Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

A Well-Organised Muso

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

A Well-Organised Muso

Article excerpt


BRIAN Ritchie will notice things many other musicians wouldn't while he's at this month's Woodford Folk Festival.

The Violent Femmes bass player has been the curator of Hobart's internationally acclaimed Mona Foma (MoFo) festival for the past five years.

"It has been an interesting life trying to be a curator and a musician, but they kind of balance each other out in a way," Ritchie told APN.

"It means we work harder than we have to but it's worth it. At first I hesitated to become a curator for a festival.

"I thought, 'I play at festivals. I don't create festivals'.

"But you can shape the dialogue with an audience. You can shape the story in an abstract way."

The Milwaukee native moved to Hobart with his wife Varuni Kulasekera six years ago. They first visited the Apple Isle in 1996 when Dr Kulasekera was sent to collect insects for the American Museum of Natural History.

Since the move, Ritchie has been separated from his Femmes bandmates, original lead singer Gordon Gano and drummer Brian Viglione.

This month they are reuniting for three shows to celebrate their 30th anniversary.

The American rock band is best known for the coming-of-age hit Blister in the Sun but also found success with Gone Daddy Gone, Add It Up and American Music.

"For a band that is basically located in the Northern Hemisphere to come to Australia in December and January, well, it wasn't hard to persuade the Femmes guys to come down here," Ritchie said.

The first show is on the opening night of the Woodford Folk Festival, which Ritchie has played twice with Aussie surf band The Break.

"It's a music and community festival without any overriding commercial thing," he said.

"When we were just performers, we'd just see everything from a self-centred point of view. …

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