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The Mad Word
1 February 2021
Howdy  <<First Name>>,

Gosh, it seems like a month since we last spoke. ;-)  I trust your January was just as merry as your December.  I suppose you're wondering about the pic.  Well it's Madison McKoy with AgrooV -- my first ever band back in 1999!  I had just finished touring “Disney”, “Miss Saigon” and “Sweet Charity” and wanted to take a break from the travelling show life for a while.  Why not start a band?  I was determined to have one of those huge 70s-style band groups performing my original songs around the traps of Sydney then the WORLD.   I remember putting ads in the Drum Media music mag searching for musos and backing singers to join the band.  Bear in mind, this was way before Facebook and Instagram, so old-fashioned paid ads were the go. :-)  After several weeks of auditions, the final line-up consisted of [pictured l-r] Margy (vox), Bernard (percussion), Peter (drums), Me-lee (keys), Bruce (bass), Adam (vox), Suzette (vox), Vlad (guitar) and little ole me in the middle. The very first venue to give us a go was The Harbourside Brasserie in Walsh Bay.  Who remembers that place?!  Good times indeed.  :-)

The February MJM-zine is chock full of stuff!  In case you weren't aware, February is Black History Month in North America.  I found an informative article about it for your reading pleasure and I've also included a wee write-up of some of my fave influential black musicians.  Of course, I had to include a little sumpin' sumpin' about the USA Vice-President Kamala Harris!!!  You might find out a few things you didn't know about her. :-o  To give you a breather, I've put together a Black History quiz.  Have a go and share!! :-)  Once you've ACED the quiz, have a look at the diverse cast of Hamilton -- coming soon to Sydney.  Check out the big taker-home of a plethora of Golden Guitar awards - Fanny Lumsden.  You should really 'feel' her track Mountain Song/This Too Shall Pass. Sooooo good!!!  It's summer in Australia and that means Moonlight Cinema is a happening thing.  I'm sure it'll be appropriately distanced with lots of hand sanitiser and maybe some mosquito spray as well. ;-)  The MJM Spotlight is a choir thing this month.  Set aside 4 minutes and have a look and a listen.   The recipe this month is a double whammy -- Corn Fritters and Salsa.  Yum! Yum!  If you make it, post it and hashtag #MJMAustralia.  Stay safe and well my friends.  See you in March!!  Beware the Ides. ;-)  xx  Mad
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What is Black History Month all about?  Who started it? Why is it in February?  When did it start?  Did you know that as well as being observed in the USA and Canada in February, it's also observed in Ireland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom in October.  Interested in knowing more about the origins of Black History Month? ...  READ ON

It's Black History Month in North America.  There are gazillions of talented peeps out there but in this month's MJM-zine,  I wanted to include something about a few of my fave influential black musos.  The iHeart website put them all in one place for me. That was very kind of iHeart, eh?! ;-)  Many of these ladies and gentleman have influenced my songwriting (which I'll have to get back to doing someday) and live music show song lists.  Have a squizz here >>   READ MORE

Hamilton opens in March at the Sydney Lyric Theatre.  It's a sung-and-rapped-through musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda. It tells the story of American Founding Father, Alexander Hamilton. The show draws heavily from hip-hop, as well as R&B, pop, soul and traditional-style show tunes and casts non-white actors as the Founding Fathers and other historical figures. Miranda described Hamilton as about "America then, as told by America now"...  MEET THE AUSSIE CAST

"And the Album of the Year Golden Guitar goes to ... Fanny Lumsden".  The 49th Country Music Association of Australia awards were held in Tamworth, Australia on 23 January. Lumsden's armful of accolades includes album of the year for her latest release, Fallow; female artist of the year and video of the year for Mountain Song/This Too Shall Pass.  You must check out this track.  There's a link to the music video clip in the article...    CHECK IT OUT

How about some outdoor cinema in February?  A special Luuuuuv Day is coming up after all. **wink wink** Australia's favourite outdoor cinema offers an entertaining, relaxed and social night under the stars in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane...   Click for Tix

SYDNEY - Centennial Park
MELBOURNE - Royal Botanic Gardens
ADELAIDE - Botanic Park
PERTH - Kings Park and Botanic Garden
BRISBANE - Roma Street Parkland   

The magnificent Cicely Tyson was definitely a gigantic part of black history.  She was one of the first African-Americans I remember ever seeing in major roles on screen.  Sounder.  Miss Jane Pittman.  A Woman Called Moses.  Roots.  Fried Green Tomatoes. The Help.  The list goes on and on!!!   Cicely Tyson was well-known for taking on positive strong African-American female roles. Truly inspiring!! I still remember watching "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman" with my mother when I was knee high to a grasshopper.  Special indeed!!!  Cicely Tyson, you will be missed!! >>   ABC News USA article by Mark Kennedy
MJM ARTIST SPOTLIGHT || 1 January 2021:  The Gospel Singing Experience Choir

Not many of you'd know this, but I used to tutor a class at Sydney Community College.  Well, back in North Carolina (many moons ago), I used to direct choirs and I wanted to continue doing that in some way in Australia.  So, I created a class called "The Gospel Singing Experience".  I put a submission and the Principal liked it.  Voila!  I ran the course for several 10-week terms with singers of all levels who wanted to have the gospel singing experience.   In addition to singing some cool and soul-filling gospel songs, the students studied a bit of the history of gospel music, how things work in a black gospel singing choir, worked on clapping, swaying, call and response... the list goes on.  We even played some vocal games to get the voce going.  Since this is the celebration month of black history, I thought the MJM Spotlight for February should represent a form of singing that plays a huge part in black history and also in my life.  Note, I didn't get permission from anyone in the group to post this vid so, shhhhhhh. ;-)  Check them out singing "Hold Up The Light".  I was (and still am) so proud of these ladies and gentlemen!!  CLICK TO WATCH

Corn Fritters with Avocado, Cucumber & Red Capsicum Salsa

Who's up for a 15-30 minutes of prep type of meal?!  Me, that's who. :-)  It was one of those warm evenings in January (summer in the Southern Hemisphere) and I wanted to make something quick and easy without having to use the stove for too long.   Corn fritters entered the what-to-do-for-dinner-tonight area of my brain.  So, I did a wee search on the good old website and found a recipe.   You can see the fruits of my labour in the pic above.  Subtle changes >> The recipe calls for tinned corn, but I simply can't! :-o  So, I bought corn on the cob and scrapped off the kernels to use.   To go with the fritters, I found a not-so-difficult salsa recipe.  I added some mango (as it's mango season) to give it a bit of a sweetish taste as well.  It all went down a treat!  I've popped in links to the recipes so have at it, peeps!!  Fritter the day awaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay.  #MJMAustralia.  :-)  xx
Corn Fritters                    Avocado Salsa
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