Dumbo Feather Issue 67

Dumbo Feather is an iconic Australian magazine. Published quarterly for seven years, and hailed around the world as a design leader, it is a magazine like no other. Our readers are people who want to be told a different story than the one they hear every day. Each quarterly issue features five extended (20 page) profiles of people worth knowing, across enterprise, education, science, sport, politics, fashion and the arts. Whether they’ve touched millions, or just those around them, we take the time to get to know these people, and ask them to tell us their stories.

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3 Edities

in deze editie

4 min

Dear friend, One of my favourite stories in our family is of my grandmother, who, having been a cook and homemaker to her farmer husband and four farmer sons for the first 20 years of married life, decided to take off the apron for a couple of hours and respond to a call-out in the paper to audition for a nearby opera company. Suddenly, her bright, soaring voice – which was only ever heard around the home or at church –was filling theatres, taking on Verdi and Puccini. During the day she’d continue her domestic caregiving, and at a night she’d embrace her inner diva, letting her whole body enter a dramatic conversation with the music. She’d come off stage enlivened and at peace, this bigger, clearer version of herself. It…

2 min
the dawn chorus

PROSPER & PLEASURE Male songbirds sing to guard territory and allure females for breeding. Springtime is the liveliest, the mating season for many. But some believe birds perform more than what’s necessary for procreation – like humans, they appreciate music and beauty, and also sing for joy. HEARING SUNRISE The dawn chorus peaks an hour before and after sunrise. Studies suggest this is because foraging is harder during dimness so singing is a better use of the birds’ time. Also, singing passionately after surviving the night exhibits vitality, and the lack of wind at this time means songs sound clearer, thus they are easier to identify. EVOKING AWE Describing a jungle paradise losing its peace to rising tourism, nature-sound recordist Gordon Hempton said, “There is a problem with being a sightseer only… The picture is…

6 min
bonded by song

I was raised in a devout Catholic Maltese family, which meant church every Sunday morning was a non-negotiable. There were a few things that got me excited about this weekly event: 1. Dressing up. 2. Dressing up while my big sisters were also dressing up. 3. Feeling like a bit of a big deal because my brothers and sisters were in the church band. Well, they were the church band. They brought a certain Maltese/gospel/rock sensibility to our multicultural little parish in the western suburbs of Melbourne (Wathaurong Country). 4. Singing. Every week. With pretty much everyone I knew in the whole world, in a huge reverberating space. Our voices becoming a mesh of something that didn’t exist when we sang alone. I was hooked from an early age, a faithful believer. I would scramble to…

3 min
an ode to the oud

The oud is the signature sound of the Middle East – a joyful instrument that also invokes a lot of nostalgia, often making people cry. The oud is beauty, emotion and memory all at the same time. The string instrument can be traced back 5000 years in Mesopotamia, and has travelled throughout the whole of the Middle East. Every region has a unique way of playing it. In the year 711, a musician from Baghdad named Ziryab travelled with the oud from the Middle East through North Africa and into Spain. Soon it was adopted by musicians throughout Europe who put frets on and divided it into two semitones, making it the lute. During the Baroque era, the lute evolved into string instruments such as the mandolin and the guitar. The oud…

3 min
for love of the beat!

Boom bop ba bing boom bop ca da! I was born in Iran to Persian and Mauritian parents, and when I was young we fled the Iranian Revolution. Fortunately, it meant that I grew up in Australia, gifting me the freedom to be a performer and use music for communication and engaging community. One of the first songs I composed in creole, my mother tongue, was “En bas las bas,” which translates to, “I’ll meet you there, down there” – a saying you hear in Mauritius between locals when giving vague directions to meet up. This song speaks about the first rocks that were ever beaten together percussively to make the first sounds, and how I’ll meet you there, down there – back in time, where music was first made. Where…

3 min
singing the sun up

The first instrument I learned to play was the piano. I was four. All of the kids in my family began our musical training with the piano. Mum was committed to us having a well-rounded education, and music was a big part of that. This particular piano had travelled all the way from Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea – where it had belonged to my mother’s father – to our home in Sydney. It was a story in itself. My musical journey was as much my mother’s journey as it was mine. She never had any formal musical training, but she has a great voice and a natural affinity for music. Mum’s family comes from Papua New Guinea and from Saibai Island in the Torres Strait, and she grew up…