"I've been living in Perth for 18 years," Grace said. "Before that I was in Seychelles (off the east coast of Africa). I was born there. I've been going back and forth all my life."
Music is in Grace's blood. It's deep in Seychelles culture. Her mother is an arts teacher and was an actress and dancer in Seychelles before coming to Perth.
"I was inspired by her," Grace said. "I was inspired by her enthusiasm for the arts. I ended up teaching too. My teaching is part-time now because my music really took off. I teach singing in remote Indigenous schools across northern Australia. My time has always been shared between the arts and education."
Grace was halfway through her education degree at uni when her music really took off. She thought, "I need to be out there. I need to be pushing myself as an artist." And so a star was born…
Grace's band plays an African Creole - or kreol, as she calls it. When The Scene asked about her weird spelling of 'creole', she answered that 'kreol' is the kreol way of writing it; 'creole' the English. So, 'kreol' it is.
Grace Barbe Afro Kreol plays Indian Ocean Island music and some African music. The islander music incorporates traditional sega (a sort of islander samba, she reckons), moutya and Tsinge beats from Seychelles; the African tunes use soukouss rhythms. With Grace playing bass or the six-stringer, and with her powerful but sweet voice singing in English, French or Kreol, it's an exciting, irresistably danceable experience.
"We're going to take the audience on a journey to the Indian Ocean," Grace said. "You'll hear the sega of the Indian Ocean islands. But we also mix it up with African music - a bit of funk, bit of soul. We merge contemporary music with traditional to create our own sound."
Sounds good. But what about food in Seychelles? (World Stages features cuisine from around the world as well as global musical acts.)
"Our culture is very mixed - our music is African-based but our food is Asian. Lots of chilli and lots of spices. Our main staple is rice and our main meat is fish. Lots of pungent chutneys. And curry, of course. We got to have a chilli though. Food is not good without chilli."
Grace likes it hot - her food and her music. She plays at 7.45pm.
World Stages also features the music of Ego Lemos (Timor), Vivulation (Latin), Supafresh (hip hop), La Bella Italia (Italy), Tommee (Indonesia), and Blakboi from (Australia). Food stalls will dish up African, Indian and Brazilian feasts. Tickets are $47/40/20 (children under 5 are free) from www.norpa.org.au or phone 1300 066 772.
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