Story Archive

eSwag-21

BUZZ ... BABBLE ... BUBBLE ... BURRA ... BACKHOUSE

Posted on July 5, 2012 by
Raymond
on the road at
Burra South Australia
Paxton cottages caption Palings in Light Paxtons Cottages Duttons Trough Unicorn Brewery Burra Lake Midnight Oil House Burra Stone Wall Old Wall Ruins Catholic Church Outside Burra Cafe Tommie outside Burra Burra Fresh Galahs in Flight Sheep Burra Town Hall & Church Gums Creek Town Hall caption Burra Building Equus Paddock Gum Boat in a Paddock Equus Gallaways Pepper Tree Burra Road Sheep Mary & Friend Lamas at Sunset Hallet Tommie at Midnight Oil House The road east Thislebeds Ruins in B&W Ruins in B&W Old Mine Shearers Shearers Will Quinn Baaaaa! Pastorale Pastorale Pastorale current photos »

The only thing I'd change about the quaint South Australian town of Burra is the name. Well not so much change it as double it. Burra feels like one groom at a same sex marriage. Surely the founding fathers could have stretched the nomenclature to Burra Burra. Like Bang Bang in Queensland or Wagga Wagga or Moon Moon Lake in New South Wales. 

When I arrived here for the first time I did the normal tourist dance and visited the local real estate agent. I won't be settling anywhere for a long time but If I did then Burra would be just perfect. It's just two days to the Alice, a couple of hours to Adelaide or Broken Hill, a fair day to Melbourne and a big one to Sydney with a bit of a skip over the Nullabour to Perth. 

As gold was to Bendigo and indecipherable lyrics were to James Reyne, coffee is to Burra. Great cafes can make a town when accompanied by good bookstores, antiques and museums. The old buildings of the town's centre don't peter out like a Hollywood set but remain true to the founding architecture. There are village greens, rock walls, a babbling brook, nooks, associated crannies, statues like the one of the digger in the square who stands as solitary as the town's name. 

On each of my three previous trips to this place I have wished I could run a program or workshop. Especially when I discovered Paxton Cottages by the creek where thirty old miners cottages surround a green quadrangle begging for a marquis in which breakfasts are served. But what?

And then it hit me .... it hit me in a way that I'd never been hit before:

A Gospel a Capella Festival with Tony Backhouse ...  BACKHOUSE DOES BURRA.

Tom and I are here in Burra right now. I am relieved that ideas can still sometimes flow with neither fuss nor bureaucracy, like the brook that babbles in front of the cottages. Within a week the idea has babbled, bubbled and some another 'B' word I can't think of right now.  The old theatre, where the Choir will perform for the local community, is booked. The Paxton Cottages are available.

Local historians, who lovingly try to revive the memory of Welsh miners brought in from Cornwall when copper was discovered, will lead daily walks and tell their stories.

The Town Hall will convert into a picture theatre nightly and the soundtracks of films like The Big Chill will be sung along to. The ladies from Burra Fresh will cater breakfast and lunch and the Seven Hill Winery in the Clare Valley, where Austrian Jesuits have made wines since 1851, will be visited. 

This is a new direction for Into the Blue. As the Electronic Swagman I just happened upon the place. Luck and chance are to be my new guides. The Backhouse does Burra Festival will be both a personal and a business re-invention.

So in March next year, BURRA WILL BUZZ. That's the other 'B' word.

The sounds of homesick Welshmen would have once filled this valley. A hundred years or so later, voices will again be raised in song.

We want a Festival where a hundred people fill the old cottages as well as the local restaurants at night;  then fill the auditorium with beautiful sounds and the souls of all present with joy. We want YOU. 

BUZZ ... BABBLE ... BUBBLE ... BURRA ... BACKHOUSE

JOIN US!

PRELIMINARY BROCHURE OUT SOON - DATES FIRMING LIKE CEMENT AS WE SPEAK. PROBABLY AROUND THE SECOND WEEK OF MARCH 2013. 

Comments
Post Comment
Clarissa
Reply
I will be there with bells on .... C
Raymond
Reply
Great Clarisaa. I hold you to that and the bells. c ya Raymond
Olga
Reply
Burra is a great place. Passing through next week on way to Alice Springs.
Raymond
Reply
Hey Olga. If you need a place to stay Id suggest the Paxtons Cottages. They are great. Safe Travels.
Anne Looby
Reply
Hallelujah brother Raymond - I am there!!!! Can think of nothing better than singing gospel with 100 people in Burra, drinking fine Barrossa wine and eating fine food at Burra Fresh and and and ... can't wait!!!
Raymond
Reply
Hallelujah Sister Looby. Continuaing on the theme, the churches are amazing as well to sing in. Glad you like the idea. R
Susan
Reply
I missed The Quiet...I won't miss Burra!! As long as voice challenged are welcome?!
Raymond
Reply
Excellent. You don't have to be able to sing .. just to want to. Glad you are coming.
Sally
Reply
great idea, Raymond...I think uni will get in the way for me, but I will be there in spirit.
Raymond
Reply
Buggar the spirit. We want you in person. Take four days off Sally. Raymond
Prue
Reply
Hi Raymond,Thanks for putting me on your newsletter list. (Now I finally get the skincare references !!)†LOVE the photos.Thanks again for a wonderful desert choir week ... Great company, great singing, great places ! Maybe see you at Burra ? Prue
Raymond
Reply
Be GREAT to see you in Burra. The WOMAD Festival is on from 9-11 March and then we will go from the 12-17 March. Perfect. Raymond
Catherine Horan
Reply
G'day Raymond - this Burra sounds like a paradise, clearly you were directed there - an evening star perhaps? †Could a person who has no singing ability whatsoever join in - how do you feel about mimers, or what's it called, lip-sync: is that it?
Raymond
Reply
Miners are fine. Truly. I have people who cant sing a note join groups of 15 and they sound wonderful.I won't name them of course. I have a theory that for a sound to have tru pathos and depth it cant be inhabited only by great singers. It ends up sounding like a choral version of Switzerland. Too perfect. I promise the hair on the back of your neck will stand up when you start singing in Burra. Look forward to hearing about your Writers Festival as well. Ill give it a plug on the blog of you like. Raymond
Liz
Reply
Sounds like a lot of Fun - I'm keen, WOMADelaide runs 8th-11th of March (not the 9th) so I reckon that will make a great excuse to visit the rellies and the gospel family. See you there. Liz
Raymond
Reply
Hey Liz. Thanks for the WOMAD tip. Its a great combo. Cheers Raymond
Sarah Lambert
Reply
Oh boy this really sounds fab. I'm not long back from Big Desert Sing (Alice Springs) and a bit addicted. Am a complete diva however. Do you have spots for loud sopranos??? As well as the non-singers and lip syncers (whom i also adore when i am blessed to have them in my own choirs...) ?
Raymond
Reply
Hi Sarah.. I have a theory. That a truly great sound is full of every type of voice, good and bad, beautiful and lip synched. Love to have you. Raymond
Shaunna O'Grady
Reply
This sounds fantastic! I don't know if I can swing it, but I'll give it a try. Would love to be part of this. Will be watching this space!
Raymond
Reply
Swing it ... if you swing nothing else next year -SWING THIS. It will be brilliant. Raymond
Willyhunsaker
Reply
Are you still doing this Burra Buzz?  Sounds like heaven.