The Idea of North

Saturday 12th October 2019, 7.45pm


The Yass Music Club concluded its very successful 2019 season with two exceptional concerts. The first from The Idea Of North in the Memorial Hall on Saturday, 12th October and the second from the RAG Holmes Scholars in St Clements Church on the following day.

The Idea Of North  brought their passionate ‘Ballads by Candlelight’ to Yass in a concert presented in association with Musica Viva Australia. It explored songs of love lost and found, reconciliation and breakdown, heartache and joy – a veritable kaleidoscope of human emotion in music. The audience is invited to be there to hear these five exceptional singers pour theirs and others’ hearts out in song in a moving performance that  is both amusing, heartbreaking and beautifully uplifting all at once. A wonderfully emotional, musical journey!

The Idea of North is a quintet of a cappella  musicians, serious about their music without taking themselves too seriously and renowned for their easy rapport. Soprano Emma Rule, alto Naomi Crellin, tenor Nicholas Begbie, bass Luke Thompson and vocal percussionist Kai Kitamura tell stories through arresting vocal arrangements and all without touching an regular musical instrument.

‘The range of sounds and colours we explore with our voices is vast, so one thing you can look forward to is hearing voices perform in ways they’ve never heard before,’ promises tenor Nick Begbie. ‘Emulating instruments, colour tone ranging from dark to delightfully twangy, and a whole range of emotions. We aim to extract both laughter and tears from our audiences. It will be an aural experience like no other!’

Kai is the latest member to join the group as a vocal percussionist in this most highly awarded and best loved contemporary a cappella group  with its beautifully distinct sound and style, which crosses many musical genres: jazz, folk, gospel, pop, classical, comedy – “Exactly what you see and hear at a concert is difficult to describe” they say “but they’re certain you’ll love it”.

Kai is an incredible artist who can create all the sounds of a full-size acoustic drum set as well as a plethora of other percussive sounds and sound effects. An amazing addition to TION, we can expect to hear more of Kai as the TION  artists work to collaborate with him as a pioneering figure in ‘Mouth drumming’, and for his outstanding ability to realistically vocalizing the sounds of a drum kit, in order to provide the full rhythm section necessary for his projects and groups. He’s developed his own vocal percussion style characterized by his signature sound methods and usage of Jazz drumming rhythms. He defines his style as “Jazz Vocal percussion”. He is also a fine bass singer who can vocalize rhythmic and harmonic walking bass lines. Two segments of the show were included to enable Kai to demonstrate his unique art and he, among other sounds, effortlessly  recreated a bullet train flashing by, driving a bus and taking off in a jet plane.

As the musicians drove down the Hume Highway towards Gundagai, they were  reminded of one of their sources in Jack O’Hagan, the composer of  ‘On the Road to Gundagai’ and ‘Our Don Bradman’ and they included at least one piece from his inspiration in their program, which included songs from their many CDs, including from their latest ‘Brick by Brick’ and there was even some doo wop and references to James Morrison.

They presented favourites such as ‘Both sides Now’ and ‘The Windmills of Your Mind’ and there was a very wide selection from the following repertoire: Alice In The Underground (Naomi Crellin); Animal Spirits  (Vulfpeck); Big Yellow Taxi (Joni Mitchell); Both Sides Now (Joni Mitchell); Dance Medley (Jack O’Hagan); Eleanor Rigby (The Beatles); Embraceable You (G & I Gershwin); Flame Trees (Cold Chisel); Fragile (Sting); How To Make Gravy (Paul Kelly); Hello (Adele); Heyr Himna (Trad); I Said No (Jo Lawry); I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today (Randy Newman); Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)  (Billy Joel); Mas Que Nada (Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66);  Money Medley (Various); Never Dreamed You’d Leave In Summer (Stevie Wonder); Not Perfect  (Tim Minchin); Rainbow Connection (The Muppets); Shower The People (James Taylor); Smile (Charlie Chaplin);Stoned Soul Picnic (Laura Nyro); The Cat (Mike Stewart & Naomi Crellin);  The Pirate’s Bride (Sting); Unclouded Day (Trad);  You’re Gonna Live Forever In Me (John Mayer) and a very catchy A-tisket A-tasket, I’ve lost my yellow basket from Emma. There should also be a special  recognition of ‘Jack’, who was volunteered by his ‘friends’ to become a sixth member of TION and he was placed, with his back to the audience, to conduct the artists by turn and which he did very well!

At Interval, after a delicious supper served by the Yass Hospital Auxiliary, the Music Club’s raffle was drawn for two ‘Brick by Brick’ CDs and  resulted in good fortune for Lyn Green and Spec Dean.

The appreciative audience gave The Idea of North a standing ovation for their performance and mention should also be made of the excellent sound and light provided by Sound Workshop of Canberra, which very effectively enhanced the show.

Brochures for 2020 were distributed and a reminder of those concerts is for 22nd February – Clemens Leske – Pianist;  28th March – Canberra Bach Ensemble;  21st June – Sarah Maclaine Jazz Trio;  16th August – Ay Pachanga – a salsa group from Musica Viva, sponsored by Dog Trap Vineyards and on 24th October – The Acacia Quartet also from Musica Viva and sponsored by the Holmes Family. All concerts are on Saturdays at 7.45pm with the exception of our June and August concerts which are on on Sundays at 2.00pm.

The RAG Holmes  Scholars Gold Coin Concert was also a great success, even though the attendance was disappointing, but we were very wonderfully entertained by the six young Scholars, Wendy Morton (Piano) taught by Margaret Hanson, Geena Elliot  (Voice) taught by Lane Moore and accompanied by Jackson Nash, Niahm Kelly (Piano) taught by Margaret Hanson, Tiernan Roberts (Guitar) taught by Bryan Hooley,  Becky Wright (Piano) taught by Margaret Hanson and Corinne Green (Saxophone) taught by Bryan Hooley. Ann Holmes has been their mentor and her time spent with them is much appreciated. The funds for their Scholarships come from the Glenlothian Educational Trust Fund and this fund allocation is administered by the Rotary Club of Yass and it is money well spent in the recognition and encouragement that it gives to these young musicians.

A reminder that the Crisp Galleries will feature Sophie Foster in a Yass Music Club Benefit Concert on Sunday, 17th November at 2.00pm. Cost $30.00 for members.

Brian Millett 15/10/19.


Another popular group returns in The Idea of North,
an Australian a cappella vocal ensemble founded
in Canberra in 1993 by Nick Begbie (tenor), Meg
Corson (alto), Trish Delaney-Brown(soprano) and
Andrew Piper (bass).In March 2002 Corson was replaced as alto by
Naomi Crellin. Delaney-Brown was replaced on
soprano in February 2007 by Sally Cameron.
They won the Best Jazz Album category at
the ARIA Music Awards of 2010 for Feels Like
Spring (collaboration with James Morrison) and
again in 2013 for Smile.
Presently the group comprises of;

Emma Rule: soprano
Naomi Crellin: alto
Nick Begbie: tenor
Luke Thompson: bass
Kaichiro Kitamura: vocal percussion