Arts & Culture

Sunday afternoon with The Maes in Candelo

Contributor 29 June 2019
The Maes are playing in Candelo on Sunday afternoon. Photo: Supplied.

The Maes are playing in Candelo on Sunday afternoon. Photo: Supplied.

The Maes, one of Australia’s best young acts, will be the feature act at the Candelo Arts Society’s Members Party this Sunday (June 30). Not a member? You are still invited.

Multi-award-winning Melbourne contemporary folk outfit, The Maes (formerly The Mae Trio) is the brainchild of sisters Maggie and Elsie Rigby. Born into the arms of the folk music community in Australia, both sisters were side of stage at their first folk festival when they were four weeks old and have been absorbing and exploring folk music since that time.

The Maes’ latest, self-titled record is a return to the sisters’ folk music roots. Gentle, intimate and conversational, the album is an unadorned showcase of Maggie and Elsie’s superb songwriting as well as honest, relaxed and stunning vocal and instrumental performances.

The album was born on a two-month tour of Europe and North America in 2018 shortly after the band changed its name from The Mae Trio to The Maes after the departure of founding member Anita Hillman.

The sisters started the tour with a recording session in Canada, intending to make a four track EP. Fired up by the changes in the band, inspired and bursting with new music they kept looking for new recording opportunities as the tour progressed. By the end of the tour they had two tracks from Nova Scotia, Canada, two songs from the Isle of Mull in Scotland, two songs from different studios in Ireland and four songs recorded in their home town of Melbourne.

“This is the album we never really intended to make” says Maggie, banjo, guitar and vocals.

“We were struck by the ease and serendipity with which it came together like it was just ready to come out of us. I love this record, I’ve never made anything that feels so comfortable and honest. I also reckon it’s our strongest collection of songs to date.”

Elsie, who plays mandolin, violin, and sings adds, “We were deep into making this album before we knew we were making an album.”

“There is a beautiful absence of pressure and self-consciousness that happened as a result; like the opposite of having a camera pointing at you while you arrange your face into a ‘normal and happy expression’.

“We were truly playing in the studio. In a few senses.”

Since 2014, The Maes have been full time touring in Australia and overseas, winning over audiences with their striking songwriting, intricate instrumental arrangements and stunning vocal harmonies.

The band’s touring history includes a list of some of the worlds largest and most prestigious music festivals such as, the Woodford and Port Fairy Folk Festivals in Australia, The Edmonton and Vancouver Folk Festivals in Canada, Cambridge Folk and Celtic Connections festivals in the UK and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in the USA.

All are welcome to Candelo Town Hall this Sunday, entry is free for Candelo Arts Society members, or $20 cash at the door. Bring your instrument and voice, and join Pete Wild and  friends for sessions from 1 pm to 3 pm. The Maes kick off at 3 pm.

Words supplied by Candelo Arts Society

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