14 March 2019

Candelo collaboration - The New Graces launch tonight!

| Elka Wood
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Candelo-based musicians Robyn Martin, Melanie Horsnell and Kate Burke are The New Graces. Photo: Supplied.

It’s a Candelo collaboration that makes so much sense – it’s hard to believe it hasn’t happened sooner!

Independently acclaimed musicians Kate Burke, Robyn Martin and Melanie Horsnell have banded together as The New Graces and will perform their first gig as a trio tonight (March 15) at the Candelo Town Hall.

“We’ve been on stage together quite a bit over the years, supporting other bands and Robyn and I have played at Melanie’s gigs,” Kate says before rehearsal at Saint Peters church in Candelo, “but it was in August last year that we decided to form a trio.”

For Kate, forming The New Graces came from a growing awareness that she was travelling to play music and that she wanted to feel more anchored to Candelo.

“It feels quite intuitive, we’ve all known each other for so long,” she adds.

Inspired by female trios with “three strong unique voices and heaps of harmonies ” from their youth – Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris and Tiddas among them, all three songstresses bring their own distinct and powerful voices to the stage.

“It seems like trios are bigger than three individual voices,” Kate comments, “you never quite know what you’re going to get.”

Robyn Martin, Kate Burke and Melanie Horsnell at a New Garces rehearsal in Candelo.

During a brainstorming session for band names, Melanie suggested The Three Graces, inspired by the three graces of Greek mythology who brought joy and creativity to mere mortals.

“We had a shortlist of about 73 names,” Robyn says dryly. Raised in the desert dust of Ceduna, South Australia, Robyn felt uncomfortable calling herself a goddess, so the trio adapted the title to The New Graces.

Although tonight’s gig will be the first, Kate says that as soon as the first photo hit social media late last year, the band have had festivals and venues contacting them requesting gigs.

“It’s been so nice, we’ve had quite a bit of interest,” Kate says with a smile, “and that’s the great thing about collaboration – we’re joining forces on all fronts so we’re accessing each other’s audiences and networks.”

The three will perform original songs which, for Robyn, will be a first.

“I’ve only ever played my original songs in casual groups so it’s a bit terrifying to take them to the stage,” she says, “but I’ve got one on the boil now.”

The New Graces will perform in Candelo on Friday 15th March and at Smith’s Alternative Book Shop in Canberra on Saturday 16th March.

As the three unload instrument cases and set up for what Kate refers to as ‘creative development i.e. rehearsing like mad bastards,’ Melanie suddenly remembers something.

“I think we did play together once, we formed a band for one night in about 2014 to support Darren Hanlon – we even had a name: what was it? ‘Bunch of Girls’!”

Timing is everything, Melanie says, and the time for The New Graces is now.

“We’ve all got kids in school now and all that creative energy that goes into the little ducklings is suddenly available again.”

Robyn laughs and adds: “yeah, it’s no coincidence that we’re rehearsing at 9 am on a school day.”

For more information visit The New Graces website.

Candelo Arts Society presents The New Graces as the feature act for this months Music and Variety Night. Candelo Town Hall supper room at 7:30 pm. Tickets are available at the door $15/$10, and anyone who wants to perform as a part of the music and variety night get free entry.

The New Graces will also play at Smiths Alternative in Canberra on Saturday (March 16) at 7 pm.

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