Friday 8 January 2021, 7.30pm
Haha Sounds Collective is a 30-piece choir and accompanying instrumental ensemble with roots in jazz, soundtrack and avant-garde music. Drawing from the late 60s and early 70s golden age of global psychedelic music, the group combines heady grooves, harmonic experimentation and high drama in tightly orchestrated ensemble playing.
Formed in early 2017, the collective has grown organically out of the community around Wilton Way Studios, home of head engineer and Haha bassist Syd Kemp and founder Victoria Rose Hamblett. These days, they meet every Sunday at Total Refreshment Centre for what has become a form of secular devotion: sonic rituals and incantations for a more harmonised world.
It makes sense then that the centrepiece of the current Haha repertoire is David Axelrod’s 1970 album Earth Rot. The third, and lesser known, in his trio of albums for Capitol Records, it appropriates from classical Greek chorus to dramatically forecast a man-made ecological disaster. With lyrics adapted by his son Matthew Axelrod from the Old Testament book of Isiah and an early Navajo creation legend, these “ancient yet timely words,” are a prophecy of imminent end-times that feels more relevant today than ever.
The Haha Sounds repertoire also includes music by Latin jazz composers Antonio Carlos Jobim, Lalo Shifrin and Arthur Verrocai, French art pop group Cortex, the soundtrack works of Alain Goraguer, and the soundtrack from Senegalese cult film Touki Bouki (1973).
Haha Sounds is an ever evolving cast of local musicians and fly-in friends. The current line up is: Joel Burton, Adam Beach, Matthieu Beck, Alex Burke, Orlando Clarkson, Ezequiel Claverie, Ryann Donnelly, Moa Fahlander, Sil Fiore, Talitha Gamaroff, Elisa Gigliotti, Victoria Rose Hambett, Cassidy Hansen, Anthony Kastelanides, Natasha Kidane, Syd Kemp, Cassie Layton, Cathy Lucas, Alan Maguire, Laetitia Sadier, Jordan Mallory-Skinner, Joseph Stone, Clémentine March, Alex McKenzie, Marie Merlet, Milan Monk, Cedric Monzali, Nathan Piggott, Hannes Plattmeier, Arthur Sajas, Yu Sato, Yoshino Shigihara, Rebecca Smith and Joseph Stone.