just buzzing with life. I am sure the children will be where I find the magic here. I will be writing more about the development of these two initiatives, and about my time at the centre, as the blog goes on.

In order to fund my time on the project, I have relied on the generosity of friends, family and strangers, to whom I express my deepest gratitude. This blog is largely for you. I also recorded, launched and continue to sell my debut, self-titled album of seven original songs. During my time here I hope to write many more, and so will try to blog on the progress of my personal musical meanderings as well; I have no doubt my time here will be ample inspiration for that! Feel free to visit the ‘my music’ page if you’re interested in finding out more about this, and for those who’ve bought or listened to the album (or the few tracks I’ve popped up on http://www.myspace.com/brionymackenzie) I’d love to hear any feedback you may have.

To the interesting stuff, then. I am living with a local family whilst in Taroudannt. The house has wifi (thank you!) and is absolutely enormous. There is enough food daily to feed an army (we average five meals), and enough couch space to seat one. Frankly the couches baffle me but since I’m burning them (figuratively anyway) I won’t lose any sleep over this (I will say though that I do find the juxtaposition between the concept of this blog and the sheer number of couches in this house slightly amusing).

There are other things apart from couches if you look hard. There is a lovely garden, filled with fresh herbs and fruit trees which are used in our food and tea daily. The food is incredible, and the ‘Moroccan wine’, as one of the brothers in the family calls it, is “just as delicious but actually better because you don’t fall over”.  I must say I do find the hot, sweet, spicy, mint concoction a rather nice substitute for the alcoholic stuff, and he’s right – I haven’t fallen over yet. God, I’m going to be so clean and Zen – if I knew myself I’m sure I would hate me!

There are a number of staff from the London office here at the moment as well: two lovely girls, Rosie and Livia, as well as another volunteer, Matthew, who will be staying for six weeks. Matthew is a primary school teacher and artist, and comes to the centre after running a one week, 250km marathon on sand across the Moroccan desert. For some reason he projects a good deal more sanity than the decision to participate in the race – and more to the point, the decision to finish it – suggests. Two of his toenails fell off last night, but he looks forward to a day soon when he “will be able to wear sandals without socks again”. Hurrah!

More to come soon.

xx Briony