Luke Byrnes & The Big Scrub Revival

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National Folk Fellow, Luke Byrnes, has been investigating the musical heritage and folklore of his home in the Northern Rivers – searching the National Library’s oral history and folklore archives to find songs, yarns, tunes, poetry, dance, craft and folk stories collected from the region over the last 80 years. Stylistically Luke has reinterpreted source recordings of solo singers, box-players and fiddlers into contemporary compositions arranged and recorded by the 7-piece string band, The Big Scrub Revival – comprised of Luke Byrnes (Double Dole Stringband, Devil Goat Family String Band, Black Finch), Lucy Mckenzie McHarg (Gusto Gusto, Claire Alleway (Appalachian Heaven, String Theory), Felicity Law (FOTA), Jasper Bell (The Double Dole Stringband), Fraser Ashford, and Patrick Pheasant (The Maes). Rediscovered Northern Rivers songs and tunes from the Library’s collections have revealed a colourful and complicated history defined by a diverse range of people’s relationship to place. From the experiences of the many peoples of the Bundjalung, Gumbaynggirr, Yaegl and Githabul nations; to the first waves of colonisation by squatters and cedar-getters in exploitation of land, people and timber; to the legacy of the Terania Creek Protests and the regions ongoing environmental struggles – Luke’s attempt to ‘tell’ a neat conclusive narrative of the Northern Rivers through music proved as impossible as an attempt to bail out the Clarence with a bucket. Instead, Luke and The Big Scrub Revival present many different pails from the never-ending stream of Northern Rivers stories in hopes of inspiring a richer appreciation for the region’s complex history.

Luke Byrnes & The Big Scrub Revival

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