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Monthly Archives: September 2013

FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT TURNED SINGER ANGE TAKATS – GIFTED STORYTELLER HEADING FOR FNQ

Takats_press_ArvaI get to listen to a lot of music in my job at ABC Far North. There’s the music we play on air each day, all the new releases we consider for airplay, local performers pitching their songs, and the stuff I listen to in my spare time. It adds up to a truck-load every week, a warehouse full of songs in an average year. I think I’m really fortunate to have so much music around me, but it does mean I’m not easily impressed. A song, a performer, really has to have something special to stand out.

Today I listened to someone who did all of that, and more. Her name is Ange Takats.

She began as a folk singer, but her style has developed into a very catchy & engaging blend of 60s Americana folk and 1930s jazz, or as Ange puts it, “Joni Mitchell meets Billie Holiday with the Andrews Sisters on backing vocals”. The result is truly lovely music. And her songs tell great stories – true stories. Ange says she’s often asked at gigs if she made up the story in this song or that. No, that really happened, is the answer.

Ange had an unusual journey to becoming a performer. She was a journalist, who went to Thailand to be a foreign correspondent. Then there were elephants, whiskey, a Thai folk band and Aung San Suu Kyi. Like her songs, Ange’s journey from foreign correspondent to singer is a great story. LISTEN to my interview with Ange Takats here

Ange is heading to far north Queensland this weekend to perform at the Wallaby Creek Festival at Rossville, on the Bloomfield Track north of Cairns.

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2013 in Cairns Queensland, EFFINCUE, far north Queensland, music, rd on the road

 

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ABC FAR NORTH WILDLIFE MAN LAUNCHES NEW FIELD GUIDE TO CREATURES OF THE GREAT BARRIER REEF

DSC_0161Our ABC Far North wildlife correspondent Martin Cohen is once again a published author – and if you’re thinking about a trip to the Great Barrier Reef, take a copy of his latest book with you.

Martin launched 101 Animals of the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns this morning. It’s the latest in a series of field guides to the creatures of tropical far north Queensland put together since 2009 by Martin and his late partner Julia Cooper.

All the birds, mammals, fish, corals & reptiles you’ll see on the Reef are illustrated and there’s information and stories about them. It’s about to become available at tour operators and book shops in Cairns and Townsville, and will be available online here

LISTEN to my interview with Martin here

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Posted by on September 17, 2013 in Cairns Queensland, Coral Sea, EFFINCUE, environment, far north Queensland, wildlife and animals, Wildlife Martin Cohen

 

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GURRUMUL IN CAIRNS THIS SUNDAY – TONY HILLIER’S WORLD OF MUSIC

GurrWords are my tools of trade – and I like to think I have the words to do justice to any subject. But I confess I struggle to find the words that convey the magic of Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu and the music he makes. Five or so years ago he came to Cairns and performed live on my radio show. I sat there transfixed as he sang and played guitar, seemingly without effort, and created a sound that goes beyond music. I still struggle to describe what I felt in that tiny studio that day – but I am certain I witnessed a rare and unique talent exercising his musical gift in a way that seemed to transcend the human condition but was brimming with humanity.

His story is now well known. He was born blind, grew up in the Gumatj clan on Elcho Island, off the Arnhem land coast. His breath-taking high tenor voice conjures the stories of his life, his country, his people, and the ancestor beings to whom he’s connected. His success on the world stage came despite the fact that he rarely sings in English – and the vast majority of listeners don’t know what he’s singing about, but they all feel it.

Gurrumul has performed for the Queen of England, US President Barack Obama, Crown Prince Frederik and Princess Mary of Denmark, and was one of only two Australian performers at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert at Buckingham Palace.

This Sunday, Gurrumul sings for the good folk of far north Queensland at the Botanic Gardens in Cairns. The gig has been sold out for some time, but you can sample his music on this week’s Tony Hillier’s World of Music. LISTEN here

PLAY LIST

Gopuru, originally recorded on Gurrumul’s second album, Rrakala in 2012 remixed here for the CD accompanying Robert Hillman‘s coffee table book Gurrumul: His Life and Music 

Djiawurr from the Saltwater Band 2010 album Malk

Gurrumul History originally recorded on Gurrumul’s self-named 2008 debut solo album, and here remixed for the CD accompanying the book Gurrumul: His Life and Music

TONY HILLIER CASTTony Hillier is one of Australia’s leading music journalists and a musician of long standing here in far north Queensland. His informed and insightful coverage of music features in The Weekend Australian and Rhythms magazine http://rhythms.com.au/

Tony Hillier’s World of Music is also available as a podcast. Search for Tony Hillier on your podcast app or in the iTunes store. And you can stay in touch with the FNQ music scene with Tony at http://www.entertainmentcairns.com/hilliers-hotline-archive.php

You can hear Tony on ABC Far North each Friday at 445pm.

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2013 in Cairns Queensland, EFFINCUE, far north Queensland, indigenous, music, Tony Hillier's World of Music

 

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A FEAST OF FINALS FOOTY THIS WEEKEND – PHIL STALEY’S THOUGHTS ON SPORTS

COWBOYSIt’s a feast of finals football this weekend – with plenty to interest far north Queensland sports fans. We’ll be watching the North Queensland Cowboys v Cronulla, and the Northern Pride v Easts Tigers in the Queensland Cup. And what about tonight’s South Sydney v Melbourne Storm match – should be a cracker, potentially one of the best NRL games of the season. The AFL has plenty to offer this weekend too – Sydney Swans v Carlton looks like the standout fixture. Match previews and predictions on Phil Staley’s Thoughts on Sports

LISTEN here  00081806-leadimage

Australians love their sport – but I reckon no-one loves their sport quite like our Phil Staley. Indoor, outdoor, winter summer or somewhere in between – Phil loves it all. Stand at his desk here at ABC Far North and you get the feeling you’ve just run on to Lang Park or the MCG. Phil has a gift for talking about sport in a way that even people who can’t stand sport will enjoy.

He gets past the hype and the stats to the magic ingredient that makes sport so compelling – the people who play it and the people who love it. Phil talks about sport each Friday on ABC Far North at 5:15pm – now you can tune in online as well. Phil’s Thoughts on Sports are podcast too – search Phil Staley in your podcast app.

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Posted by on September 13, 2013 in EFFINCUE, Phil Staley Thoughts on Sports, Sport

 

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SCIENTISTS LOOK FOR “HOME” OF BUG THAT CAUSES FLESH EATING ULCERS IN FAR NORTH QUEENSLAND

DSC_0682Midway through 2011, doctors in far north Queensland began seeing people presenting with nasty ulcers that were turning surrounding tissue into sludge. It was an outbreak of what’s known locally as Daintree ulcers – a condition that’s been known for many years now, but no-one’s really sure how humans acquire it, and thus how it can be prevented.

By the end of that year, GPs & surgeons had treated many cases – with strong antibiotics and surgical procedures. It can be cured, but it can take a long time and sometimes there’s lasting damage. In FNQ, Daintree ulcers occur only in a very contained and specific area of the Daintree region – no-one yet knows why. It’s a more common problem in parts of west Africa – so the common theme is tropical climates. But the mystery deepens – these ulcers also occur in the very not tropical East Gippsland district of Victoria, where they’re called Bairnsdale ulcers. The World Health Organisation now calls them Buluri ulcers, in acknowledgement of their incidence in west Africa.

We know what causes them – a bacteria called mycobacterium ulcerans. It’s a bacteria commonly found in the lush tropical world, but for reasons no-one can yet explain, they cause flesh-eating ulcers in just a few relatively small, quite specific but widely separated areas, one of them not at all tropical. We don’t know how the bacteria gets into humans. Mosquitos, march flies, possums and other critters have all been suspects – there’s no definitive answer and some believe the rainforest itself could be the vector. And we don’t know why some people who’ve been exposed don’t get sick, while others develop serious ulcers.

A team of researchers is in FNQ at the moment trying to answer those questions. They hope to develop a blood test to detect exposure and help us prevent future outbreaks. Professor Paul Johnson, from Melbourne University & Austin Health is one of the researchers. LISTEN to my interview with Paul here

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2013 in Cairns Queensland, EFFINCUE, environment, far north Queensland, health, tropical weather & climate

 

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A GUIDE TO THE SNAKES OF FAR NORTH QUEENSLAND – AND HOW TO BEHAVE AROUND THEM

SCRUB PYTHON - FNQ Pic Lyall Naylor

SCRUB PYTHON – FNQ Pic Lyall Naylor

There are few creatures that polarise opinion quite like snakes. Some folks love them, others run screaming at the mention of them, and there are those who think the only good snake is a dead one. Fact is, if you live in far north Queensland, sooner or later, you’re going to encounter one. What happens next is largely up to you.

The odds are in your favour. Most of the snakes you’ll meet here are not venomous. Yes – they bite, and you’ll need to treat the bite carefully to prevent a nasty bacterial infection. But it won’t kill you. We do have venomous snakes, but knowing how to behave around them will generally keep you safe. And knowing how to treat a bite  is an essential part of your FNQ safety drill. We don’t use razor blades or tourniquets any more – this is how it’s done.

We’ve got pythons, black snakes, browns, taipans, death adders, tree snakes, slatey greys – 43 species just in the wet tropics area and that’s about 30% of Australian snakes represented up here. Most snakes go out of their way to avoid humans, but they can be a danger to pets (especially the back yard chook) and kids. There are steps you can take to reduce risk, without harming snakes, and there are plenty of trained people around Cairns who will come and remove a snake for you, often at no cost.

This Sunday, Lyall Naylor will be talking about snakes at the Mount Molloy Community Hall at 10am. Lyall has been working with snakes for decades now, at Taronga Zoo in Sydney and the Australian Reptile Park with renowned Australian herpetology pioneer Eric Worrell

More recently, Lyall’s been working in the lush tropics north of Cairns. He says snakes generally don’t bite people. People get bitten by snakes. LISTEN to my interview with Lyall here

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Posted by on September 10, 2013 in Cairns Queensland, EFFINCUE, environment, far north Queensland, wildlife and animals

 

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WORLD EXCLUSIVE! SNEAK PEAKS AT NEW RELEASES – TONY HILLIER’S WORLD OF MUSIC

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We get an exclusive sneak peak at four new releases on this week’s Tony Hillier’s World of Music. And it’s a really broad selection of music: from the flamenco meets Hindi pop sound of Simon Thacker’s Svara Kanti, to the return of the great Irish band Clannad.

LISTEN here

PLAY LIST

Shava Ghund Chuk Ke by Simon Thacker’s Svara-Kanti, from the CD Rakshasa

Tobar from Clannad’s CD Nadur

Four Sisters from The Baker Suite CD Your Dreaming Self

Pocket Full of Sand from The Baron of Tangs Into the Mouths of Hungry Giants

TONY HILLIER CASTTony Hillier is one of Australia’s leading music journalists and a musician of long standing here in far north Queensland. His informed and insightful coverage of music features in The Weekend Australian and Rhythms magazine http://rhythms.com.au/

Tony Hillier’s World of Music is also available as a podcast. Search for Tony Hillier on your podcast app or in the iTunes store. And you can stay in touch with the FNQ music scene with Tony at http://www.entertainmentcairns.com/hilliers-hotline-archive.php

You can hear Tony on ABC Far North each Friday at 445pm.

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2013 in EFFINCUE, rd on the road

 

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