Jinja Safari: Gig review

28 September 2010

Written by: Meghan Lodwick

Marcus Azon and Pepa Knight met last year jamming around a campfire. They are Triple J’s Unearthed latest discovery and go by the name Jinja Safari.

The Sydney boys modestly describe themselves as ‘Forest Rock’ or ‘Dance Music’.  Their music is unique and stands out amongst the hundreds of indie-electro bands overwhelming the airwaves at the moment. Their tunes are infused with African drums, maracas, a Sitar and a Tempura, along with your regular keyboard, bass and guitar punctuated with random animal calls and shrieking. Sounds a tad odd but works well with their performance.

Jinja Safari’s music is in part inspired by Azon’s grandmother, who lives in Uganda, in the town of Jinja. Having grown up in Tasmania, the incorporation of African sounds into the group’s music can be attributed to the connection Azon feels with the continent.

I would class their set – which I unwittingly spied last month at the Hi-Fi Bar as they were opening for Art Vs Science – a performance. They took to the stage wearing hippy-esque clothing complete with shaggy hair and bare feet. We could not help but jump along as they leapt all over the stage. Yes, leapt. I was worried they were going to take each other out!

While springing from one side of the stage to the other, Azon, Pepa and the rest of the five piece line up performed original and intriguing numbers.  The lads laughed and egged on the crowd while swigging from their drinks. The vibe was a few mates jamming in a garage, just with a live audience. They were very energetic and having a lot of fun together.

Their signature track, featured on Triple J Unearthed, is ‘Peter Pan’; a beautiful melody incorporating all the instruments they play and, as a very whimsical fan noted, ‘all the four elements of nature.’ My favorite track firmly remains ‘Forest Eyes’, a lively number highlighting their originality. Their recently released EP debuted at # 9 on the Australian Independent Singles Charts and they have already received airplay on BBC6 in the UK.

If you’re looking for something completely different from that typical Melbourne ‘synth’ sound, check these talented multi-instrumentalists out. It’s worth it.

Josephine Crawley is a second year Bachelor of Journalism student at La Trobe University.