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Deborah-Conway-photoLeaps and Bounds Music Festival’s Living Legend series honours Deborah Conway at the Gasometer on July 10

Through and through, Deborah Conway is undeniably a Melbourne musician. Reaching her musical maturity as punk raged around her, Conway’s effortless musicality saw her song-writing and instrumental prowess recognised early in The Benders. Her lawyer Father was so concerned with his daughter rubbing shoulders with the pilled up, reactionary punks and blank-faced new wavers of the day that he promptly packed her off to a psychiatrist.

But history shows it was to no avail. The music bug had bitten Conway hard – it’s never gone away. Conway has rubbed shoulders with Australian music royalty, ever since. And it’s gladly and deservedly rubbed shoulders right back. Before her nationally recognised solo success, Conway fronted the chart-shaking Do Re Mi, a band she formed with Helen Carter and Stephen Phillip in Sydney, in 1981. Do Re Mi are still best-remembered for 1985’s number five ARIA chart hit Man Overboard, a bass-driven room shaker that announced Conway’s powerhouse vocals and somewhat undeniable charisma to the nation’s living rooms. In the mid 80s Conway also supplied vocals for actor Tracy Mann who fronted the screen band, The Takeaways in the ABC TV series Sweet and Sour.

After Do Re Me split in 1988, Conway trod various boards in Melbourne pubs with the acoustic-based Drawcards (a team of champions containing Vika and Linda Bull, Stephen Cummings, Tim Finn and the late Peter Jones and Ross Hannaford) and the pub-rocking Rose Amongst Thorns (also comprising several Drawcards members). Conway’s solo career started in earnest in 1991 with the top-20 album String of Pearls which spawned the top 20 single It’s Only the Beginning. The album won Conway Best Female Artist at 1992’s ARIA Awards, cementing Deborah Conway the solo artist firmly in the public eye. The extraordinary Bitch Epic followed in 1993, a song cycle that evolved into 1994’s Epic Theatre, produced by Conway’s partner Willy Zygier. Bitch Epic was followed by the experimental project Ultrasound, and Conway solo efforts My Third Husband (1997) Exquisite Stereo (2000, with members of Augie March) and her album of Patsy Cline covers PC: The Songs of Patsy Cline, which arose after Conway played the country legend in the stage production Always …Patsy Cline.

The last decade has seen the singer ever reluctant to compromise and ever-primed to explore, collaborating with Zygier on three well-received albums (Summertown, Half Man Half Woman and Stories of Ghosts). Conway and Zygier are currently recording a new album due for release later this year. Conway’s extraordinary vocals and equally extraordinary visage has taken her far over the years– from Pete Townshend’s acclaimed The Iron Man (also featuring Nina Simone and John Lee Hooker) to Peter Greenaway’s film Prospero’s Books, Conway’s charisma and verve has endeared her to wider cross-section of the public beyond simply the music community – so much so that a portrait of Conway (as Greek mythic figure The Medusa) by artist Rosemary Valadon was an Archibald Prize Finalist in 1996. Fitting really: she’s a highly visible Melbournian who makes us look twice at ourselves.

Leaps and Bounds Festival pays tribute to Deborah Conway at The Gasometer Hotel, 484 Smith St Collingwood July 10 featuring: Clare Bowditch, Vika & Linda Bull, Rebecca Barnard, Suzannah Espie, Emily Lubitz (Tinpan Orange), Richard Pleasance & Pete Farnan (Boom Crash Opera), Barry Morgan, Casey Bennetto, Caroline Kennedy, Matt Thomas, Ali Barter, Broads, Maddy & Memphis Kelly, The Zygier Sisters (Conway’s three daughters) and more.

Musical Director: Dave Williams (Augie March, Dan Kelly’s Dream Band)

Tickets on sale now from the Gasometer $25+BF or $30 on the door if available

About Leaps and Bounds Festival
The City of Yarra is pleased to announce the fourth annual Leaps and Bounds Music Festival returning in 2016, taking place in Australia’s largest gigging precinct in Melbourne’s inner city. Over 17 days and nights from 1-17 July, the Festival features gigs, workshops, bus tours and a huge array of quality special events – all designed to give punters a unique and close up experience of all things Melbourne music.
Leaps and Bounds is a venues focused live music festival that specifically showcases home grown talent and in music venues and music outlets across the City of Yarra. It nurtures the next generation of musicians, celebrates the unique Australian music voice of our musical legends and makes connections for audiences. There are gigs to suit music fans of every genre from electronic to hip hop and jazz to rock, for all age groups and every budget, including many free gigs.
Over 50 participating venues in Fitzroy, Collingwood, Richmond, Abbotsford, North Carlton, Clifton Hill and North Fitzroy will host more than 300 events featuring around 900 performances this year.

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