Blowin’ in the wind

WHEN the Eastwinds blow, strum and pluck they whip up a storm of world music

The band is truly global and features musicians from Estonia, Iran, Japan and Australia.

They’ll be be in town next week for the launch of their second album Confluence, which fuses Persian and Balkan music to “create something new and fresh”, says Perth band member Mark Cain.

When he was young, Cain ignored rock ‘n’ roll and spent his time hunting down obscure world music.

“I listened to a lot of unusual music from age 12,” he says.

• Steve Barnes and his son Kieran in the musical zone. Photos by Maree Laffan

Persian grooves

By the time he was in high school, 78 Records in Perth was his second home.

“The original owner remembers me going in in school uniform.”

Shelves were scoured, and when he had pocket money, precious purchases were made.

“I spent way more than I should have and felt guilty but really elated.”

Eastwinds’ music is a whimsical journey through jazz-inflected Norwegian lullabies, Estonian runic chants and Persian grooves, with echoes of Turkish belly dancing and Jewish weddings.

Many of the band’s songs are underscored by the throb of a didgeridoo, played by Japanese muso Sanshi.

Like all band members, Cain plays an assortment of instruments, including sax, flute, whistle and shawm (a mediaeval flute).

He also invents his own, including the “trigeridoo”, a trombone-like instrument made from three-way plumbing pipe.

“We can actually play chords on it,” Cain says.

Just two years after forming Westwinds made history when one of their ditties became the first song with Estonian lyrics to win the WAM Song of the Year for World Music.

Cain says that following the 2014 demise of Kulcha–which held world music gigs in Fremantle—he took matters into his own hands and has held a series of esoteric shows at the Pakenham Street Art Space.

Good audiences numbers have ensured things are ticking over, “but not as Kulcha, because we don’t want to go through all that government hoo-ha,” Cains says.

You can catch Eastwinds at the Ellington Jazz Club in Northbridge on June 12.

by JENNY D’ANGER

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