By Arne Sjostedt
It is one of his favourite venues to play, and always draws an appreciative crowd. Which is why the Joseph Tawardos Quartet are regular visitors to The Street.
Like a passionate Egyptian Australian uncle cascading scales while riding a magic musical carpet, Tawardos never fails to give audiences a mystical experience that connects with his unique cross cultural influences.
“Considering that I am Australian and have been exposed to the multiculturalism here, my music reflects the people that I’ve grown up with and music that I’ve grown up with. Being an Australian has given me that kind of wealth.”
Though it isn’t just about looking to culture to fuel his work. Forever an explorer of new ideas and modes of expression - this creative artist knows how to use emotion to take listeners into new musical territories.
“I think it’s important to acknowledge your ancestors and the musicians that have come before you. To honour the music that has come before. But I also feel like there should be an evolution to it, and a reach to connecting with other people. And I think the special thing in music is connecting on an emotional level, not just one of geography.”
Always excited to play The Street, the three time ARIA award winner credits their sound engineers for much of the reason he has such a good time there.
“We always get a really great balanced sound,” says Tawardos. “I have to play venues where sometimes sound isn’t optimal. And you just have to deal with what you have.”
But when the elements are in alignment, things can really take off.
“Music is all about trust, in a few levels. It’s the trust of the musicians you’re with on stage, so if you trust the musicians you’ll be able to fly because you know they have got your back. The same with the sound engineer. If he or she just get what you do and can create something where you’ve got the sound that is required to be creative, then you have trust," he says.
"It goes the same with instruments. Sometimes you play certain instruments and they give you something back. You can hear harmonics or some sort of resonance. And that allows you to be more creative or try different things. So it gives you a better response."
And as anyone who has listened to him play knows, Tawardos can feel his way into flight at the drop of his fez. It is a gift that has won his work multiple ARIA awards, and landed him at the centre of some challenging and spectacular concerts. But Tawadros, who holds his Order of Australia as one of his greatest honours, says it has always been his creativity, rather than ARIAs, that has driven his success.
“It was great to be acknowledged, and it was something that I hold dearly, winning the ARIAs. But I’ve always been creative without it,” he says.
Catch Tawadros and his quartet meld worlds and venture in to the musical unknown at The Street at 4pm - Sunday 1 March. For information visit www.thestreet.org.au