Rising jazz Chanteuse Kimba Griffith is lauded for her gift of drawing out the intricacies of a song’s deeper story; she makes her debut at the Melbourne Cabaret Festival with the full theatrical rendering of a project she has been developing over some years.
From her first performance at the Melbourne Recital Centre, to a further blooming at the Wangaratta Jazz Festival in 2016, this version presents the work as it was always intended — a theatrical and darkly sensitive rendering of iconic songs from the alternative rock and grunge era of the 1990’s, backed by some of Australia’s most celebrated improvisational jazz musicians, full of story, sadness and the bawdy humour Kimba is known for.
The Songs That Saved Your Life is the shadow side of Kimba’s gift for captivating storytelling through the lyric and melody of a tune. The chrysalis for this lyrical facility came from far outside the jazz canon during Kimba’s pent-up teenage years in small-town Canberra. This collection of seminal tunes is gathered from artists including The Smiths, Nirvana, The Violent Femmes, and the filmic soundtracks to David Lynch films.
This repertoire reflects the teenage angst that many artists never quite reconcile, drawing on themes of escape and an attraction to the shadow sides of art, music and relationships.
Joining Kimba to explore these iconic indie rock tunes through the lens of jazz are some of Australia’s most celebrated improvising musicians (Julien Wilson, sax; Niko Schauble, drums; Ryan Griffith, guitar, Tamara Murphy, bass). Direction assistance by Melinda Hetzel.
The result is a thrilling collection of sensitive and clear-voiced vocals backed by the wild meandering power of jazz improvisation, spoken word and monologue and fragments of nostalgia with the verve and freedom of original music.
Audience members can also request songs ahead of time, interact with Kimba and can submit their mixed tapes, journal pages, and artwork from their formative years via her side project www.teenagejournals.com
Kimba is Melbourne based and available for interview.
Melbourne Cabaret Festival, Tuesday 19 June until Sunday 1 July at Chapel off Chapel, 12 Little Chapel St, Prahran. www.melbournecabaret.com