Tabi Sari
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Tabi Sari

Townsville, Queensland, Australia | SELF

Townsville, Queensland, Australia | SELF
Band Folk


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Townsville's music scene is pumping with Simple Plan playing to a sell-out crowd, writes Jane Armitstead

THE city has one simple plan - to make 2012 the year of live music.

If there was any question Townsville's live music scene was under threat - think again - with pop-punk five-piece Simple Plan playing to a sell-out crowd at The Venue last night.

As part of their Get Your Heart On tour, the lads had listed Townsville on their 'to-do' list as they returned to Australia to bring the funk and punk.

"We get up on stage and try to make sure that everybody leaves with a big smile on their face and has a good time," drummer Chuck Comeau told MTV.

"We just go up and play as hard as we can, jump around and just go crazy. It's a fun show. I think that because we have four albums now, it almost turns into this greatest hits of all our songs."

While their latest tracks get stuck in your head, it just seems we can't keep our hands off them.

"They are the biggest international act that we have had and it sold out in just over three weeks," said The Venue's Tim Pellegrino.

"The live music market is alive and thriving and 2012 is the biggest year for live music in Townsville. We have already done quite well in the last six months with some of the biggest touring acts coming through.

"The live music scene has improved tenfold in the past few years."

This year has already brought some of the biggest names in the music industry including Brisbane's Dead Letter Circus, indie-rockers Boy and Bear, Butterfly Effect and Pete Murray.

"Boy and Bear played to about 850 people when they came on a Thursday night in Townsville, that was double the audience they played in Mackay the night before," Mr Pellegrino said.

"We promote the city and not the venue to get people to play up here.

"The bands will be playing to a different crowd and exposing themselves to another market that doesn't see much live music generally.

"If Townsville can show other bands we are a solid market, we will get heaps more acts coming up North."

For Mr Pellegrino it was about educating the musical taste buds of the city after the live music scene was suffering just years ago.

"Bombay Rock closed its doors, and that was a fair indication of how live music was going," he said.

"The Exchange Hotel used to be there for live music and again, it has closed its doors and really there is just The Venue, The Uni Club and a couple more places that offer live music in the city."

But it is the local up and coming artists including Fifth Day of Ice, Ire and Tabi Sari that has cemented and injected talent into the North.

"We have really strong local artists that are pulling their weight and there is a really great crop of talented musicians in town," he said.

"For every show that we do, we do local acts as well and make sure we have local original artists - those people who are writing their own songs and not getting paid."

And with popular folk-indie singer Xavier Rudd and Australian blues-jazz singer Lanie Lane playing Townsville in August, watch this space for more music to come. - Townsville Bulletin

Twenty bands to blast off at JCU's The Club for Saturday's festival opener, writes Barbara Lynch

YOU have survived the first few days of O-Week ... but don't worry, there is a music festival boasting some of the hottest acts in Australia to look forward to.

2012 promises to be a massive year at The Club at James Cook University and it kicks off with an O-Week Festival on Saturday.

There will be 20 bands and 10 DJs as well as a graffiti exhibition in the beer garden.

Included in the line-up is the Funkoars from Adelaide, Kuranda hip hop reggae band Zennith, West Australians Bombs Away and Melbourne's Bam Bam.

Locally there is DNA, Johnny Row, Why Wait, Solex, Lonesome Trio, Tabi Sari, Kimberley Dawn and the Bad Men and The Solemn Prophets from Cairns.

It's a family affair for Zennith with dad Willie Brim, sons Aden and Astro and Isaac Crowley and Lindsay Snider.

Zennith started touring in 2007 and released its debut album Nothin' To Lose in 2010.

The band infuses hip hop reggae with a brass section of trumpet and saxophone, which they will debut to Townsville audiences during the O-Week gig.

"It's the first time we've played with a brass section outside of Cairns and we can't wait," Willie said.

Singing, playing and writing together has proved a winning formula for the Brim family.

"It can be hard sometimes but we have a thing called unconditional love for each other," he joked.

Zennith describes its music as Kuranda reggae and said nowhere else could you hear the same tunes as theirs.

The band is proud of its Aboriginal heritage and live in the scrub in Bulwai Country in Kuranda.

Meanwhile, Joel Chamaa, aka Bam Bam, is also on the line-up.

He said a lot of his fans didn't know he was a break dancer as well as vocalist and lyricist.

"I love to include flips or spins in a show, they have no idea," he laughed.

It's been a busy past few years for Bam Bam, who is happy to ride the wave of success as long as it lasts.

He collaborated with 360 on the single Died This Way. "That gave me a lot of exposure and the ball has been moving since."

Bam Bam doesn't refer to himself as a hip hop artist, rather as someone who works with dub step and electronic-sounding beats.

>> The O-Week festival is on Saturday from noon. It is an 18+ event, tickets cost $35 and are available online at or in local outlets Skin Ski and Surf, The Sweatshop and The Club at JCU. Or they are $25 at the door for Student Association members. - Townsville Bulletin

Blue King Brown are no strangers to Townsville.

The Melbourne-based urban roots band blew through the city last year with John Butler Trio, The Cat Empire and Mama Kin for the Union of Soul concert.

"That show was great," said vocalist Natalie Pa'apa'a.

"We're all really good friends from playing so many shows and festivals together, so it was a bit of a family celebration of sorts.

"We did that show then supported John Butler Trio on the rest of their April Uprising tour."

Pa'apa'a said fans would still get a lot from their show next weekend.

"We're really happy to come back to Townsville with our full show this time," she said.

"It's really difficult when you're supporting somebody and have a 40-minute slot to fill.

"Touring as a headliner gives you more artistic control and allows you to really give fans the full live music experience."

On tour for their Worldwize Part One (North & South) tour, Pa'apa'a spoke to Savvy from their first stop in Byron Bay yesterday.

"We've just had a couple of days in Byron, the weather has been absolutely stunning, so we've been doing interviews and a little bit of work in between soaking it all up," she said.

"We have a show here tomorrow night, before we continue up the east coast."

The band has spent several months on the road, including performances at Canadian Music Week, South by South West in Texas and Babel Med in France.

"We're pretty busy for the foreseeable future," Pa'apa'a said.

"We finish up this awesome Worldwize tour in Australia, then head over to Canada in support of the release there through our label in Montreal.

"We've also got some shows lined up in the United States with Michael Franti and Spearhead and this amazing band called Dispatch, then we'll probably head over to Europe for the summer festivals before heading back home to finish Worldwize Part Two."

Pa'apa'a claimed Europe as one of her favourite places in the world to tour.

"I love my island, Samoa, it's a really nice place to be, really relaxed," she said.

"As far as touring goes, Europe is great.

"I guess because there are so many countries with different languages and cultures and food and art so close together, it's a really amazing journey, I'm really feeling the spirit and vibe over there at the moment.

"I also just had a friend move in, she's from France, so she's been teaching me a bit of the language and culture at home."

Pa'apa'a said she was dedicated to learning French, along with Spanish and Japanese.

"Spanish has come quite easily to me, I'm part-Mexican although I didn't really grow up with that - my father's - side of the family," she said.

"French is not only a beautiful language, it's spoken in so many places around the world.

"French Polynesia and some of the Pacific islands, parts of Europe and Africa, Canada - French is actually the national language in a lot of places we're touring to, so it made sense to learn how to speak it."

>> Blue King Brown will perform at the Seaview Hotel next Sunday, 29 May, supported by Bandawalla Moons, Tabi Sari and DJ Red. Tickets are $30 (plus booking fee) pre-sale from, Revolver, Skin Ski & Surf and Cre8ive Sk8. - Townsville Bulletin

A stimulating Q&A format will give up-and-coming musicians some industry know-how, writes Jade Kennedy

Budding independent musicians will have an opportunity to learn from and rub shoulders with some of the industry's biggest names in Townsville next weekend.

Workshop facilitator Paul Finn, an independent musician himself working under the name Tabi Sari, will host the forum alongside Carl Gardiner, managing director of Mushroom Marketing, and touring blues 'n' roots musician Ash Grunwald.

"I've been wanting to put on a music industry workshop in Townsville to assist the growth of the music community here in Townsville and in North Queensland," Finn said. "I am passionate about this, it is part of the reason why I'm enrolled in an honours project researching independent musicianship at JCU this year.

"I hatched the idea with Carl about three years ago, then two years ago Mushroom Marketing supported my Regional Arts Development Fund application and we were successful.

"The reason why it has taken so long is a long story, suitable while drinking an ice-cold beer, but for now the most important thing is that it is finally happening."

The workshop will take a Q&A format in which the audience will be able to ask questions of the key speakers.

> The Music Industry Workshop will be held on Saturday, September 3 at JCU's School of Creative Arts, Building 302 - room 016 from 3pm until 5pm.

Entry is free. - Townsville Bulletin

Life has certainly changed for local musician Paul Finn since he first picked up a guitar a decade ago.

In fact, even his name has changed.

Finn now performs under the pseudonym Tabi Sari - a name with a special meaning for the Home Hill native.

"I went to Vanuatu with a friend from there a couple of years ago," Finn said.

"He took me to his village on this tiny island in the middle of the Pacific, where we stayed for about 10 days.

"When we left, I was given my own village name, which was Tabi Sari."

Finn said he thought the name a perfect fit when he decided to go solo as a musician.

"I was keen on trying the solo thing with my guitar and a loop station, and was thinking of using my own name for it, then started thinking of stuff that meant something to me that I could work under," he said.

"Tabi Sari came to mind, and I thought it would be a good fit for the vibe of the music I was getting into, but had to speak to my friend about using the name with respect to the village.

"My friend said it was my name, now, and of course I could use it if I wanted to, so I went ahead as Tabi Sari."

Music is in Finn's blood - his mother is a piano teacher, though Finn said the instrument never really appealed to him.

"We always had a piano at home when I was growing up, and I tried to get into it for a while but I just couldn't," he said.

Finn is now completing his honours in independent musicianship at university.

"My research is based around what opportunities exist for independent musicians in regional Australia," he said.

"I've been speaking with everyone from locals in the industry to the Managing Director for Mushroom Records.

"The question is really how do you create a viable business as a musician, rather than just saying, 'I'm a muso and can play guitar like a mother-f***er'.

"It has so far been quite an eye-opening experience.

"The MD from Mushroom, for example, told me he's had many setbacks and it's only been through people helping him that got him into that role.

"I'd recommend that anyone serious about getting into the music industry really does their research and makes contact with people that can share the right knowledge, even if only for a few minutes over the phone."

Finn has been selected to support Blue King Brown this weekend at the Seaview Hotel.

"Supporting Blue King Brown is a pretty big deal," he said.

"I've been thinking about it a lot and I've actually put a poster on my wall to try and make it sink in a bit.

"Seeing my name beside Blue King Brown every day isn't doing much to make it seem real, though.

"Remember way back in primary school, when you looked up at the high school kids and they just seemed so much bigger and more developed than you, they could run faster and jump higher and do everything better than you?

"That's kind of how I'm feeling right now looking at Blue King Brown - they're the high school kids and I'm sitting in primary school hoping to one day be like that."

>> Tabi Sari will support Blue King Brown at the Seaview Hotel this Sunday.
- Townsville Bulletin

Some distance and perspective now on our first Australian tour in 2 years, with our new album "Temptation". At first it felt strange to be back at it. If I am honest it took about 2 weeks for me to feel completely comfortable being onstage again. The usual doubts heightened by the fact it had been so long between tours. Coupled with the realisation that we'd been treading this water for 19 years. Are we gonna sink or swim?

I can't really put into words the gratitude I feel, so I won't. The tour was a resounding success. Overall I got a real sense of people's lives, stories and that they had come to hear music that held a place in there.

History, what a trip it all is.

Our old touring van found a new home with Sarah a long time listener, supporter and friend. Kick her over and her call Beryl, she was a beauty in her day.

We tried to create the "Brief History" cover by crawling in there for a photo but we have.....thickened up and it was too much of a tight squeeze. See photos of us looking decidedly unwaif-like. Funny.
Good to see some fiery debate and comments flying around about religion, performances etc..

We deservedly copped some critisicsm from Tasmanian followers for calling it a national tour and leaving out the national treasure. Tasmania and some of the rural centres were left off the schedule when due to personal circumstances our 8 week tour had to be cut back 2 weeks. Hopefully we can make a festival gig down there sometime.

The unexpected highlights for me were - the Freo show (almost unbeatable), our first trip to Bundaberg, the Townsville Uni Beer garden, the Tanks Arts Centre in Cairns and the Darwin ski club. Those end of tour shows that were a blast . Finishing up in our 'birthplace" Broome had a poignant vibe. Playing Crazy Train for the last time for me was a relief, my unborn child was not digging the groove and let me know it. With my swollen belly and ankles I made quite a spectacle up there, detracting from the music with my huffing and puffing. After six weeks it was good to have a lie down.

I know those of you who got to hear Mama Kin on tour were suitably seduced. As we were we. Great act to warm up to, hard act to follow. Thanks Daniella, Michael and George.

Also to Tinpan Orange (Noah says hey), Big Old Bears, Jess Ribeiro (feeling better yet?), Ruby Boots, Nicky Bomba, Kate Martin, Tabi Sari and The Mc Menamins.

Of the eve of it's USA and UK release 'Temptation' already feels in the past here. I loved playing these songs live. As a band we've become intuitive. Rising and falling as a song dictates. I can hear that on this recording. In it first week of release the album debuted at number 3 on the Australian charts, held respectable positions in the weeks following. We were floored as we pay zero attention to that sort of thing. What does it mean? I suppose with all our deliberating on whether to release another album I (we?) felt it was the right decision. That people were still listening.
Cool. We may make 20 years yet.

take care
Vikki - The Waifs

The YouTube story of the little engine that rolled over 300000 km!

A few months ago, a relatively unknown musician decided to load up the old car and head north. Being unknown, Tabi Sari has a good following developing as he plays gigs in various places in north Queensland.

‘To be honest, in the beginning I didn’t know what I was doing. All I wanted to do was play music and try something fresh. I really couldn’t believe my luck when I scored regular gigs at a café overlooking the beach in Port Douglas. A chef that worked at the café had purchased my demo CD and was playing it while he worked. There was a smile from ear to ear when the manager invited me to play, promising not only money, but also food from the menu and iced coffee. I love iced coffee, it was a little dream come true!’

After three months playing guitar in Port Douglas, the musical stint was somewhat completed with his first appearance at the Mission Evolve Music Festival. The tropical style of Tabi Sari went down as a real treat. The festival was located near Mission Beach, in the middle of Australia’s largest remaining population of cassowaries.

‘I’ve never really been to a style of festival like this before. It was pumping! The bands were mostly local to north Queensland, with a few independent artists that tour here regularly. On the way to the festival, my little car clicked over 300,000 km. I grew up with this car. It’s old and I’ve had heaps of trouble with it recently. I thought it might die soon. I was proud of my car when it finally reached a new milestone. With some irony, it happened on my way to Mission Evolve. I took some photos of it, and made a little photo/video about it and put it up on YouTube. The response has been positive and supportive!’

Although he is born and raised in north Queensland, the name Tabi Sari actually comes from Vanuatu. He was given the name when he travelled to his friend’s village, where he stayed with the family for a short time.

‘At first they wanted to set up the room with electricity and other comforts from home, but I told them it wasn’t needed. It was a real eye opener to see people living their lives completely differently to the way I live mine. They live what I would consider a grounded life. They live off the land and grow their own food sustainably. They work hard, but they laugh and have fun when doing it. We taught the kids different games and I learned some of theirs. They were welcoming and even though two years has past, I still feel connected to them as my extended family.’
To see what the fuss is about, Google ‘Tabi Sari Mission Evolve’. Or you can also contact Tabi Sari on Facebook or go to <>. - Artgaze Townsville Art's Magazine

A LIFE-CHANGING visit to Vanuatu left Paul Finn with memories for a lifetime and a new name.

Finn was given the name Tabi Sari after he and a friend visited a remote village on Pentecost Island in Vanuatu more than 18 months ago.

Sari grew up in Home Hill and has returned after spending the winter months playing gigs in Cairns and Port Douglas.

Using an acoustic guitar and loop pedal he creates a groovy sound.

"I just kind of hook up to a loop station and try to represent what I'm feeling through the guitar," Sari said.

"There's always a big freestyle element to what I do."

Sari does sing but usually sticks to playing the instruments.

He played rhythm guitar and was the lead singer in the band Hufkas before going solo earlier this year.

"I didn't have a lead guitarist anymore or anyone on the bass or drums. I had to develop my own style and the rhythm had to be strong enough to support itself," he said.

Sari started experimenting with the loop pedal.

"I thought it was pretty cool and we were starting to make music," he said.

He said being a solo musician was challenging.

"It all comes down to you."

He has released a self-titled demo CD with songs including Name it Later which reflects his time in Vanuatu. "It's about that don't worry attitude, we'll do it later mentality in Vanuatu," the musician said.

Lost in Transition is about being between jobs and Work Related has a bluesy feel and is a bit 'harder' than the others.

Sari recorded four songs on his demo tape and also put together a multimedia presentation of his experience from the Mission Beach Evolve Festival.

"It was my first festival appearance as Tabi Sari and on the way to the festival the car I was driving clicked over 300,000km.

"It made me laugh thinking I was going to the festival for the first time and the same weekend my car reached a commendable milestone," Sari said.

"For me this festival is special. It evokes spirit through music and I'm not the only one to feel it."

To view Tabi Sari's multimedia presentation go to >>Tabi Sari will perform at Townsville Musos and Performing Art Space at Picnic Bay Surf Life Savers Club on The Strand on December 2 from 7.30pm.
- Townsville Bulletin


Tabi Sari is currently working on his next CD due out at the end of 2012.

The Pre-emptive demo was released on the 23rd of March 2011 when Tabi Sari supported The Waifs in Townsville.

The Pre-emptive Demo has a massive 9 tracks and is aimed at showcasing some of Tabi Sari's skills as a musician.

Tracks include

1. Work Unrelated
2. Big Heart Japan (listen on Myspace)
3. End of an Era
4. Something New
5. Jack in the Box (listen on Myspace)
6. Work Related
7. Name it Later
8. Three Ships are on the Ocean
9. Lost in Transition



Tabi Sari channels tropical feelings and raw emotions through an acoustic guitar and loop station. Creating grooves that are simultaneously pumping and relaxing, Tabi Sari explores Blues, Rock, Folk, Reggae and Slide styles. With an exciting freestyle approach, Tabi Sari layers rhythm guitar, bass, percussion, lead, slide and vocals to create a rich atmosphere. This young performer has much to offer anyone regardless of genre preferences. Whether you want to kick back and take it easy, or maybe you're more inclined to shake your Buddha bum to the beats... anything goes when Tabi Sari loosens your mojo and breaks down your barriers.

Although Tabi Sari is relatively new to the scene, a tour of NQ including festival performances in 2010 has seen the local media kicking up a fuss about his creative style. He supported The Waifs on their Temptation tour in Townsville where he released his latest recordings on his Pre-emptive Demo which includes a massive 9 tracks. He was successful in securing a spot to support Blue King Brown when they venture to Townsville on May 29, 2011. He is a busy bee musically, being an honours student at JCU researching Independent Musicianship and his EP is due out in late 2011. Come and be a part of music that will make you smile, relax, dance, boogie and/or appreciate something important to you. It's always inspirational to see a musician in love with music and exploring it with the world.