Reinvigorating Melbourne’s local music scene one session at a time.
It’s not often you have the opportunity to pay witness to a wholly local event. So often, venues innocently forgo local artists and shows for something interstate or global. Chapel Summer Sessions’ 2021 edition offers a much welcomed initiative, with six Melbourne artists set to return to the stage, stripped-back and acoustic.
Located – as the name suggests – just off Chapel Street, Chapel Off Chapel humbly houses memories of legends, including Coldplay and Foo Fighters. The ethereal space is an intimate reprieve, a moment of bliss only doors down from the bustling epicentre of Prahran.
Chapel Summer Sessions 2021 runs from March 20 to 28, featuring the jazz-funk luminary Nai Palm, powerful lyricism of rapper Jerome Farah and explosive soul-food courtesy of Cool Out Sun. Also on the bill are the 20-year-old powerhouse, Steph Strings, the Pierce Brothers, who are currently touring their latest album, and the indie-folk band, Husky.
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Seeing this event develop from its infancy into adolescence, Chapel Off Chapel’s marketing and producer liaison officer, Ibrahim Mustafa, finds special poignancy in this year’s sessions.
“I’m pretty proud that it’s all come together. We’ve got six acts – all totally local from Melbourne – this year, none of which have performed at Chapel Off Chapel before. We chose to keep it local to ensure our audience had the confidence knowing that the show would go on, regardless of border closures.”
In this year’s lineup, we’re privy to the groovy tunes of Nai Palm, whose music has been sampled and used by the likes of Drake, Anderson.Paak and Kendrick Lamar. 27-year-old Jerome Farah blasted onto the scene as the former lead for Jakubi, with a voice that can send you to the stratosphere in 0.3 seconds.
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Wading through the aftermath of 2020, the fact that we can continue to enjoy immersive experiences like Chapel Summer Sessions is the good news we’ve been waiting for. Mustafa says it couldn’t have been possible without the local council.
“We are super lucky to be wholeheartedly supported by the City of Stonnington to keep the arts alive throughout the pandemic, and they have also backed us up for these upcoming 2021 sessions,” he says.
“Stonnington have really gotten behind us to ensure this year’s sessions are bigger and better than ever.”
Mustafa and his team quickly switched gears amidst the pandemic in March 2020, with the sole focus of keeping Chapel’s audiences and artists connected. Alongside a highly-anticipated release of full sets from artists, including neo-folk musician Kyle Lionhart, Chapel also introduced Melbourne to, ‘Check In With Chapel’ and ‘Friday Night Caps At Chapel’.
Averaging 300 viewers on every livestream of ‘Check In With Chapel’ and over 700 households on Zoom for ‘Friday Night Caps At Chapel’, both virtual experiences sought to give opportunity to musicians, comedians and cabaret performers. Audience members engaged in a fully interactive show, where living room boogie sessions were encouraged and celebrated.
“Even though we werent there in reality, we were there in a virtual sense. It was so crazy seeing all these different households come together and party with us from their living room,” Mustafa exclaims.
“Friday Night Caps also featured the likes of comedian, Nazeem Hussain. We jumped into the audience all the time to interact and engage.”
Chapel’s virtual efforts didn’t go unnoticed, receiving nominations in Time Out’s ‘Time In Awards’, where voters celebrated the best responses to the 2020 lockdown in Melbourne.
To experience the intimacy and rarity that is Chapel Off Chapel, check out Reece Mastin, as he combines rock’n’roll with one hell of an angelic voice.
Chapel Summer Sessions runs from Saturday March 20 to Sunday March 28 at Chapel Off Chapel. Tickets and the full program can be purchased directly from the venue’s website.