FEET bare and faces painted, Barefeet Sojourns is an eclectic mix of musicians hailing from as many countries as there are band members.
“Not one of us is Australian, but we all met here in Fremantle,” Sari Bednarska says.
Born in Poland, raised in Germany and now living in Freo, Bednarska plays melodica (a hand-held blow organ), accordion, and tambourine
She’s the band’s singer and lyricists, sharing song-writing with Nagi Aozora, who hails from Japan.
“We are not into covers,” Bednarska says, adding there’s plenty of input to the songs and arrangements from the rest of the band: “We work together to make it compact.”
All members live in and around the port city, including Balinese-born Ekka TimeBom, bass guitarist, “who plays like a true rock star,” Bednarska beams.
Saxophonist and clarinet player Simone Monaco is the newest addition, having arrived from Italy and putting the word on Gumtree he was looking for a band to join.
With a raft of musical experiences and influences, “he not only adds his optimistic spirit…but also depth, richness, funk and sexy tunes”.
Every reggae, gypsy, funk or ska band needs a real islander and Hardy Perrine fits the bill, the drummer hailing from Rodrigues, near Mauritius.
“He has a smile brighter than the Mauritus sun and his hands must have super powers,” Bednarska says.
Percussionist Odai Daniel Affotey learnt to play under the guidance of Ghanaian elders aged 12.
He was invited to travel to the US with Nii Tettey Tetteh, with his high-profile performance group the Kusun ensemble.
Katia Marsala is the band’s Italian dancer: “she moves gracefully and it’s hard to take your eyes off her,” Bednarska says.
The group is set to launch its new album Detour, named for the varying paths the members took to be where and who they are.
“The message on a large scale is that really — life is one big detour — we can never be entirely sure of what’s ahead of us,” Bednarska says.
With more than 20 people on stage as support acts, Detour will be launched with an electric buzz at Mojos, North Fremantle, Sunday May 8, doors open 5pm. Tix $15 at the door.
by JENNY D’ANGER