“Sonic Bliss” World Music with Ren Waterfall
By Ian Browne
During the Lantern Parade in Lismore, Ren Waterfall was busy within Rognvalds Lith Viking Encampment adjacent the Oakes Oval, playing medieval tunes with musicians Leif Larkin during the lunch feast, and Gerard Lynam during their dinner feast. During the afternoon he joined Orkeztar Lizmore for two performances that included locally written arrangements by Jude Magee and Mark Bromley.
I caught up with Ren after his usual Sunday morning gig at the relaxing and colourfully inviting Phoenix Rising Café, situated by the creek at the Nimbin Bush Theatre. Alongside local musicians Gerard, Laya, Rainer, Steve, Deborah, Raine, Kavi, Yolanda, Katrina, and many others... a diverse mix of enchanting world music, influenced from such places as India, the Middle East and from throughout Europe is presented.
Ren Waterfall: At the cafe Gerard and I play under the title Sonic Bliss. We usually dress in Indian attire, but are still in theme from yesterdays Lantern Parade and wearing medieval gear. We started out here at the Nimbin Bush Factory around five years ago as “World Music for Peace”.
With Sonic Bliss we play music from countries we are in conflict with to help people appreciate those cultures and to promote peace. We also explore many different styles of music, from Celtic songs about St. Patrick, to Arabic and Indian. It’s folk and spiritual music of the people and the world. Musicians tend to be nomadic; they come and go, and we get to enjoy delving into a diversity of styles.
Amongst the instruments I played today is a corn flute that I made from a French cow’s horn, and a chalumeau, which is a medieval French clarinet. Steve Holt sometimes joins in with his oud and Debora Turner with her darabuka. I also play tabla, which are Indian hand drums that I find spiritually engaging. Interestingly, Indian instrument names often sound like the sound they produce. I also play the hammer dulcimer, which is an early piano originating from the Middle East. The audience often express a lot of appreciation for our music, saying they enjoy the beautiful sounds, and that it is peaceful and blissful.
Over the last few years I have performed with the amazing French group “Les Derniers Trouveres” that play Celtic and other styles of historical music in costume at medieval festivals. It is exciting to be a part of this culture, and I am fortunate to be among some very talented and committed musicians and dancers. It is very colourful and inspiring.
To see more of the French group have a squiz @ http://lesdernierstrouveres.com