Gordon Koang plays live

He also recorded an album last year, although he hasn’t seen much revenue yet. But he tries not to dwell on that side of things.

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“Music is part of life. If you put money in your mind, sometimes the music can be lost.

His record company encouraged him to perform on Zoom to promote the album, but he found the video conferencing app frustrating, not only because he needed someone to come and help him get set up every time. times.

“You don’t know if people can see you. They don’t scream, they don’t scream. If they dance in their houses, you don’t know. You get bored when you play your music.

“But when people get together in an audience… you hear them. They say ‘ah, Gordon, play another one! Play it again!’ So you know they love it.

Resuming rehearsals this week, for Friday’s Melbourne International Jazz Festival show, was his first time on stage in many months – quite a tumble after a 2019 that saw sold-out Australian shows, Meredith and Strawberry Fields, and the Levi’s Music Prize at GRAND SON! (this year he is nominated for the Amplify Award from Music Victoria).

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He’s got an hour and he’s going to squeeze as much as possible into the set: three songs in English, two in Arabic, five in his native Nuer language from the Nile Valley, where he grew up.

The truncated and focused Melbourne International Jazz Festival is packed with more than 70 live shows and events by Sunday. Artistic Director Michael Tortoni said “the great Louis Armstrong said ‘music is life itself’ and I’m so excited to bring Melbourne back to life.”

Gordon Koang’s music and merch can be found on his Bandcamp page. It performs Friday, December 3 at 5 p.m. at the Footscray Night Market. Find and book jazz festival performances at melbournejazz.com

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Willie J. Johnson