Pictured: Helen Losiuk, front, and Ann Lehmann, Gary Butler, Peter Georgievski, Jane Kok, Pedro Altuna, Perla Aura, Nick Mottillo and Thoma Stejepanovic at the back. Credit: SYLVIA LIBER
The motley band began with a single set of bongos, smacked into life under a row of banana trees at the end of Port Kembla’s main drag late on Sunday morning.
From the back of the grounds, a wood fire bread oven was about to receive its first doughy rolls. It let off a familiar, smoky smell, appealing even in the rising heat of the day.
A second set of bongos joined in; then a third; then a guitar; a rustic, hand-made xylophone and Balgownie’s Helen Losiuk, who moved her fingers expertly across the 120 buttons of her cherished stradella accordion - her ‘‘everything’’.
‘‘I am kind of a sad person, so it [the accordion] helps’’ said German-born Ms Losiuk, the daughter of a Russian mother and a Polish father.
‘‘I think all Russians tend to like misery. A lot of them turn to alcohol, but I turn to music. Music and lollies.’’
The second of these monthly gatherings, called Jam ‘n Bread, drew a small but diverse group of musicians and bread lovers to Port Kembla Community Centre yesterday.
Special guests included Perla Aura, who taught African rhythms and songs, and didjeridu specialist Richard Campbell.
The gatherings were started as a way of bringing together the region’s culturally rich musical traditions. They are part-funded though the federal government’s Building Multicultural Communities program, with the aim of increasing access for musicians who don’t have access to instruments, particularly for those from refugee backgrounds.
Thomas Stjepanovic, creator of the home-made xylophone, travelled from Austinmer to attend.
‘‘It’s really good just to get people to play music together , to share ideas and discover new things,’’ he said.
The next Jam ‘n Bread, on November 16 from 11am-2pm, will coincide with the Port Kembla Billy Cart Derby.