What do Kasey Chambers, Mojo Juju, Tim Rogers and Renée Geyer all have in common? Besides being incredibly talented musicians, they will all be appearing at the Port Fairy Folk Festival. The festival will be celebrating their 43rd year with a stellar line-up.
Joining Kasey and gang are 92 incredible artists and bands ranging from international status to regional Victorian local legends including Geelong’s Immy Owusu and The Settlement out of Hamilton, but it’s Warrnambool boy, Didirri Peters (better known for just his first name) that we’re most excited for. Why? Because his excitement to be involved is undeniable.
“It probably won’t hit me until I get there but I’m pretty giddy about it. It’s funny, I played Rod Laver last year and I was super excited about it but not as excited as playing Port Fairy Folk Festival [laughs] which is bizarre; just because I went every year and it’s the festival that made me want to be a singer/songwriter. I saw so many performers there who spoke from the heart and told a story and sang songs that were received in this kind of way of really respecting music,” Didirri says.
“I find although I love the massive festivals, there’s an attitude at a folk festival of ‘we’re here to listen to some music and be together’. It’s not about drinking. It’s not about just getting wild. It’s definitely about being quiet and respecting the space and I am very excited for that. You just kind of lose yourself in the whole culture. That’s my jam.”
The ‘Can’t Get Last Night Out Of My Head’ singer fits the culture of Port Fairy Folk Festival to a tee with his expressive songwriting and evocative story telling. His 2018 debut EP, ‘Measurements’, proves that, as he details learning curves of the early adulthood journey with such maturity.
“That period of my life was very much about learning a bunch of maybe typical but profound for me early 20’s lessons and I wrote most of those songs as a warning for myself and to anyone listening not to do certain things or try to do certain things in their life.. But I’ve always been a writer over a musician even though music is the mode of delivery.” Didirri explains, “I’ve got books and books and books of lyrics and I would say that music just helps deliver those messages that I have wanted to write. I had this general idea of kind of measuring my own life experience against the world and just seeing whether I think I am sticking to my own morals or not. That was kind of the idea of that EP and that’s kind of going to follow into the next album in hopefully some rounding kind of way.”
Given Didirri’s flare for, and love for, writing, along with his distinct Nick Drake influence, you would think he has an intense library of books and poetry. Quite the contrary though.
“I’m a terrible reader, I’m honestly one of the slowest readers out of my group of friends at least,” he laughs. “I listen to a lot of audio books and I remember I loved when people read me stories when I was a kid but I use words orally a lot more than on the paper I guess. I write but I can’t spell at all, like I look through my songbooks and I’m like, ‘That’s terrible’,” he laughs.
“I don’t know what it was that drew me to writing so much. My father was a children’s singer/songwriter. He definitely got us singing pretty early and telling stories. I told stories a lot- that was definitely predominant. I got into musical theatre as a teenager and I guess I was very drawn to any form of telling stories.” He continues, “I had a 3am thought that I wrote down once which is that music is for moving people or making people move and I feel like if you’re doing one of those things up there, you’ll capture the audience and it doesn’t matter how many people are out there.”
Connecting with crowds is in his DNA. Didirri played a colossal 110 shows around the world last year building a global following and selling out two shows at the Corner Hotel, with 2019 cooking up to be full of writing, recording in February and a tonne more live shows.
“It’s all about just after the shows when I meet a bunch of people and they tell me how they are. I don’t think live music is going away very easily. There’s so many different things that have been killed like that classic video killed the radio star but I feel like live music isn’t going anywhere because I feel like people still want that group of people all feeling a thing together at the same time [experience] and you can’t really make an app for that.”
You can catch Didirri at Port Fairy Folk Festival, 8 – 11 March 2019. Tickets via www.portfairyfolkfestival.com/
Written by Tammy Walters