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LONDON CALLING FOR HEBCELT STAR
12 Jul 2012
As athletes prepare for London 2012 one man is warming up for his Olympic spot by flying to Stornoway to take part in one of Scotland’s premier music festivals.
Australian singer-songwriter Frank Yamma is on track to perform tomorrow (fri) at the award-winning Hebridean Celtic Festival which runs until Saturday based in Stornoway in Lewis.
The following week he will be on stage at the BT River of Music Festival, one of the main entertainment events being held ahead of the Games, before he appears at the world music WOMAD festival in Wiltshire.
“I’m very excited about the (Olympic) event”, said Frank, who comes from the Australian central desert. “I was in the UK last year for the City of London Festival and had a really great time.
“I’m also looking forward to coming to Scotland. It is really exciting to play on the other side of the world. It will be a different experience for me and good to explore that part of the world.
“Parts of Scotland seem a little bit like the desert I come from - big skies and country. I get quite a few people from Scotland contacting me on my Facebook site and I get the impression the Scottish people love their singer songwriters so I am hoping for a warm reception.”
He believes his songs, which have their roots in the culture of the indigenous Australian people, will have a particular resonance with the island audience.
“I come with no frills; I live the life I sing about...songs about life in the desert, the plight of my people and their land. But I like my gigs to be good fun and laid back as well so don’t think it is too dark.
“Indigenous Australians have a lot in common with the Scottish people. Our history runs parallel in many ways - having to fight oppressive governments looking to wipe out our people and culture and way of life.
“I think also that as a people we both love and rely on our songs and storytelling to pass down the wisdom of the ages and retain our cultural in our heart. Indigenous culture is retained in its 'songlines' .
“We have both struggled and battled over the years to keep our culture true and we are still struggling to hold that culture together”.
Frank first appeared on stage at the age of 11 with his father, Isaac, and his music has since allowed him to travel the world and play with a host of international stars. Last year he played on the same bill at Bob Dylan, Grace Jones and Elvis Costello at the Byron Bay Bluesfest in Australia and this year performed at the National Folk Festival in Canberra in front of 52,000 people.
“Everything that is happening for me I find amazing. I grew up in the desert camps and never in my wildest dreams expected to be travelling the world singing my songs”, he said.
Ahead of HebCelt, he says he is looking forward to seeing The Waterboys, who headline the event along with the Proclaimers and Kassidy: “I like the edgy roots Scottish folk sound and I really like to discover new music so I will be looking forward to some great new music experiences.”
However, part of his experiences will not be learning Gaelic despite his interest in language: “I speak five indigenous dialects, but as I will only be in Scotland for a few days I think it will have to remain a mystery to me.”
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