It was Friday the 13th and Music of Joy was full of bubbling enthusiasm on their arrival in the nation’s capital for the Multicultural Festival that weekend. The logistical challenges of transporting around 30 people and associated equipment from Sydney to Canberra, by road, had been met and, with a tinge of defiance, MOJ and their support team were ‘feeling lucky’.
On Saturday morning the band kicked off by playing energetically in Belconnen Mall for four hours. If you’ve never seen people dancing ecstatically in a shopping centre, keep an eye out for MOJ’s next mall performance! A boy flying paper planes during the breaks provided a spontaneous testimony to the uplifting mood that the music had helped to create.
That night, MOJ relaxed and kicked up their heels to the preceding artists at the Multicultural Festival, before taking to the stage themselves around 10pm. In a short time, crowds of young dancers were joining some of the more ‘interesting’ late night characters that had materialised on the dance floor while the band was setting up! The mood was contagious as the large group of enthusiastic musicians and their audience overflowed with immense joy and a collective celebration of life.
On Sunday afternoon, Music of Joy was back at the Festival joining the huge crowd there on a beautiful summer’s day. Brightly coloured flags from around the world were fluttering in the breeze, representing people from many different countries who call Australia home, while echoing the multicultural roots of the band itself. Tall leafy trees sheltered the crowd from the heat of the sun and added so much beauty to the festive scene.
An unexpected schedule change proved to be a bonus when MOJ was invited to deliver a more intimate performance in the midst of the festival, on the grass under the trees, rather than on an outlying stage in the blazing sun. Later, the band gathered in preparation for their final scheduled performance, this time on a beautiful, well equipped stage in a leafy setting on the relaxed periphery of the bustling festival grounds.
Under a bright green leafy canopy, MOJ and the gathered audience was inspired by the preceding artist, Russian singer-songwriter ‘Innessa’, who finished her set with the stirring folk classic ‘Kalinka’. Meanwhile, just near the stage, a group of Chinese musicians were warming up in a small tent. The young girls played their harps with impressive skill and finesse while their teacher led them on a traditional stringed instrument. The atmosphere was filled with the wonderful diversity of music and dance that was the hallmark of the Festival.
The final piece fell into place as MOJ mounted the stage and began their sound check. The delightfully enthusiastic and highly professional festival sound crew now played their part in bringing musicians and audience together, helping to draw out a rapturous performance and ensuring that Music of Joy lived up to their name once more.