ABOUT THE FILM
"A stunning short film documenting Joanna's 2000 km zero emissions Australia solo bike & concert tour."
In 2016 I released my third album "Gardens In My Mind" and planned a tour down the west coast of the USA, from Portland to LA. For reasons environmental and existential I decided to travel on my trusty Condor bicycle, loaded with five Ortlieb panniers stuffed with everything from my camping gear to my musical instruments. I called the tour “The Great Song Cycle" (VICE MAGAZINE ARTICLE). What transpired was a regular concert tour turned effervescent. The journey not only changed my perspective on my life and career, but also inspired the music for my album “Far Away From Any Place Called Home”, and my debut memoir, “The Great Song Cycle - Portland to LA on Two Wheels and a Song” (UWA Press).
I could never have known how creatively inspiring and fruitful the original trip was going to be and am now hooked on this way of touring. Three years later I took to the road again for "The Great Song Cycle, Down Under" — 2000 miles, from Brisbane to Hobart, with the hopes and plans to write a second book, and of course make this film.
I always wanted to bike Australia to get back to my familial heritage, and to discover its incredible landscape, whilst simultaneously impacting the environment as little as possible with my own carbon footprint. My dad once described my bike-concert tours as travelling at the speed of the 18th century. It’s basically true. Time and space shifts and slow down when travelling by bicycle. I have even found that my eyesight improves from looking outward everyday, and I see details that otherwise pass me by. There is nothing like the sense of freedom and power in carrying your whole life on your bike, rumbling along the road knowing that you are completely responsible for yourself, and your own physical and mental resources to get you to where you are going.
When I biked down the California PCH I learnt about momentum. No matter the pain, doubt, fear, loneliness, or even the friendships made, I couldn't just stop. The journey was the destination. Author Laurie Lee once wrote, "it is easier to leave than to stay behind and love". I started to understand this for myself. This feeling of trust in my abilities to push through almost anything carries with me even when I'm off the bike, and it flows into my performances - that same sense of being in the present, feeling grounded and trusting that I can carry the music, just as the wind carried me.
What gives my way of touring a unique edge is that I am combining two very different aspects of myself: the restless adventurer who loves to live simply, sleep under the stars, bathe in freezing lakes, talk to strangers, deepen my smiley lines, and doesn't mind turning my socks inside-out to save on weight, with the elegant singer-songwriter, who wears beautiful dresses, a touch of makeup, requires a modicum of stillness and routine to write songs, and performs concerts around the world. The concept of "The Great Song Cycle" is how I've managed to avoid simply running away from one dream (to be a professional musician) in pursuit of another dream (to be a bad-ass vagabond), but rather combining them into one mega-dream!
GREAT SONG CYCLE 2019 Tour dates:
Sep 13 - House Concert, Brisbane, QLD | Sep 14 - The Retro Bar, Brisbane, QLD | Sep - 15 Harry Hartog Book Sellers, Maroochydore, QLD | Sep 15 - House Concert, Maroochydore, QLD | Sep 17 - Byron House Concerts, Byron Bay, NSW | Sep 22 - Bowraville Theatre, Bowraville, NSW | Sep 24 - Port Macquarie Library, Port Macquarie, NSW | Sep 27 - Flow Bar, Old Bar, NSW | Sep 28 - House Concert, Wingham, NSW | Oct 1 - Book Bazaar, Umina Beach, NSW | Oct 4 - Better Read Than Dead, Newton, NSW | Oct 9 - Tathra Hotel, Tathra, NSW | Oct 16 - Duart Homestead, Maffra, VIC | Oct 19 - House On The Hill, Clifton Hill, VIC | Oct 20 - Paris Cat, Melbourne, VIC | Oct 22 - Institute of Advanced Studies, Perth, WA | Oct 23 - The Ellington Jazz Club, Perth, WA | Oct 25 - Sofar Sounds, Melbourne, VIC | Nov 1 - Fullers Book Store, Hobart, TAS | Nov 2 - MONA, Hobart, TAS |