At this time of the year the Stereo Stories ensemble is usually deep in rehearsals for what has become a cherished annual concert since 2016: our appearance at Write Around The Murray in Albury each September.
Alas, this year is different. We won’t be heading up the highway and across the border. We won’t be in the delightful performance space that is part of the Albury Library Museum. We won’t be spending downtime in the Albury Botanic Gardens or by the Murray River. But do not despair – we are hoping to livestream our WAM show from Melbourne, late in the year.
The promo clip above features footage from our 2017 and 2019 shows at Albury. (The photo collages are from our 2018 show at Williamstown Literary Festival.)
Stereo Stories became part of WAM in 2016, after Wangaratta musician and Stereo Stories band member Luke Davies recommended the show to festival director Ann-maree Ellis.
Ann-maree, in turn, introduced the Stereo Stories concept – a piece of performance writing based around ‘a song, a place, a time’ – to various festival writers. Since that first show, which included Anson Cameron revealing his role in a broken friendship and Debra Oswald making light of writing episodes of Bananas In Pyjamas, the Stereo Stories band has shared the WAM stage with Jane Harrison, Young Philly (Phillip Murray), Tony Birch, Emily Maguire, Danny Katz, Chris Hammer, Torre de Roche, Arnold Zable, Toni Jordan, and Melanie Mununggurr-Williams.
As Chris Hammer said before his 2018 story, “It’s not often an author has a backing band!”
You can now revisit and read some of the stories that have been presented at WAM.
Anson Cameron, 2016
Anson’s searching personal story about the fate and price of friendship was augmented by Jack Gramski’s performance of the Kill Devil Hills’ song Words From Robin to Batman.
“Our thirty-year-friendship lives somewhere. So I play the song to reincarnate it for five-and-a-half minutes, to regret its death… and to turn the knife in the wound. I play it as if he’s hearing it. As if it’s a letter from me to him… words from Robin to Batman. But I don’t play it much anymore.”
Emily Maguire, 2017
Emily entertained the WAM audience with her tale of teenage desire for Jim Morrison, of The Doors.
“My room is a shrine: Jim posters on every wall, Jim’s poetry books scattered across the floor and Jim’s voice coming from my tape deck every moment. I write quotes of his all over my school bag and books, all over my arms and legs. My friends quickly tire of my obsession. One tells me I should talk to her dad since he loves old- fashioned soft rock too. I am furious.”
Torre took the WAM audience across the Pacific Ocean in a love-gone-wrong story, via the Ben Lee song Gamble Everything For Love.
“In between French Polynesia and Tonga, the engine broke. The winds died, leaving us adrift, and it was then that the boat sprung leaks in two places. As our boat haemorrhaged the Pacific Ocean into our home, my captain stuck his finger into the hole and stood there looking bewildered and a touch embarrassed.”
The 2020 Write Around The Murray Festival will be online from Wednesday 9 September to Sunday 13 September. Here’s the program!