Jeff Lang

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Jeff Lang

Over the years, local Geelong lad Jeff Lang has developed into one of the best Australian guitarists around. His ability to work with a wide range of musicians to create something unique is what keeps drawing people’s attention time after time. Back in Melbourne and chatting in the lead up to Christmas, Lang is excited about his new project he has on the go, Maru Tarang, which he is touring in February and March.
To coincide with the tour of this new world music extravaganza, the group is about to release an album, which was solely recorded in India. In addition to this, his latest solo effort, I Live in My Head a Lot These Days, has been received quite positively since its release last year. It’s also fair to say that Mr Lang has been quite busy. Having performed at the Rajasthan International Folk Festival a few times, it was the idea of the director of the festival that Maru Tarang was born.
“The director is very encouraging about getting the local musicians to play with the touring acts playing at the festival. He had seen Bobby and I playing in Australia and thought we would be the perfect fit for Asin Langa and Bhungar Manganiyar. Asin plays the Sindhi sarangi, which is like the Indian violin, and Bhungar plays the khartal, which is like castanets, so a percussive instrument.
“I think that we have a broad range of instruments in this band and that and the different musical stylings and influences create something fresh.”
Amidst rehearsals to play at the Rajasthan Folk Festival, Lang thought it would be a good idea to head into the studio and see what happened. The result is the forthcoming album, which will be released within the next month. Talking about the sessions, the language barrier made this experience one of the most enjoyable, and peculiar, of Lang’s career.
“We decided quite quickly that we wanted to record these songs and so we had to find a studio on the run, so to speak. We found a studio, it was small and cramped but we could see each other. You might choose to do it in a big concert hall or a church, but we made the best of what we had available. I think the finished product is something that we’re all proud of and we can’t wait to take it out on the road with us.”
Talking about returning to Port Fairy once again, Lang is excited about what he has in his arsenal this time around. Discussing whether he has seen a change over the years, Lang feels that keeping the spirit and vibe throughout has always been a philosophy throughout for Port Fairy. “It seems that they have built the festival to be as big as they want and they still maintain that community aspect to it.
“It’s exciting to see what people will make of the new project because the collaboration is so different to what I normally do. It’ll be cool to see what people make of it.
“They have some really good musicians there and one of my all time heroes, Richard Thompson, is playing and that is already a plus. I’ve had the chance to open for him in the States and he was a lovely chap. It’ll be good to catch up with some old friends. I can’t wait.”
When&Where: Port Fairy Folk Festival & Brunswick Music Festival
By Tex Miller