Mark Trinham is not just a sculptor and visual artist—music is also a major part of his life.
It was not always so. He did take music lessons as a child at school, but was assigned the recorder, an instrument he hated. He only really got interested in listening to music when he was 16 and somebody shared a record collection with him. Cream, Creedence, Jimi Hendrix, and Led Zeppelin were all early favourites. Another friend taught him a little bit about how to play the guitar. From there, he was self-taught.
The guitar has remained an important instrument for Mark. His musical heroes and influences include Jimi Hendrix, David Gilmour, Pink Floyd, plus many folk guitarists. But he has also always been attracted to the sound and the power of the didgeridoo. And it is the “didj” that finally led him to perform.
He’d met a friend of a friend at a party in Geelong—the other man also played music, and the two ended up out on the veranda, the friend playing Irish tin whistle and Mark playing didgeridoo as a thunderstorm rolled on over them.
That was the beginning of Moonah, a six-piece band that has been performing together for the past twenty years. They have five CDs out. Mark Trinham and Andrew Taylor together write most of the songs, but the other members contribute as well, bringing a wide range of influences to bear on the group’s style. Mark describes the sound as “eclectic,” with folk and blues roots but a lot of psychedelic surf guitar mixed in.
An early pioneer of raw and earthy psychedelic folk, Moonah have recorded 5 CDs and performed at countless gigs and festivals since their emergence in the south west Victoria surfcoast arts scene in the mid 90s. Crowds are drawn to their strange and powerfully hypnotic rythms and eclectic instrumentation, including surf guitars, accordion and didgeridoo.
Moonah are a rarity in the live music scene with no focal leader; they write and perform as a collective. Their memorable and evocative live performances showcase original instrumental songs that meld both traditional and experimental musical forms. Each album is startlingly unique from the others, reflecting the band’s desire to constantly evolve and explore new sounds.
But Mark has other musical projects with other people as well.
There is the local Jan Juc choir that he and his wife have joined and enjoy. He and Fee, together with two other women from the choir, have a small offshoot group called Monkey Plus Three. The monkey, of course, is Mark—he says it is a nickname some friends gave him twenty years ago. He’s not sure why, but admits it may have something to do with his love of climbing trees.
And Mark and Demir Aliu play together as Solar Drift, creating what Mark called “atmospheric soundscapes”. Live improve pieces—just one song–typically last an hour. The music is Middle Eastern-influenced and incorporates guitar, didgeridoo, flutes, and hand drums. The pair typically play at local art events.
We can probably expect other musical collaborations and projects from Mark. He seems to be one who keeps the “play” in playing music.
Lucy and the Night Sky
Mark’s most recent musical collaboration involves the Moonah Band backing Lucy O’Grady, a local Jan Juc musician and Bonnie Upwelling Choir Leader. Playing original music written by Lucy and backed by four female vocalists with Lucy on vocals and piano. The music is emotive and powerful influenced by Lucy’s background in classical music and uses this with a blend of folk, blues and atmospheric rock.
See more about the band on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lucyandthenightsky/
New Album – Captain of my Soul
Purchase or Listen here