Jumping Fences



Lachlan Hurse and Sue Monk began playing together during the late seventies, a time of political upheaval in their adopted state of Queensland, which sparked an interest in musical expression of political ideas. They met touring Latin American musicians in 1979 and developed a strong interest in the style and content of contemporary Latin American folk music, the Nueva Cancion and especially the Nueva Trova from Cuba. In the nineteen eighties they formed the groups Frontera, and later, Gaviota. They were founding members of a folk club in Brisbane (The Peña) and travelled throughout Latin America during 1985 where they had music lessons, collected instruments and recordings and met musicians.

On returning, Lachlan and Sue embarked upon writing songs about contemporary Australia, drawing on Latin American styles. This material became the foundation for their work in Jumping Fences, with a steady growth in original repertoire. In 1996, after the release of their first album View from a Wooden Chair, they spent three months in Cuba, studying and performing extensively. During this time they formed strong links with a new generation of singer/songwriters. These relationships were developed on a return trip in 2001, when they had opportunity to present their work on a number of occasions, including at the Amadeo Roldan Theatre, and the Piano Bar of the National Theatre.

Jumping Fences developed links with the union movement in their 1998 project 'The Music Shift' where they visited workplaces in Brisbane, gave concerts and wrote songs about the lives of the workers in those places. This link was re-established by playing at Brisbane May Day celebrations in 2004, to a crowd of over 10,000 unionists.

Later that year they released the EP Distant love (no telephone) which confirmed their distinctive style. It also built on musical relationships they had built with accompanying musicians, Ross Gwyther, James Harper, Dan Simpson, and Robbie Stewart.

Apart from their own repertoire, Jumping Fences have also composed works for choirs, again drawing on Latin American musical styles. Their works have been performed and recorded by Canto Coro, The Australian Voices, Brisbane's Lesbian and Gay Pride Choir, and Brisbane's Combined Unions Choir.

Jumping Fences are regular performers in south-east Queensland, playing at folk festivals, concerts, and community events, and supporting touring Latin American artists. They have performed in other Australian cities and continue to build a repertoire that generates positive responses from a variety of audiences. Their experience is evident in their performances, with tight arrangements and strong musicianship. Their unique sound bridges the gap between World and Australian music, and reveals the potential for Latin American musical styles to be adapted into an insightful commentary on Australian society from an unusual perspective.


This page was edited last on the 16/05/2008