Lismore, Ballina, and Tintenbar

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11/21- 11/22 Lismore, Ballina, Tintenbar
Getting out of Nimbin was a bit more difficult than we expected as there are no buses on the weekend, just an afternoon shuttle that was running too late for us. So we had our first hitchhiking experience. It took about an hour with our thumbs out to get out of Nimbin.

We were picked up by a local character (name withheld to protect the innocent) in a 'ute' (Aussie for small utility truck). He told us that he grew weed and cared for a disabled woman to earn his living, but he said what he did was research conspiracy theories. Needless to say it was a humorous 40 minute ride back to Lismore. Unlike most Aussies we've spent time with, he was very supportive of America's gun culture, and said, “Man, if I lived there I'd have myself an uzi!” It was a bit hard to tell if he was serious, “Oh yeah, Obama's definitely a Muslim. Actually he's a clone of Akhenaten (ancient Egyptian emperor 1300s BC, Nefertiti's husband, and king Tut's father). Just look at his wife, and he also had two girls just like Obama. Why was he so upset? 'Cause his mummy was his daddy.” Aliens came into his rant somewhere, I forget exactly where though.

We saved a lot of time and money on that leg of the journey, so we decided to hitch a ride to our next destination. We got a ride with a relaxed (and more normal) retired surfer bloke named Paul. He gave us a ride to the quaint seaside town of Ballina. He showed us around the area and drove us past 'The Big Prawn' that was our second of the many 'bigs' scattered around Australia. The first was outside of Kangaroo Valley in a town called Robertson. 

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We met Peter Lino in Ballina. He's a wonderful music community builder in the area and a really nice guy. He arranged a show for me at Tintenbar Hall, a rural community gathering center and music venue in the north of New South Wales. He's got a new website called Home Made Jam, dedicated to connecting music lovers with artists and promoting the wonderful concept of house concerts. It's actually surprising how many people are unfamiliar with the idea of bringing musicians into their living room or backyard and giving a concert for their friends and family. It's absolutely my favorite type of performance.

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Peter helped hook us up with accommodation while we were in the area with Anne and Laurie, a couple who run a bed and breakfast not far from the venue. They are fantastic people who spent years living in an aboriginal community on the Tiwi Islands just off the northern coast. They gave us rooms and several meals in exchange for a few tickets to the show. Unfortunately, with a big music festival down the road and the Moscow Circus in town, there weren't many people at the show, but it was magic nonetheless. I try to play to the audience's interest if possible, and with the wide variety of music I write and perform it's relatively easy to do. While in Belgrave I was drawing comparisons to German Cabaret, but this audience really enjoyed my folky, singer-songwriter material and compared me to John Denver. Coincidentally, I had rehearsed “Annie's Song” for the occasion!

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Peter recorded video of me performing my second cover song of the afternoon (which is closer to the cabaret style) Andrew Bird's “Candy Shop.”

Samantha Chappell