The Wonders of Childbirth and Childhood memories.

The first month of our #looptheworld adventure has been huge, so much so that I have spent hours, days. sitting at this computer typing and deleting, typing and deleting as my thoughts and memories all collide in on one another. I have decided to keep it simple and share just a couple of those moments with you.

Pottsville, NSW
Pottsville, NSW

Life.
Megan, Simon’s younger sister, and myself went for a casual stroll down to the beach at Pottsville. It was a beautiful, sunny afternoon. She was very pregnant. We were chatting away catching up on each others news when Megan asked me if I would be a support person at her birth. I was speechless. My mouth moved up and down a few times but no words came out. What an honour to be trusted with such a momentous life event. Ever since I first met Megan she has been quite an inspiration for me. I have always admired her strength, sense of self, sense of adventure and her ability to always find and share the magic. She is a beautiful, magnetic human. This experience was no exception. As humans, we have all experienced childbirth yet of course none of us remember our own. As a female, I have always known and imagined that someday I will give birth to my own child and so I have tried to conceptualise what childbirth might be like. I imagine many girls and women have done the same. When the day came I was nervous and excited. I hoped that I would be able to offer the support that Megan might need but I must admit that I felt a little out of my depth. The only thing I was certain of was the love in my heart and that I would be there for whatever she needed.

Childbirth is an intensely personal experience and so I do not feel that it is my place to share all the details here on this public platform, all I will say is that I will forever remember the birth of Malakai Storm Wright. I witnessed the strength, power and primal understanding of the woman’s body and it is extraordinary. Megan, thank you for trusting me.

x x x Megan and Malakai x x x

A magical day.
When I was still a little Hannah I lived for a time on a community called Sphinx Rock; named as such because it is nestled at the bottom of a mountain that looks like a Sphinx, it is about 20kms north west of Nimbin in New South Wales. I have such beautiful memories of that time.

In the magic garden
In the magic garden

There were several families living on the community and so we created quite the hoard of children. We had such fun. We played statues at the bus stop, for those of you who don’t know this excellent game the rules are simple, if a car comes – freeze! I think I legitimately believed for a time that the passengers in the cars passing by actually thought we were statues. We’d ride on the bonnet of mums big old yellow station wagon, make cubby’s in the wild lantana, explore crystal clear creeks, play lego and tremble at terrifying stories about The Hairymen who lived up in the mountains (if you do ever have the bad luck of running into a Hairy Man then just bend over and look at it from between your legs, that way it will know that you are not scared of it and it will leave you alone – fact!). So as an adult it is nice to go back and revisit those memories, it’s like giving them a shot of coffee.

My granddad (aka Abba), Simon and I made a day trip of it, leaving at about 10am on a Tuesday. We had lunch in town with the infamous and wonderful

Abba, Michael and Hannah
Abba, Michael and Hannah

Michael Balderstone who is an old family friend of Abba’s and a central figure in Nimbin’s anti-prohibition movement, he was very busy in the wake of the annual Mardi Grass festival but we were lucky enough to steal a moment with him. After lunch, we took the reminiscent road out to Sphinx Rock. It is much the same as I remember it although due to the sub tropical environment everything grows so quickly. Where there was once a view of Wollumbin, which was known as Mt Warning when I was a child but has been returned to it’s traditional name in respect to the First Nation people, there is now a rainforest. We bumped into Burry who is still living on the community, he took us to a magical garden where there was a huge old satellite dish bursting with cherry tomatoes, an abundance of banana and mango trees, tamarillos and the sweetest passionfruit hanging from the sky and the ever present gentle chorus of the frogs chanting their life song.

“the sweetest passionfruit hanging from the sky “

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Simon enjoying a Tamarillo
Simon enjoying a Tamarillo

 
To finish off our magical adventurous day Abba drove us back to Byron Bay via the most exquisite route. My granddad is an adventurous grey nomad and always knows the best spots. We stopped for a quick photo opportunity off a dirt track on the crest of a hill and coasted over lush green hills soaking in the glory of magic hour. Driving back to Byron Bay I felt calm and happy, It’s good for the soul to take the time to remember these precious times in our lives. 

  Thank you so much for taking the time to read some of my words and also to those who have been in touch, it’s really lovely for me to hear your  feedback. If you do have any questions, comments or suggestions I’d love to hear from you and of course you can follow our every move via facebook and instagram.

Wollumbin. “off a dirt track on the crest of a hill”
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The Beautiful People We Meet #1: Mohamad Jordan

I first met Mohamad, or Mojo as he is affectionately know as on the island, back in Nov 2013 during my first tour to Koh Tao. Every time I return our friendship and his generous hospitality grow stronger. When we arrived here on Thursday night he was there to greet us at the pier. It felt so nice to be welcomed back to this beautiful place with a friendly face. His hospitality didn’t stop there. Next he drove us to Sairee beach where I was performing a show that night at Choppers Aussie Bar and Grill. Then he ducked out to book me a room, at his own expense, then returned with the key and sat and watched me perform.

Mojo and I having a jam my first night on Koh Tao
Mojo and I having a jam my first night on Koh Tao

Before the night was out, he was up on stage with me jamming. Sounds like a good bloke yeah? And I haven’t even mentioned yet that while we were here in February he put Hannah through her open water and advanced diving courses. Now on our return he has offered Hannah a job in his dive shop and will be taking her through her Dive master trainer course. This afternoon while Hannah goes out for a dive on his boat, he’s taking me around the island looking for some more permanent accomodation.

Thanks Mojo, you’re a top bloke.

If you are ever on the island of Koh Tao and you plan on getting certified as a diver, go see Mohamad and his beautiful fiancé Dylan at Mojo Divers. Their prices are competitive and their staff and service are the best. Tell him I sent you.

One month, eleven shows, one radio performance, three festival appearances, one missed flight and 1715km in.

I’ve started writing this post in my sisters living room in Potsville, Northern NSW, Australia. I had planned to begin at this time during our layover in Kuala Kumpur, Malaysia but due to a very silly mistake we woke up still here in Oz.

Last night my mother, who is up here from Tasmania at the moment lapping up the first days of my newest little nephew Malakai’s life, was driving Hannah and I to the airport. We were reminiscing on the beautiful weekend we’d just had together and saying our goodbyes until we rocked up to an airport that was all but shut down. As we pulled up to departures and started unloading our luggage we were greeted by a security guard that insisted the last flight has already left. Of course I didn’t believe him and had to check the departures board myself. He was right, we missed our flight. I never miss flights, there goes that perfect record. I felt like a real idiot. I still do. But I guess these things happen.

Looking back on the month we’ve had, I have to say, we’ve had a lot more luck than misfortune and our successes far out way this little stuff up.

Thanks to Key Witness for this photo from my Blues Fest performance.
Thanks to Key Witness for this photo from my Blues Fest performance.

We are now just a little over a month into the #looptheworld adventure and in that time we have managed to sell out of the first pressing of my loop EP “Live on Koh Tao, win a place on stage at the three times nominated Pollstar Awards Best Festival in the World, Byron Bay Blues Festival, be invited to loop live on air on Byron Bay’s own community radio station Bay FM and featured on the on-line TV channel Byron Bay TV and the most exciting of all; I’ve become an uncle for the 3rd time to my little nephew Malakai.

My dad, Dave Wright.
My dad, Dave Wright.

We spent most of this last month staying with my dad, Dave out at his caravan in Suffolk Park. It’s only modest, but the most glamorous type of modest going round. He is meters from the beautiful Suffolk Park shore line in a quiet little leafy corner. I love hanging out with my dad during these tours to Byron. We often get deep into sorting the worlds problems out over a joint or two before giving up and just strumming our guitars together. It’s a pleasant existence and the perfect way to slow down from the big city life. Dad also came and played a couple of shows with me. For those that didn’t already know, music was also my fathers profession. These days he only graces the stage when I’m in town. He’s still got it though, the crowd love him.

Byron has been amazing, hanging out with the family and seeing old friends. The perfect start to our adventure. I’m looking forward to getting on to the next bit though. Next time I write I’ll be in S.E Asia. Tomorrow morning, early (I’ve checked three times already) we fly to Malaysia. There is no connecting flight tomorrow so we have to stay the night in Kuala Lumpur. That gives me a little time to work on my quest for the worlds greatest bowl of laksa. Tune in next time and I’ll let you know how I go.

Simon Wright – TV on the Radio

Live and Local BayFM and Byron Bay TV present:

On Sunday April 26th 2015 I had my first ever loop performance on live to air radio and Will Hayman from Byron Bay TV was there to catch it all. The performance took place during the Sunday midday show Live and Local with Al Stark on Bay FM 99.9 three weeks into my #looptheworld tour.

The playlist above has three videos:
She Told Me (BayFM Reloop)/Gather The Matter

This is actually two songs but ever since I started performing them and always grouped them together. Eventually I plan to have most of my set like that. The first track “She Told Me” I wrote while on stage once at the Birmingham Hotel on Smith st in Collingwood. I’d looped the start of the track and a woman approached me from the dance floor. I don’t think she quite understood the loop concept. She came up and started yelling “You need to sing!” The next words to come out of my mouth were the chorus “She told me that I need to sing, down here at the Birmingham”. I often appropriate this song to whatever venue I am playing at the time. This performance you’ll notice I sing  “She told me that I need to sing, on live and local BayFM”. It lends it’s self easily to those kinds of improvisations.
The second song is the bastard child of three songs I’ve written in the past. The guitar riff was originally the pre-chorus to a jazz/hip hop track I wrote last year named “Dream”. The chorus lyrics are from a song I played with the Eclective named “It’s On” and one of the verses is from a song I did with Direct Influence way back in the early days named “So Right”. I like the way they blend together. It changes key from Dm to Am but the “She Told Me” chorus lyrics still work and even though the beat is exactly the same, with all the syncopation in “Gather the Matter” it feels like there is a groove change.

Rockin’ Blues

I first wrote this song as a 1-4-5 upbeat swung rock n roll track but I was never really happy with where it sat so had never started performing it live. Then last year while I was on Koh Tao, Thailand with Andy V we began jamming a Ray Charles inspired groove at a bar called Fishbowl and the Lyrics found their home. You can hear the first time I ever played it here. It’s changed a little since then as I had to work on a way to play it with out the help of Andy V, but the general arrangement is still the same.

Music

This song has been with me a long time however I think this is the first loop performance recording of the track. I first wrote it in 2006 while playing with the Groove Collective in Byron Bay. It never made it to the studio until 2012 when I went in with The Simon Wright Band for “Live at 52”. That performance which you can see here, earned me a nomination for the Australian Independent Music Awards 2013, a position in the Victorian finals for the Telstra Road To Discovery and made the finals of the national Catapult Song Contest with names like Ash Grunwald and Dallas Frasca.
The basic idea of the song is a love song dedicated to the life long partner I’ve chosen in music. People often ask who is the girl I was writing about, but it’s no girl, it is music. Recently “Music” passed 10,000 views on youtube and is the first of my original songs to accomplish this milestone. You can purchase a copy along with the rest of “Live at 52” from http://www.simonwright.com.au

New Video – Rockin’ Blues Live at the Beach Hotel, Byron Bay. #looptheworld 2015

I first wrote the lyrics to this track to a 1 4 5 swing rock and roll style track but then appropriated them to a Ray Charles inspired rock n roll groove whilst jamming with my good mate Andy V during a gig in Thailand. The jam ended up making it to the “Live on Koh Tao” EP as the only entirely original tune. It’s very traditional stylistically. A simple groove, one chord the whole way through the track but I dig it. I think it’s my favourite loop track of mine so far.

I filmed this version at a gig in Byron Bay near the beginning of our #looptheworld tour on the 16th April 2015. It was a strange gig. After the week I’d just had leading up to the show I was expecting an impressive turn out. I’d just played the Bluesfest after winning a place in the Bluesfest Busking Comp. I then played a gig at the Rails, my first ever 3 hour solo loop show in Byron, to a large enthusiastic audience.  Unfortunately however, this gig was empty. Not empty but in a venue that holds over two thousand, forty or so feels empty. I guess with all the excitement of the Bluesfest the week before, another night of music was not a priority. That didn’t stop me from getting the most out of it. The PA is lovely to play through and Glen “Goobs” Ward the sound man does a great job at making me sound the best that I can. It was quite the contrast from back in the days of the Eclective where we had 8 people on stage and 2000 in the crowd but enjoyable none the less.

Rockin’ Blues
An original loop track by Simon Wright.
Recorded live at the Beach Hotel on the 16th April 2015.

My Baby likes it old school
Cos these days it ain’t the same
She needs that old school soul
and some rock n roll
Just to make it on through the day

She says she wants them Blues
That get me on my feet.
Some rockin blues,
that get me on my feet.

I said my pockets are all empty,
and my lunch box is much the same,
but you can bet when I get
a little rock in my roll
I save it up for a rainy day

I said I want them blues,
that get me on my feet,
Some rockin Blues,
that get me on my feet

Said there’s holes in my pockets
and there’s hole in my shoes
I ain’t got nothing but
singin’ them blues

An Introduction of Sorts – By Hannah Blake.

hannah

Where to start? At the beginning I suppose. Although, I am not entirely sure where that is, it feels as though the idea for this adventure crept into the consciousness slowly not wanting to alarm anyone and now here we are, in Byron Bay Australia on the first part of this musical adventure around the world that has only a few set destinations and no set end date. Our adventure, aptly named #looptheworld will take Simon and myself around the world on, what Simon likes to say, “a guitar string budget”. To prepare for this musical adventure into the world, first, I quit my job. I imagine we all dream of not working, I know I certainly had, but it was an interesting decision to make when it actually became a reality. Working provides security, a network of people, something to do with our time, it helps us to feel connected, useful and productive. In quitting my job I was surrendering to a way of life that I have not yet experienced. It is a little scary and also very exciting.Then, I gave away my possessions. Stuff! I love stuff! I have so many precious things, all with their own memory attached or perhaps it’s a precious thing purely because it’s pretty, either way, the precious things accumulate and become ‘stuff’. I have always enjoyed having beautiful, if sometimes a little odd, things in my home, I like that it fills me with memories and in a way it represents me. So I have taken this #looptheworld adventure as an opportunity do a bit of clearing out and it felt great! I have a few boxes which I claim as mine (thanks so much for all your help mum) but everything else I have let go of. If you’re thinking that I’ve had some kind of life changing epiphany you’d be wrong, I just figure I can get more stuff later. And lastly, we moved out of our beautiful Smith Street home.

Leaving the Smith St home. From left: Ellah Blake, Edan Chapman and Hannah Blake.
Leaving Smith St. From left: Ellah Blake, Edan Chapman and Hannah Blake.

Mostly I just glided through, once the decision to follow our wanderlust had been made, the excitement and promise of it all carried me. I must admit that I did cry twice, and by ‘cry’ I mean ‘bawled my eyes out’. The first time I cried I had just taken the last load of ‘stuff’ to the opp shop and I was sitting in my now very empty bedroom with my backpack in front of me on the floor. That one small backpack now represented everything that I owned. I think it was only at that point that I realised  “oh, this is actually happening”. The second time was when I left my mum. As I stepped out on to the tarmac my lip started quivering and then the flood gates opened. I had to laugh at myself, a 27 year old woman, sitting on the airplane bawling my eyes out, receiving sideways glances from nearby passengers, all because I’m going to miss my mum. Beautiful really.

Don’t let all this talk of crying lead you to believe that I am not ecstatic, I am. I feel light and happy and certainly very lucky! I am at the beginning of an adventure where the only plan is to follow the music. We will live off the money made through Simon’s music: gigs, busking and CD sales. I’ll be that chick selling CD’s next to the stage. The destinations will be chosen through gig offers and the people we meet. I’m excited for this next bit, this next adventure. I am excited for what I will learn, about myself, about the world. I am excited to meet new people and catch up with old friends.

I will be documenting the trip via our Instagram account #looptheworld (follow us here). I also hope to use this blog as a platform, if I may be so bold, to share some of my experiences, thoughts and stories with you. I’m not yet sure which direction this story will take but that is all part of the adventure and fun.

So here we are, the #looptheworld adventure has started and it is wonderful.

x Hannah

I’d love to hear your thoughts  so please email me any questions or suggestions or even just a hello! 🙂

Ps. I highly recommend you listen to this, I think it’s a pretty good soundtrack for this part of this story. Enjoy!