Musician Marguerite Montes exudes the rich complexities of her Andalusian heritage, a region famous for melding a multitude of values, artistic traditions and historical cultures. It is this mix of influences that brings her musical compositions to life and pervades her recently released, independently produced album ‘Far From Home’.
The eight tracks on the album reflect many themes and musical genres, all woven together with stunning vocals. For the first time she has experimented with using musical ‘loops’, intertwined with original vocals and live instruments, and has collaborated with other artists on some tracks.
At a time when musicians have been struggling due to the absence of public live gigs, Marguerite went to ground composing, this album being the result. “Social restrictions have forced me to stay in one spot. It has been a period of abundant creativity,” says Marguerite.
Being forced to stay put in Bellingen has also helped her to fall in love with Bellingen all over again. “I first visited here in the early 90’s with my band ‘Tiramisu’. That was when the love affair started. By 1998 I’d moved here. Since that time there has been a lot of highs and lows, including long periods of ill health, several stints at living elsewhere, periods of intense creativity and others of musical abstinence.” On reflection, Marguerite knows two things, Bellingen is home and music is her life.
In fact, music has always been integral to her life. As a child living in both Spain and the south of France, music and musical instruments always surrounded Marguerite. “My father was a musician and master piano mechanic and builder. My mother was a singer. I shared my home with jamming musicians and musical instruments in some stage of repair. From an early age I would perform with my father on stage. Music was like the food we ate and the air we breathed.”
Despite her life-long passion for music, Marguerite despairs for the future of her industry and her fellow musicians in the current climate. “Performance is crucial for an artist. There is no buzz like it. For me performing live is as much about becoming the audience as it is about becoming a performer. You move into that space where you are the music, connecting with people. It isn’t easy for any performer when this is removed.”
“The industry as a whole is also completely unsupported by the current Government. And music can be downloaded without any royalties returning to the artist. The situation is even worse for ageing female performers, made to feel redundant in a male dominated, youthful industry” she says.
So what is the solution?
“We need the listening public to support us, to buy our music. When times improve, come to our gigs and understand that gigs can’t always be free. There really does need to be a shift in the mind-set,” says Marguerite.
For now Marguerite will continue to create music and release it independently. “I’ve survived worse. I’m as stubborn as a mule and resilient. It’s in my DNA, my Spanish roots. Suppressing creativity suppresses normal human development and for me, no music would mean death.”
To purchase ‘Far From Home’ CLICK HERE