Ever washed your face with orange juice? Cleaned your teeth with bubblegum or bellyflopped straight into a pizza? If any of these things ring some bells, the Peter Combe show at the Oxford Arts Factory in promotion of his new album, Turkey Beserky (The Turkey from Turkey) might just be for you.
When you consider that Combe’s very first album was released three decades ago, and last year he played to a near lyric-perfect crowd of over 3000 at the Falls Festival, it is safe to say that the ‘King of Kids’ has forged a pan-generational fan base. Such is the popularity, versatility and nostalgia of his music, that Peter and his band find themselves having to schedule 18+ gigs alongside regular matinee performances for children. A large part of this is due to his incredibly decent attitude and unprecedented experience in writing children’s music.
“To be good at children’s music, your music has to have an adultness about it. It would be foolish to just babysit children, if I did that, I would have failed as a composer or as an arranger…What I try not to do is patronise children. People never give kids credit”
In keeping with this ethos, Turkey Berserky (the Turkey from Turkey) runs at an impressive 26 tracks ,spanning a smorgasbord of genres including pop, jazz, choral, and bluegrass (complete with a real bluegrass band). A five-year-old soloist (Combe’s grandson Oli) and even Pinnochio sticks his nose in.
“I always include a couple of fairytales, it’s sort a private tradition.”
Such musical diversity is no mistake. “I think children can be often underestimated. If you can introduce them to different styles of music with taste, it works.”
This is also the reason behind the longevity and relevance of Combe’s music. A great example of this is the alphabetical grammatical gripe Not Zee which is scattered in three different versions across the album, introducing listeners to a trio of styles within the one song. The first, Grandissimo, imitates a loud pompous baritone (‘on the stage of the Sydney Opera House’), a classical string quartet in Stringissimo (performed by Zephyr String Quartet), and finally turns around to a cool swinging barbershop edition by none other than the Idea of North.
To promote Turkey Beserky in Sydney, Peter has booked into the indie-cred nightspot, Oxford Arts Factory. His matinee performance on October 1 is proceeded by an 18+ show on Saturday September 29 with ‘The Quirky Berserky Bellyflop in a Pizza Band’ and special guests The Mountains and Driffs. BYO toffee apple and newspaper hat. (EB)
Sep 29-Oct 1, Oxford Arts Factory, 38-46 Oxford St, Darlinghurst, $20+BF, moshtix.com.au