Language barriers make understanding someone more difficult than any of us would like. But when that person has such a passion in their voice, it's hard to ignore it. Speaking with me about the new experimental collaboration, Visible Sounds , Ethio-Jazz musician, Daniel Atlaw confessed that, without this opportunity, he doesn't believe that he'd be where he is today - playing with his band, J-Azmaris, amongst many other musical projects. Despite moments where, at times, those language barriers seemed more evident than others in our conversation, Daniel's passion for the music that he plays spoke for itself.
"I've been with working with Visible for the last four seasons - with different bands, this year with my band, J-Azmaris," he said.
"It's been really helpful especially when I first came to this country [where I didn't] know where I [was] going to play music. It was really hard to get the chance to play music and get your music out there in the Australian music industry, so [the Visible project] has really helped me in the music industry and [to get my music out], and to get people to listen to my music. So yeah, I think a lot of things [have helped me]...It's opened my eyes for Australia and the music industry."
Despite studying at and graduating from an Ethiopian music school, Daniel's good grace in the music industry came to be upon his arrival in Australia.
"In 2007, I came to Australia - that was the first time I [had ever been] to Australia, and I've been living here [since]. I've been playing music with different bands - another Ethiopian band, and J-Azmaris - my band, is Ethio-Jazz, and...I used to play with another band, as well as some other Ethiopian musicians. I'm also teaching music here privately."
Having recently just returned from a trip back to Ethiopia, where he was assisting other musicians and touring with Derek The Ambassador, Daniel states that his time back in Ethiopia was a rewarding one.
"We had a really good time in Ethiopia! It was fantastic to exchange the cultures and [get the] Australian musicians to [get to know about] Ethiopian culture, and Ethiopian music and dance. We were working with the national theatre of musicians and the students there, so there was work with them and the Australian musicians. [It was good because] there [we were] creating a network between the Australian musicians and the Ethiopian musicians, and we were exchanging a lot of experience with Australian musicians."
"It was very successful because a lot of people didn't know about our gigs and our programs, so yeah. That was our tour in Ethiopia."
But despite Daniel's success thus far, he maintains that it all wouldn't have happened without his association with the Visible program.
"I've [been given] a chance to promote my music and show people my music...generally, I wouldn't get that chance, and [without my involvement in Visible], I probably wouldn't be able to play here like I do now - playing with two or three different bands. That's how I met all of these other musicians, through the Visible [program], and my travels."
"[Visible has] given me a lot of opportunity to advertise myself in Australia, [and has given me] a lot of chance to perform and...to promote myself to the audience. As well as that, they also encourage me to do a lot of projects, and that's encouraged me to do this tour program too, because if I wasn't being involved in music, and I didn't stay in the music industry, I wouldn't even plan to do this project, The Light On The Moon. [Doing this] has encouraged me to do more projects, like this kind of thing and to make it. You know, if I didn't get this chance, I have a feeling that I'd be lost. It's very hard to go to a studio and record your music - it costs a lot of money... so, if I didn't get those chances, I wouldn't even be playing music, and I wouldn't get the chance to be a musician. But now, I'm planning the next project for next year and I'm encouraged to do these kinds of projects and it's all because of the Visible project."
J-Azmaris plays at the Visible 6 CD Launch on Saturday November 26. It takes place at CERES Environment Park from 12pm - 6pm. They'll also play at Visible Sessions on Friday December 16 at The Arts Centre, visit multiculturalarts.com.au for more information.