West End street musicians Stunn

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Local Legend

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– Merryn McDonell reveals a hidden side of some local identities

You’ve probably seen Ray, River and Oits (members of the band Stunn) jamming on Melbourne St in West End. I stopped by for a chat and discovered that the three indigenous musicians are enchanting and charming. Ray told me a little about the band.

“We got together to produce ethnic and cultural music that’s selected from our various cultures. All three of us are from different backgrounds. Our ethnic backgrounds include Eastern-Polynesian, Samoan, Aboriginal and Malay cultures. We combine that with modern music and our own style. We try to create some sort of fusion and identity based on this.”

“Do you think there are any other artists or bands draw on various cultures like you guys do?”

“Well if they don’t they’re limiting themselves. They should do it and explore what’s out there. The collaboration that we have is pretty good.”

“Do you think music is a big deal in West End?”

“Music is one of the major spiritual forces in West End, without a doubt. West End wouldn’t have the commercial success that it’s enjoying today without music. West End has boosted from music. It’s a street energy. The business people here should take note. Without the freedom to creatively express on a street level or at any level really, you have a dead street.”

“Do you think other suburbs in Brisbane have as much street music as West End does?”

“We’ll we’re from outside the West End area but we play here because it’s already been created for us. We hope that other musicians take advantage of what West End has to offer.”

Three weeks from now Stun will be hitting the road. However there are no concrete plans for the tour.

“We don’t have a plan as such, simply because we don’t believe in planning. You can only live life for today, not tomorrow or yesterday. You can only live right now. I cannot tell you what’s going to happen tomorrow. In the present, right now, I’m doing music and that’s all I can guarantee. That’s all I can give.”

Ray’s advice for life: “Create your own culture and become yourself. Seek a wider perspective rather than an individual one.”

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