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This Is Northern New South Wales

Jesse Younan & ‘Take Something Beautiful’

On first meeting, Jesse was intense. He was always in black and looked like he could have been some kind of gang member. He smoked, drank and ate beef jerky. He was inner city, nocturnal. He was intrigued by tragedy and compelled to explore the darker side of life. He had a powerful stare and strong sense of right and wrong, who he trusted and didn’t trust, who he liked and didn’t. He would prove to be the most stubborn person I’ve ever known. But it wasn’t until you really got to know the man and his music that you realised he was always humble, often shy and had a wicked sense of humour.

Jesse often said to me he didn’t want to be a pop star or think he would be a household name, but rather he wanted to be respected by other musicians and to have a career in music. That was what was really important to him. He had hundreds of songs and had recorded 4 albums when he passed away. I’ve always felt the sheer weight of Jesse’s voice and songs would bring him recognition on a wide scale. Each of the performances on ‘Take Something Beautiful’ are a fitting tribute to Jesse and his music. It confirms a growing list of musicians are hearing his music and Jesse is gaining the respect he hope would come his way. ‘Addiction’, although its quite different from his other songs, is a fitting last word from Jesse. It has his ever present dark side, but there is humour, and tenderness, and what a voice.

– Glenn Wright, Vitamin Records/Mullum Music Festival

Five of Australia’s finest independent singer songwriters, a full band and a string section will create something beautiful with the songs of the late Jesse Younan at this year’s Mullum Music Festival. JORDIE LANE, JEN CLOHER, GREG J WALKER (MACHINE TRANSLATIONS), EMILY LUBITZ (TINPAN ORANGE) and M JACK BEE will take to the stage together to premiere the live version of Take Something Beautiful.

Released earlier this year, the Take Something Beautiful album brought together eleven musicians to interpret the songs of Jesse Younan, a brilliant songwriter who died of leukemia in 2008 at 35 years of age, too early for many to appreciate his unique talent. Fittingly Jesse Younan recorded his last album A Good Day for a Migraine in the hills behind Mullumbimby and has a long association with the area. “At the first Mullum Music Festival in 2008 there was a kind of spontaneous live tribute to Jesse by a bunch of the artists who were performing that year – we were all really feeling his loss, his family was there and everyone brought their own emotion and feeling to his songs,” says Mullum festival director and Take Something Beautiful co-producer Glenn Wright.

“It was a special occasion and it had a profound effect on the people who were there. People who had never heard of Jesse Younan were visibly moved. His songs just have a way of reaching people. It feels right to come full circle and celebrate him by launching Take Something Beautiful at Mullum this year. Jesse’s brother Emad will also be here to perform at the festival.”

Jesse Younan said of his music “I don’t sound like Robert Johnson, but the way I approach music is similar to the blues. Both have honesty and rawness at the root of them. It’s about making the soul audible.”

Friday 23 November, 7.00pm, Mullumbimby Civic Hall
Mullumbimby Music Festival 2012, Nov 22 – 25