One of my aims in creating a blog is to celebrate the work of intercultural musicians fostering global change through music, and to provide inspiration and practical advice for other musicians. Sydney-based singer, radio presenter, multi-talented artist and educator Andrew Bukenya is one person who was #1 on my list to interview, as one of the brightest and warmest beings I know, and was fortunate enough to work with a few years ago on the Fine Music FM Young Virtuosi program team. Hope you enjoy the read!
List a few words describing your mood and where you are writing this now.
Describe your work.
Random but always with a sense of purpose
What’s in a typical day?
I like to think that even in the midst of routine, I don’t have one, but it usually involves education on one level, reading, listening , presenting and ALWAYS music on another.
Where could I find you practising/rehearsing and do you have a particular routine?
I practice in my head…it’s FREE; other times depending on the project
Is your work influenced by larger global issues and if so, how is this expressed and/or how would you like audiences to respond?
Interesting; yes. I like to try and find ways to bring people together using music..I like to think that most musicians do; I mean I rarely encounter people who actively seek to divide by using this divine art form, which is not to say of course that they don’t exist, but my spirit does not bring me into contact with them, or at least helps me to avoid them..nuff said
Tell us about a recent collaboration you’re proud of.
he he I could tell you but I would have to kill you...TOP SECRET but sooooo good and I hope it comes to fruition (note to self for future remembrance, George Michael was the starting point).
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
the fact that you can add a lot of joy and/or meaning to people’s lives
Do you have any musical or life advice you would give to yourself this time five years ago, and that you would also like to share with young musicians?
1) Think of your end goal and work backwards.
2) Be open to learning and informed criticism
3) do not underestimate the influence of good mentors
4) seek out people who can help you with items 1-3..remember these do not have to be in your chosen field.
Who are your big 3 influences right now (musicians and/or non-musicians)?
Maya Angelou, Bach & Aretha Franklin
What are you continuing to learn as you develop as an artist?
The marathon is way better than the sprint; quality over quantity has been a personal mantra for a while now
Do you think about your practice as continuing to preserve a certain aspect of culture/tradition, or modernising or adding twists into new forms?
In the case of baroque music and Motown and performing songs in languages ranging from German to Japanese, most definitely yes.
When you’re having a bad day/week/month, do you have any strategies you like to use personally, or people you like to turn to?
I never leave the house without a book (it can be great to delve into somebody else’s world to take the mind off your own). This coupled with the music of Bach, or any chamber music with piano quietens the mind; I live close to water and riding the ferry as often as possible is something that I love to do as well as swimming/yoga/pilates and gyrotonic exercise; on the other side of the spectrum, cinema/theatre/art galleries (so that I can distance myself from electronic devices)and dance floor action with some great gospel house or bootyshaking funk/soul can be just what the doctor ordered especially when shared with friends.
What other hats do you wear during the week, if any (what other areas are you active in during the week)?
Presenter & Producer/ Sydney Symphony 2018 (FineMusicFM) producer (2 by 20 concert series @ City Recital Hall), teacher (English as a Second Language) & occasional interpreter (Japanese), volunteer reader to pre/primary school children with Storyville.
How have you used social media in the past to invite audiences to explore your work?
I definitely engage with social media but I love to use word of mouth as much as time and energy permit.
When's your next performance and how can we hear more about it?
1. Broadway Unplugged @ The Vanguard (now Leadbelly, Newtown) with Bev Kennedy and the Beverages taken by Kurt Sneddon for Blueprint Studios.
2. StoryVille session at Darlignton Public School 2018 (MEAA/Storyville, photo by Ms Alinta
3. "HAIR" The Musical directed by Brendan De La Hay for Exclaim! Theatre Co, photo by Brooke Almond
4. Photo with Richard Gill by Lizzie Herbert/Caitlin Benetatos for FineMusic FM.