BLACK KITES UNDER THE MOP TOPS
Serendipity soared high in the sky before and after high noon on summer's second last Sabbath in the Yarra Valley.
Singer-songwriter-zoo keeper Ange Foresio led his country blues roots quartet Black Kites through a magical musical marathon at Victoria's oldest farmers' market on historic Yering Station due south of Yarra Glen.
The Black Kites performed five sets of classics enriched by their originals from debut CD Long Time Coming and a future album at the free concert.
They also had an extra feather to their kite just five hours later.
Ironically, the revered octogenarian satirist-comedian-actor Barrie Humphries exposed the band's namesakes as arsonist raptors of our far north on ABC-TV show Magical Land Of Oz.
The show's narrator demonstrated how the Black Kites predators feasted on insects as our indigenous rangers burned fire breaks during the early dry season in far north Queensland, Northern Territory and Kimberley in Western Australia.
Humphries exposed why the ravenous raptors indulged their appetite for dessert beyond deserts by swooping low and transporting burning sticks and starting extra fires way beyond the rangers' range.
This provided extra food for thought for their Black Kites protegees who were quenching Yering humidity with home grown orange juice they promoted from their organic stage - Terra firma au naturel.
These Black Kites performed beneath a thick Mop Top tree canopy that provided some shade.
So, it seemed fitting they included Get Back by the original Mop Tops - the Beatles.
The Black Kites raptors history could provide fertile fodder for a video by the band at the Yering Station that was established in 1838 by the pioneering Ryrie brothers who adopted Aboriginal name “Yering” for their new farm.
This week the farmers market adjacent to the Melba Highway at Yering near Yarra Glen hosted music that was equally organic as the local produce.
It included fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables, organic breads, biscuits, jams, preserves and sauces, olive oils, pies, fudge, honey, olives, meats, chocolates, fresh-ground coffee and beans, teas, ice-cream, fruit vinegars, homemade pasta, free-range eggs, locally-grown flowers and more.
The produce was all grown by local primary producers, vignerons and diverse denizens of the valley.
And, equally importantly, enabled disabled volunteer vendors to operate their own sausages and salad stall to sate the tastes of customers and finance their kitchen and gardens at Mount Evelyn in the Yarra Ranges.
BLACK KITES FLY LIKE ROBBIE DANCES
“He dances just like Fred Astaire/ treats his woman like a queen/ always keeps his Cadillac sparkly and clean.” - To Be Like Robbie - Angelo Foresio - Black Kites.
The Black Kites band seemed a perfect aural accessory for the thriving monthly Yering Farmers Market.
On arrival at the Melba Highway hideaway the flocks of customers were greeted by aimable parking guides.
And, of course, just beyond the produce stalls in the barn there was melodic music.
There, in an audience-friendly amphitheatre young and old families frolicked as the quartet interspersed tunes diverse as Neil Young's Old Man , Cat Stevens Wild World, Creedence Clearwater Lodi , Get Back and March tourist John Prine's Lake Marie with their originals My Mountain Home and That Evening Sun.
The Kites also showcased Ange Foresio originals If It Ain't One Thing, It Really Don't Matter, It Ain't Like The Blues and Long Time Coming - the title track of their eight song debut indie CD.
Although lead singer-songwriter Ange added harmonica to his guitar playing it wasn't a one-man band.
Eric Newman, engineer by day and bassist at weekends, mastered a stand-up electric bass and added dobro to his repertoire.
Lead guitarist draftsman Marchi Marasco was the band's architect of sorts and plasterer Vince Scopelliti pounded the drums under duress after recent shoulder surgery.
It was a team effort and that was just one of five sets.
Lead singer Ange worked the Yarra valley into lyrics of songs including Chuck Berry's Promised Land and You Never Can Tell .
Their version of The Band classic The Weight was followed by Foresio's band CV - “We're the Black Kites, we're going nowhere but we're going proud.”
He also interrupted their bluegrass romp on the late Johnny Cash's Folsom Prison Blues with “it's easier to get the train started but we're stopping it.”
The Black Kites flew through Van Morrison's Brown Eyed Girl, The Rain May Fall and Creedence's Green River until an aerial cameo by one of two choppers landing on nearby helipads.
It prompted a harmonica solo by Ange and reminder to try the natural orange juices on offer nearby before they energised Bob Dylan- Old Crow Medicine Show revamp of Wagon Wheel and seven times wed Steve Earle's Copperhead Road with bassist Newman firing up his dobro.
But now it was time for another Foresio original To Be Like Robbie about a long-time friend who wasn't on site today but “dances just like Fred Astaire.”
His duties were covered by a vast cast of children as young as two-years old in a phalanx of front row dancing divas, damsels and dudes featured prominently in the band's filming of the show.
They followed with Adelaide refugee Paul Kelly's Dumb Things , Rolling Stones Dead Flowers , the Georgia Satellites Keep Your Hands To Yourself and The Kinks aptly adapted Lazy Sunday Afternoon .
It was time to introduce another Kites original Country Girl about a lass who loves Kentucky born singing actor Dwight Yoakam and the Rolling Stones.
Songs by Texan troubadour Jerry Jeff Walker, The Band's Cripple Creek , The Eagles Peaceful Easy Feeling Paul Kelly's Before Too Long , the Foo Fighters Times Like These and Rolling Stones You Can't Always Get What You Want followed.
The Kites slowed the tempo for The Saints Just Like Fire Would and the Allman Brothers Soul Shine before finding the groove for their finale - J.J. Cale's Crazy Mama with its plea “come back to me . ”
That seems like a fine segue to the open invite by The Rathbone family who bought Yering Station in 1966 and expanded it into vineyards, winery, reception centre and monthly farmers markets.
Review by David Dawson with photos by Jordie Taylor