Enchanting Melbourne folk duo The Maes are sure to be one of the highlights at this year’s Bello Winter Music, a delightful boutique festival experience now into its fifth year and taking place in the quaint countryside surrounds of Bellingen, NSW from 11 – 14 July.
The sisterly duo of Maggie Rigby (banjo, guitar and vocals) and Elsie Rigby (mandolin, violin, vocals) have blazed their own unique trail on the world contemporary folk circuit since becoming a full time touring entity in 2014.
Their latest record has been received glowingly by both fans and critics alike; a moving, honest and intimate set of songs perfectly encapsulating the sisters’ masterful command of their genre, a place where sweetly serendipitous vocals, quality song writing and gorgeously unadorned instrumentation intersect in magical harmony.
In the lead-up to their upcoming performance at Bello Winter Music, we fired a few questions off to the sisters.
How’s the current tour going? You have some real ‘off the beaten track’ locations in the itinerary!
Yeah we love playing small Australian towns! Partly because we love touring in Australia and once you’ve played Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, you’re basically left with small towns. But also Elsie and I grew up in a small town in Central Victoria and there’s something really grounding about knowing you’re not playing for a room full of local folk music fans, you’re playing for a group of all sorts of locals – keeps us real!
What’s been your favourite overseas territory (or show) you’ve played so far? And is there anywhere you’d love to play that you’ve yet to do so?
One of the best things about the job that we have is that it’s so varied and there are different things to love about almost every place that we visit. It’s hard to compare the merits of a show on an Irish Island where you’re greeted by a school of dolphins on arrival and play tunes all night to a show at a festival in Colorado where you are surrounded on all sides by some of the most spectacular mountains in the world. I am very unimaginative and when I dream of doing shows they’re usually in places that I’ve already been…but the best shows always take you by surprise and the idea that the best shows and experiences of our lives are still ahead of us is such an exciting thought and part of the reason that we keep going!
For those coming to a Maes show for the first time, what can we expect from you in the live realm?
Lots of songs and a few anecdotes, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, guitar, cello-shredding and heaps of vocal harmonies – don’t come if you don’t like vocal harmonies!
The Maes will be performing at this year’s Bello Winter Music, taking place in Bellingen between 11 – 14 July. Other quality acts on the bill include Nadia Reid, Tammi Savoy and The Chris Cosello Combo, Jess Ribeiro, Laura Jean, Lloyd Spiegel, Bullhorn, Vaudeville Smash, Horns Of Leroy and The Mammas. Visit bellowintermusic.com.