Friday, July 17th, 2009
RENOWNED as one of Western Australia’s favourite live bands, Blue Shaddy is taking its unique mix of surf-funk and roots to Fremantle on July 24 and Scarborough on July 25.

Fresh from successful tours of the east coast, playing major music festivals in New South Wales and Queensland, and a South West tour earlier this year, the band is ready to deliver its raw, infectious energy Perth audiences.

Playing a mix of groove-laden bass, rhythm harmonica, acoustic and lapslide guitars and world drumming and percussion – matched with heartfelt vocals – Blue Shaddy is riding on the success of several accolades in the past two years.

After receiving the best instrumentalist award in the 2007 Blues at Broadbeach Awards, the band was named the 2007 MusicOz Blues & Roots Artist and then reached number one on the Perth indie charts in May 2008.

Since releasing the group’s fourth album Bury My Ghost early last year, ABC Music has also picked up the song Wagtail.

“Bury my Ghost took us in many new directions,” singer-songwriter and guitarist Jim McClelland said. “We really tried to push the boundaries and, at the same time, not lose our musical roots”.

Blue Shaddy is something of a family affair with Jim’s wife Sandra on bass and brother Belly on harmonica – and all were born and bred in WA’s Wheatbelt.

Arun Satgunasingam joined the group as drummer, after growing up in Kuala Lumpur immersed in cultural family events. Soaking south Indian rhythms led him to study contemporary percussion and Latin jazz at Perth’s Conservatorium of Music.

“When you listen to Blue Shaddy’s songs you do get a strong sense of where we come from,” Jim said.

Word-of-mouth about Blue Shaddy’s live shows has seen the group continually invited back to play numerous music festivals around the country, including Byron Bay’s East Coast Blues and Roots Festival, the Big Day Out, Fremantle’s West Coast Blues and Roots Festival, Woodford Festival and the Kimberley Moon, Narooma and Broadbeach festivals.

Later this year, the band will venture back into its country farmhouse to record a fifth album with Arun in the producer’s seat, ready to capture more of Blue Shaddy’s distinct sound.

Blue Shaddy plays at Mojo’s in North Fremantle on July 24 and Scarborough’s Indi Bar on July 25 – special guest for both gigs is Mo Wilson Duo.

Tour Dates 2009

8pm, Friday, July 24
Mojo's Bar
237 Queen Victoria Street
North Fremantle
$20 entry
Special guest Mo Wilson Duo

8pm, Saturday, July 25
Indi Bar
27 Hastings St
$20 entry
Special guest Mo Wilson Duo

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Blue Shaddy

Singer/songwriter and guitarist Jim McClelland, his brother Belly (harmonica) and Sandra (bass guitarist and wife of Jim) were born and bred in WA's remote wheat belt – a harshly beautiful environment complete with dust and flies, but with not a lot else to do but focus on their shared love of music. When you listen to Blue Shaddy’s songs you get a strong sense of where these three come from and it is very much apparent that their heart still lies in their country roots.

Arunachala (known simply as Arun) Satgunasingam grew up in Kuala Lumpur, immersed in the sights and sounds of cultural and religious family events, where he would soak up the South Indian rhythms and street beats in a childhood that led him to end up studying at the Conservatorium of Music in Perth, studying contemporary percussion and Latin jazz. Arun has played for artists of the calibre of Michael Franti, Jeff Martin, and acclaimed London beat maker Mark De Clive Lowe.

A chance meeting with Jim McClelland at a local music store in Perth led to Arun filling in for an absent Sandy at a few low-key acoustic gigs. A friendship started, and from this point, Jim and Arun began to craft a new sound for Blue Shaddy – one that infused world beats and contemporary percussion into the Shaddy’s existing blues/ roots sound.

After a couple of years with this line-up and an album later, friend and fellow percussionist Kanchana Karunaratna was invited to add essential percussive elements to the band.

Born in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Kanchana is an exponent of traditional Sri Lankan Folk music. Kanchana has contributed towards promoting traditional Sri Lankan drumming and dancing in Perth as a teacher and choreographer. In 2006 Kanchana promoted a sold out international tour of Sri Lankan folk artists called Rhythms of Sri Lanka. Since relocating to Australia Kanchana has expanded his repertoire by learning West African and Afro Cuban percussion under Melbourne based Master Percussionist Ray Pereira.

Kanchana and Arun share a common knowledge and passion for the rhythms of their ancestors and present day influences. Their talents bring an unmistakable and essential ingredient to the Blue Shaddy sound.
Melanie DeCull
P: 0417 093 800


Surf-funk and roots band play Fremantle and Scarborough gigs


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