Space (Luck) Sphere Meet freak-folk ‘viola gypsy’ Anni M Fables
Space (Luck) Sphere
Meet freak-folk ‘viola gypsy’ Anni M Fables
“I had such gargantuan hands, maybe I should play viola instead!”
By Ian Browne Shamrock News
In the ‘Other Joint Café’ in Mullumbimby, after their gig there during the Mullumbimby Music Festival, I sat down with Anni-M-Fables, and her friend, Canadian Blues storyteller Scott Cook. More on this fella later…watch this sphere!
I love Anni’s CD 'Space (Luck) Sphere', the title itself reminds me of one of my favourite bands: Scotland’s Cocteau Twins. Anni’s fascinating music wanders along a truly creative Indie pathway. I’d like to suggest that Anni is a true ‘viola gypsy’, her music cries out ‘gypsy cabaret’. Playful, at times melancholy, the music; her voice itself, will surprise. Guests appear to delight with vocal harmonies, along with drums, tenor sax, banjo, organ and ‘toy piano’. A yearning viola forever leads the voyage; classical in songs like ‘3 Days’; hillbilly hoedown for ‘Alien’.
This weapon of wizardry in hand as if stalling for a while, reluctant to pack her life-line away after it brought so much pleasure to those enjoying the musical treat, Anni gave me the warmest of smiles, as both she and Scott joined me for a chat on the lounge. Finding familiarity in the human journey, Anni expressed her love of the tropical NW of this continent:
“I lived in Halls Creek in the Kimberley for six months. It’s like another world, I loved it! Being among other languages, I felt like an alien. My time there was very special to me. I would love to travel Indigenous communities workshopping and mentoring kids in music, my dream job! ”
Anni M Fables
You were born in Tasmania, but where do you call home now?
Currently this glorious Byron Shire.
How has a life growing up in Tasmania influenced the sound of Anni M Fables today?
How would you describe this sound?
Tasmania has strong traditional folk roots and these sounds have somehow crept from my childhood into melodies like those in “Alien”. Then there are blues elements in my vocal harmonies which trace back to my very first experience improvising, over blues progressions with my brother. Classical harmony also shows up in my instrumental arrangements, reflecting all those years of academic study. I usually describe the music I play as indie-folk, or more specifically freak-folk. It has a storytelling core and is basically acoustic, though the melodies, progressions and rhythms involved can span an odd variety of genres.
What genres and their artists inspire you?
All kinds of genres. I’ve been inspired by Patti Smith, Sharon Jones, Django Reinhardt & Stephane Grappelli, Antony and the Johnsons, Bob Dylan, Béla Fleck, Buffy Sainte Marie, Nick Cave & Warren Ellis, Jeff Buckley, Leonard Cohen, Gurrumul, Bonnie Raitt, St Vincent and Mazzy Star, to name a few.
‘Space (Luck) Sphere’ was recorded by Blake MacKay at Adanac Sound in Vancouver. What is your association with Canada?
Initially my association with Canada was a dear travel friend I met 10 years ago in Capetown. In 2014 I travelled to Alberta to catch up with her. I ended up staying for 3 years instead of 3 months, discovering a wondrous musical community in British Columbia and creating Space (Luck) Sphere along the way.
Your use of viola is both beautiful and varied. When did you first begin playing viola and why did you embark on this journey?
Thank you! Well when I was 12 or 13 years old and about two lessons into an illustrious career as a violinist, my sweet teacher opportunistically suggested that because I had such gargantuan hands maybe I should play viola instead. After many subsequent years playing the most uneventful parts in many orchestras I finally decided that instead I was going to play exactly what and how I wanted to. This began a new leg of my musical journey - working out how exactly to create the sounds in my mind.
What lay in the nuts-n-bolts of the song Alien? Where was this idea born?
The seed for this song was a little trouble I had with border security entering a certain country one day. Around the same time that dinosaur Abbott was penning a bunch of legislation in Australia including data retention and the anti-terrorism bill and respect for indigenous peoples remained at its usual dismal low. I was inspired by a marvellously fresh and optimistic star child to express my gripes about the state of the world from their perspective.
Within the chorus to 3 Days you are thankful of someone ‘tripping your ego’. Is this a moment in your life that humbled you; calmed the waters, or does it speak of feeling deserted by a loved one?
Yes, greatly humbled. The nature of the ego can be so insidious and slippery, sometimes when you think you’ve got it worked out you’re actually more entangled than ever. It’s such a divine favour to have another human break through your BS and keep you real, however painful that may be.
Where will Space (Luck) Sphere and the future take you to?
Who knows! I’m going to continue to share music at every opportunity, play shows far and wide and fine-tune my skills of expression. A second album is starting to take shape and it will be exciting to see how that project gradually comes to life - I’d love to record in Australia this time around.