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Q&A/The Festival Sessions/Cabaret/Fringe World Festival

Dylan done medium rare

24 January 2018

Smart and sassy, Monique diMattina and Rebecca Barnard have juggled music and motherhood to bring you comedy cabaret act Dao of Dylan. How did they do it? Seesaw found out…

“Most of what we know though we learnt getting our hearts broken and sticky taping them together again with Dylan lyrics, Billie Holiday tracks and triple cream brie.” – Rebecca Barnard & Monique diMattina

Seesaw: Did you do formal training, learn on-the-job, or a bit of both? 
Monique diMattina and Rebecca Barnard: We have each done about a million gigs. Monique has a fancy master of music degree and lived/studied in NYC with people like Bjork and Lou Reed. Rebecca was born into Aussie jazz royalty and had pop/rock stardom with her band Rebecca’s Empire. Most of what we know though we learnt getting our hearts broken and sticky taping them together again with Dylan lyrics, Billie Holiday tracks and triple cream brie.

S: Describe your artistic practice…
MdM & RB: They say Stravinsky demanded complete silence from his wife and four children at the dinner table – lest they interrupt any brilliant/creative thought process he might be spawning.

This isn’t really how we roll.

We are both mothers, and there is not a lot of unitasking in our work day. Lyrics/ideas are scribbled on the shopping list under ‘Toothpaste – Peppa Pig’, or dictated into the iPhone while ferrying kids from A to B. We put the Dao of Dylan show together exclusively during school hours, and each rehearsal averages five cups of builders’ tea. Strong, with milk. Snacks are (mostly) healthy and free flowing, as is the gossip/therapeutic sharing. We would normally play/sing/do actual work about 20 minutes per three hour call, and when we get down to it that shit flows like honey. This process works for us and we’ve never had any complaints from the neighbors.

We are musically very simpatico, both bringing a song writer’s sensibility to jazz/rock roots, and both able to make the other pee her pants laughing.

Dao of Dylan
Barnard & diMattina: “‘Dao of Dylan’ is a tongue in cheek idolization of the musical path of Bob Dylan.

S: Career highlight?
MdM & RB:  Touring the Dao of Dylan show of course! We have so much fun musically and personally, it almost makes all the JetStar hidden fees and charges worthwhile.

S: Career lowlight?
MdM & RB:  Jetstar hidden fees and charges.

S: Funniest career moment so far?
MdM & RB: Mon’s electric piano actually caught on fire on stage once. Funnier now…

S: What do you love most about what you do?
MdM & RB: Connecting with other music lovers around Australia and the world – there’s a lot of alienation and loneliness out there, but when we play a show and feel the love in the room, all of us connected by the power of a song – it’s magic.

S: Tell us about your 2018 Fringe show!
MdM & RB: It’s a two-woman show called Dao of Dylan – we both sing, Mon plays piano and ukulele and Rebecca plays guitar. The ‘Dao’ means the ‘Way’ – so it’s a tongue in cheek idolization of the musical path of Bob Dylan – done medium rare in a jazz/roots/blues/funk jus – alongside gags and tall tales about Dylan and us and life and the universe and everything.

S: What made you decide to give Fringe World a whirl?
MdM & RB: Being offered the beautiful space we are playing – Downstairs at the Maj, with a majestic grand piano – grand pianos make our bums look small. Er.

S: Aside from your show, what are you looking forward to doing at Fringe?
MdM & RB: Having a holiday from the kids.

S: What is your favourite playground equipment?
MdM & RB: The answer my friend, is blowin in the wind 🙂

‘Dao of Dylan’ plays Ace’s Cabaret, Downstairs at the Maj, 13-17 February.

Top: Monique diMattina and Rebecca Barnard in ‘Dao of Dylan’.

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Author —
Nina Levy

Nina Levy has worked as an arts writer and critic since 2007. She co-founded Seesaw and has been co-editing the platform since it went live in August 2017. As a freelancer she has written extensively for The West Australian and Dance Australia magazine, co-editing the latter from 2016 to 2019. Nina loves the swings because they take her closer to the sky.

Past Articles

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