Menaka Thomas came through BEMAC’s professional development opportunities and has since sold out two shows at the QMC.

She recently attended Wild Mountains Songs, a mid-career high calibre songwriters retreat held on Mununjali Country in the Scenic Rim region of Queensland. As part of the project, Menaka delivered a workshop to the other 11 participants using her knowledge as a classical Indian singer to teach the songwriters about the different timings used in Classical Indian music. One participant noted “Menaka’s workshop is the single best piece of musical education I’ve ever experienced”. Menaka also collaborated with two new co-writers, Isaac Conomos / mou (Brisbane) and traditional folk songwriter Karen Law (Sunshine Coast) to produce two new works, we look forward to hearing these songs in the not so distant future.  Wild Mountains Songs is supported by the Australia Council for the Arts, APRA AMCOS and the Wild Mountains Trust.

Menaka appears on 30 April at Holland Park Library for BEMAC as part of the Songs Of Our Homelands ongoing showcase series.

Menaka says, “Initially, I was slightly nervous about the weekend, I realised I was carrying self-doubt in my capacity to songwrite alongside established, multi-instrumentalist artists from all genres of music. My goal for the weekend was to be able to walk away with more confidence as a songwriter and to challenge the self-critic that was already rearing its head even before I started.

The experience was rewarding as it showed me that I have the capacity to collaborate alongside artists from contrasting and varying musical genres, and create something meaningful, and memorable. I was humbled that the fellow musicians were curious and welcoming of my particular way of using the voice and open to learning more about the tradition of music that I grew up with.

A highlight of the weekend was the opportunity to present a short workshop on Indian vocal technique and rhythm. The retreat participants engaged in the workshop so enthusiastically and one vocalist even incorporated a learnt vocal technique into one of her new songs!

All in all, a truly unique opportunity to connect with fellow creatives, disconnect from the busy-ness of everyday life and create new musical experiences.”

photographer is Jen Quodling
Instagram @jelighlightly

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We love music and art. We believe it has the power to transform lives and communities. It brings people together, dissolves barriers and teleports us into distant lands by leading us into the very soul of culture.