This was the first time I ever played the Guzheng live on stage. I had two days to rehearse so I focused, intently, and made sure I got what I needed. I began to explore the Guzheng’s limitations, its features and eventually solved the puzzle. The result is this moderately sufficient improvisation.
On Wednesday 27th November my colleague Dr Holly Harrison and I performed two new pieces at the annual Composers and Performers Out West concert series. It was a delightful evening of diverse music and performances.
So thrilled to announce that I will be presenting a lecture at the Altamira Hong Kong International Guitar Symposium in July 2019. Even more exciting is the theme of this years conference, this being, improvisation. Colleagues who know me well, understand how dear improvisation is to me. Both on a spiritual level and in my academic life. The wonderful thing about improvisation is the fleeting quality it presents. You can hold on to one single chord, one idea. Then you can play with the inversions, omit chord tones and run the gamut between diatonic and chromatic harmony. There’s so much that can be done, because the standard 32-64 measures doesn’t necessarily apply here. Sometimes, this is a mirror of life, where one takes risks, falls down and gets back up again. However, for me, as I get older I am becoming a lot more empathetic towards the audience. Previously, I had no desire to please the general public. Although, sincerely, I was only being true to my art and I achieved this by being dead serious. Both on stage and in the practice room. Some are fortunate to have had musical training and others are usually self taught. I began my musical journey as a self taught musician, but I have become even more stronger since studying composition at university. If we train ourselves (musically), even feed ourselves with musical concepts, this will give us the patience to investigate improvisation and pedagogies. Therefore enabling us the ability to communicate our intentions as well as creating a relevant dialogue with the audience and inner voice. Our musical voice.
September 28th Better Read Than Dead Newtown NSW 6:30PM
I will be joining Melbourne poet Luke Beesley as he launches his new book ‘Aqua Spinach’. We will be doing a couple of improvised pieces. Be there!
In fact, here’s a video from the launch.
Album Launch ‘Scout’
Joseph Tabua: Electric Guitar
Holly Harrison: Drums
Ryzard Dabek: Projections
Location: Junction 142 Katoomba NSW
Filmed by Go Pro attached to guitar stand
Second Half of this concert coming soon
On the 18th of August my duo Tabua-Harrison that features Holly Harrison on Drums and myself on Electric Guitar performed at the University of Tasmania Conservatorium of Music. It was our final destination of the tour to support our brand new improvised music album titled ‘Scout’. Joining Tabua-Harrison throughout the CD launches were fellow Pyschopyjama label mates Espadrille. A week before this both bands appeared at Johnston Street Jazz in Annandale and Junction 142 in Katoomba. Overall it was a delightful experience and there were many highs and some lows. Sydney Morning Herald’s John Shand gave Tabua-Harrison and Espadrille three and a half stars for their Annandale show.
“My personal preference was to listen to the music with closed eyes. The more brutal the music the better it was”. John Shand
It can be hard sometimes to find your place. My musical voice has jazz sensitivity, funk, metal, gospel, classical and world music influences. Especially when I think about harmony. Still, there’s another side of me that wants to be loud and ferocious. In fact, I want to be all of these things. So, outsiders might perceive this cultural omnivourous concept as a problem. I use this omnivourous preference as a way to assert identity. Some people may be confused, if not confronted by improvised and experimental music. However, it is my truth and if I do what is expected and take the easy road, well, then, I have failed. There’s a common expression I continuously keep hearing. That being, ‘You’re too loud for this jazz club’. ‘I’m sorry you’re a bit too jazzy (experimental) for us mainstream folk’. Nevertheless, I am motivated by the American composer and jazz pianist Theolonius Monk who once said: “I say, play your own way. Don’t play what the public wants. You play what you want and let the public pick up on what you’re doing? Even, if it takes them fifteen to twenty years”.
Enter the world of composer, guitarist, improviser Joseph Tabua
Title: Half Ocean Half Sky
Genre: Rock, Experimental, Avant-Garde, Solo Instrumental
Available on all digital platforms:
Here is a brand new piece titled ‘The Robot’. It’s inspired by one of my favourite English writers and philosophers Colin Wilson. Interestingly, Colin Wilson’s body of work deals with themes relating to the heights and depths of consciousness. So, I put forward, have you ever driven home from work and upon arrival, you come to the realisation and ask yourself, how did I get here? Again, how did I manage to drive home after such an exhausting day? Honestly, I can’t remember! Did I actually drive through a red light? Well, there’s no need to panic because the robot has taken over for that mundane task. However, it’s crucial that the robot doesn’t take over the things we enjoy doing. That is, swimming in the ocean, going to the art gallery, spending time with your partner, and attending concerts. I wrestle with the robot most days, surprisingly, the robot is most welcome when I have to do the dishes right after dinner most nights.
Nevertheless, hopefully, this will tide you over until I finish my solo LP ‘Half Ocean Half Sky’.
On the 27th of January 2018 I performed a solo show on Guzheng and Electronics at 107 Projects Redfern as part of the Now now series. The NOW now is Australia’s longest running festival of spontaneous music, experimental sound and outlier performance. Now, here is a short clip from the concert.