Kookatha/ Gunditjmara Clan
I’m not familiar with the music of Dave
Arden at all. However doing a bit of
research – and this time not on the net because my internet connection has been
down for a fortnight – I found that he’s been around the music scene for a
number of years, appearing on recordings of Shane Howard, Tonchi, Ruby Hunter,
Archie Roach and Tiddas.
As far as I can
make out this is first recording and it’s an admirable effort. He has written all the 11 tracks or
co-written several with other musicians such as Andy Alberts, Kutcha Edwards,
A. North and J. Reece.
Arden has a warm voice, and throughout it
is restrained, laidback, although because of the sympathetic production, his
voice is always out front, and not buried among the instruments. Shane Howard
and David share the production duties.
Almost all of the songs are about Arden’s
relationships with his family, tribe and clan and being a Gunditjmara Man. The strongest track is probably the title
track which leads off the album. It is a
gently rollicking shuffle. “So Young” is
a ballad, “I see I Hear” is a slow number featuring the swell of an organ
played by Bruce Haymes. Track 4, “Live
in two Worlds” is almost upbeat and gradually builds up to a musical climax,
and features Arden’s almost soulful voice. Another strong song from the album, is the reggae-ish “One Step
Forward”; “For this is Life” is written in a country vein, while “Don’t Say it
Isn’t So” begins with a piano solo and later features an acoustic guitar solo!
Unfortunately some of the latter songs on
the album get a bit lost, sounding a bit the same. It’s an interesting
challenge to find out where some of the stellar backing musicians appear: names
such as Bart Willoughby, Shane Howard playing mandolin; Rose Bygrave, Ewen
Baker on fiddle, and Helen Mountford on cello.
An impressive debut.
This product was added to our catalog on Tuesday 08 July, 2008.