Presented by Maria Issaris.
In this episode, we cover the steep sides and deep ravines of the sacred and the profane, as that stunning virtuoso of the oud, Joseph Tawadros, critiques newcomer literary talent, Lorretta Jessop. Yes, there are some swear words in this episode, so cover your ears now if you are faint of heart, or frail of spirit. Both Jospeh and Lorretta are rule-breakers, but not in that traditional Bad Boy or Bad Girl type of way - nope - it’s just that they ignore the traditional rules to follow the strong force of their creativity.
Lorretta is just brimming with originality. She has a quicksilver mind and makes razor sharp observations, and she targets society’s most sacred institutions; motherhood, government departments, politicians, and that most sacred institution of all....Sydney’s cafe society. Loretta’s unfinished novel is sweet, its slicing, and takes her key character through the highs and lows of Sydney life, in the three days before the Martin Place siege in 2014.
It is a wonderful exposition of modern life seen with clarity and curiosity, and a little bit of yearning for something better. It is inspired, she says, by that classic piece of literature, Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye. And talking of turning the classics on their head, we have as our critiquer, Joseph Tawadros. If you have ever heard of the oud, then you have definitely heard of Joseph, who is a master of this instrument. And if you have ever heard him play, well it is not something you would easily forget. He spreads himself around, playing throughout country areas, at the Opera House, and in dark bars at Marrickville in Sydney’s inner west.
In between sets he engages his audience in banter that is, well, sweet and slicing and very funny. I knew that Joseph would cross that ravine between literature and music with one pluck of the string on his oud, the perfect person to critique an original talent such as Lorretta. His bio is daunting; Aria awards, performances with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, global acclaim. So how did he end up on this program? He’s a man of the people, says Joseph, he grew up in Redfern, and is about gathering experiences to enrich his music.
Well, we are officially enriched, especially so since he agreed to be interviewed from London. And Joseph, Iike all Australians, claims his right to a unique expression of himself without fear or favour. I dress in colour, he says, shrugging nonchalantly about his bright tapestried blazers, his fez, and full-on, put-hipsters-to-shame beard. Well, he dresses in colour, he plays in colour and he critiques in colour.
Welcome to Episode 15 of New Voices, and prepare as always (just as I do), for the surprises at hand.
Original broadcast date: 19 October 2020