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Jane Bunnett and Maqueque

Sydney International Women’s Jazz Festival presents JANE BUNNETT AND MAQUEQUE at Foundry 616, Harris Street, Ultimo. 7 November.

This is my first ever venture into a Jazz venue (except the stroll down the streets of New Orleans, of course – being there 3 times, no way you can avoid the music!). And here I go dragging some friends with me at 11.30 at night into Ultimo. A Saturday night after seeing 2 plays that day! Why?


  1. I heard Ms Bunnett and her group interviewed on Radio National, twice, and then a track or playing live, of some of their music, and I FELT and thought: “What, whoo!”
  2. There has been quite a stir going on in Sydney about representation and opportunity for women being able to practice their Art and Craft and to be seen on Sydney stages. So here are 6 women doing what they love and loving what they are doing – “Let’s go!” (look up the WITS web-site – next meeting on the 23 November at Belvoir- booking is necessary)
  3. I had had a transporting experience with Victoria Hunt’s stage work TANGI WAI with 12 magnificent female dancers at Carriageworks recently and was blown away: “Oh My God!”
  4. I had seen and heard on Friday night AUDRA McDONALD  give a once-in-a-lifetime (experience, for me) Concert at the Sydney Opera House – and I was, subsequently, high on life when I decided to book our tickets on the morning of the performance at the Foundry616: ” I am alive! Keep it going!”.
  5. What could go wrong with 5 Cuban musicians and a famous American flautist playing music that was part of their soul, the passion of their life. And isn’t 11.30 the witching hour for the BEST Jazz musicians?: “No Problem for me then, that a couple of Vodka and Tonics won’t smooth over, and I took three of my favourite women friends, too. So …. ssss!”


Loosely translated, MARQUEQUE means ‘the energy of a young girls’ spirit.’ Four time JUNO Award winner, two-time Grammy nominee, an Officer of the Order of Canada, soprano saxophonist/flautist Jane Bunnett introduces us to these young Cuban musicians, with a group that blends scintillating Afro-Cuban rhythms, folkloric influences, exhilarating jazz and soulful vocals in an utterly intoxicating blend.”

That’s what the brochure says, and I am hear to tell you, it’s all true. Further, read this:

Listeners can expect clave-induced Afro-Cuban, booty shaking world jazz … Young, killer, female musicians.

Too, too true – whoosh! See what you missed. I floated out of the Foundry Bar on a cloud of euphoria.

The Foundry is a low ceilinged room with a big bar, tables, chairs, food and, at this ‘gig’, a dance space for the hip and the agile to get up and dance-salsa, their bodies into a twist in snake like response to the music of MAQUEQUE, in a heart beat, a bang on the drum. Yes, I did get up, for the last encore play out – My body threw, banished warnings away – and you know what, I felt great. I felt just as good next day – no consequences except a reconnection to life. HMMMM? Or is it Music that is getting to me?

Jane Bunnett (soprano Saxophone/flute – host) Dayme Arocena (vocals – she also gave a dance of fascinating culture) Danae Olano (piano) Magdelys Savigne (percussion – kaboom, amazing, and with the sexiest mohawk I’ve seen in years!) Celia Jimenez (bass guitar) and Yissy Garcia (drums – and here is a wonder of energy and magic drumming away, plus the most beautiful vocals. My favourite!)

There was, also, a guest performance from a genius of the saxophone, Australian, Sandy Evans – Lisa Simpson has a way to go – what a sound!

The Festival continues until Sunday November 15th at the Glebe St Fair, Foley Park at 3pm. Check out the web site.

I shouldn’t tell you this but it is public knowledge that Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Jazz Band are playing with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra next February at the Opera House, and I guarantee a MUST to go to. I saw and heard them in San Francisco a few years ago when they were touring with Wynton Marsalis’ Pulitzer Prize winning Oratorio BLOOD ON THE FIELDS, with Cassandra Wilson. Unforgettable!