BAMBUSEAE RHYTHM SECTION The people must dance

bambuseae rhythm section

RTRFM’s Fremantle Winter Music Festival is less than two weeks away and one of the amazing artists you can catch this year is The Bambuseae Rhythm Section who will play the Swan Basement on Saturday June 17 along with Demon Days, The U-Nites, Ruby May and the Chakra Khans and Brassika. It promises to be an exciting and colourful mix of acts that will bring neo-soul, dub, psyche and bombastic electro swing to keep the grooves going on into the night. BRAYDEN EDWARDS caught up with vocalist and guitarist Cameron Charles to chat about how and why the Bambuseae Rhythm Section are delivering a live music experience like no other.

There are eight members in the group playing such a diverse mix of music from all over the world. I suppose the first thing I wanted to know was how did you all happen to find each other? 

Well I’m actually an avid gardener and very interested in permaculture. One day I was reading about bamboo and the many uses it has and its diverse cultural significance around the world. Botanically speaking the entire bamboo family is known as “The Bambuseae Tribe”, so from that day on I knew what the band had to be called. Bamboo is sturdy, versatile, resilient, fast growing, flexible and hard to get rid of. All good qualities for a band to have.

So I had this vision for many years now but nothing really took off until I made an imaginary band “The Bambuseae Rhythm Section” and put an instrumental demo up on Bandcamp. As soon as I did that, musicians started coming out of nowhere to help me flesh out these ideas I had. So, by September of 2016 the full real life eight-piece band was formed and we had our first gig at the Good Shepherd in Leederville the next month.

So it took quite a mix of musical styles to make that imaginary band become a reality?

Yes that’s why there’s eight of us. A drummer, percussionist, bass guitarist, tenor sax, alto sax/flute, keys, lead guitarist and myself. Plus there are members from diverse places like Chile, Italy, The Philippines, the UK, South Africa as well as WA of course. It’s great because we’re all bringing our own influences and cultural backgrounds to the band.

And what’s the result when you get all those different cultures and styles together on stage? 

We play a varied blend of Blues, Funk, Reggae, Jazz and a hint of worldly tropical grooves. The music is groove based, allowing the crowd to dance for the entire set as we take them from one part of the world to the next. With so many people on stage we are full of energy and we are not afraid of getting wild and dirty at times with our sound. I am firmly based in the Blues when it comes to singing songs about my guitar, dancing in a hotel I someday dream to own, not going to work and being a musician. All the while having subversive undertones toward a system that would have us following their plans and not our own.

It sounds like quite an experience for the audience too?

We have a motto “The People Must Dance” and it is a core belief of ours that in these interesting times we live in it is a necessity for people to dance to feel liberated from the daily demands of hectic modern day living as well as to have a safe sense of togetherness in our community. To dance is to express the pulse of life itself, and this is one of the most artistic and rebellious thing a person can do in these times. We need this rebellion and the King Wave like momentum we have on stage reflects these values. The pure love, liveliness and togetherness I see in the crowd as we are playing is so heart warming and it spurs me on to keep writing good upbeat music. Because people need it. We also hold dance comps throughout our sets. The best dancers get a Bambuseae Bundle complete with band shirts, stickers, hoola hoops, board shorts, Hawaiian shirts and funny hats.

You’ve come a long way in just eight months haven’t you?

Yeah well we just haven’t stopped gigging, and have had the absolute honour of playing some great shows like the International Street Performers Festival in Fremantle and Fairbridge festival. We’ve also had the pleasure of supporting local royalty like Grace Barbe, Old Blood and Andrew Winton. We have also travelled a little bit up to Shark Bay for last new year’s eve which was wild time. The Fremantle Winter Music Festival is going to be another awesome experience for us and we can’t wait to play with some of the awesome acts sharing our stage there as well.

For those that might not be able to make it on June 17 where else can they catch you around town?

We’ll actually be playing this Saturday at Clancy’s Fish Pub in Fremantle alongside MOOJ and Bret Mosley which is going to be an awesome time. But as I said we never stop gigging and if anyone wants to check when they can catch us they can check out our Facebook page. We are also currently in the final stages of recording an EP and will be throwing a huge dance party with all our musical friends very soon to release it stay tuned for that too!