GATHER with Minerva's Books & Ideas

Travel with books, music and ideas

February 04, 2021 Amy Tsilemanis Season 1 Episode 2
GATHER with Minerva's Books & Ideas
Travel with books, music and ideas
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode we explore the ways in which we can travel with books, music, and ideas when we might not be able to journey physically. We look at Hugh Kenner’s concept of the elsewhere community, ideas of sonic postcards and the sense of home. Amy discusses her thwarted travel plans of 2020 to Ireland and Greece and her Macedonian family heritage. Featured interview is with London based musician and sound artist Belle Chen, and the Things Found in Books creative response is a wild radio play set on a library cruise ship with Ballarat’s Sophie Livitsanis. Sarah Comyn also talks about her favourite bookish spots in Dublin.

Book seeds:

Hugh Kenner. The Elsewhere Community: A grand tour of the world and the mind. Published 1998 by Allen & Unwin

William Hugh Kenner (1923–2003) was a Canadian literary scholar, critic and professor. He published widely on Modernist literature with particular emphasis on James Joyce, Ezra Pound, and Samuel Beckett.

We hear a snippet of Hugh Kenner from CBC Radio, listen to more here:

Anne Yelland. The Atlas of Dream Places: A grand tour of the world’s best loved destinations. Published 1995 by Cardigan St

The Atlas of Literature, edited by Malcolm Bradbury. Published 1996 by De Agostini Editions, and writers that have inspired dreams of writing and travel- James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Sappho, Charmian Clift, & Patrick Leigh Fermor. 

 Other books mentioned:

Rebecca Solnit. Recollections of my non-existence. Published in 2020 by Viking

 & if you’re looking for personalised Greek tours with my old friend Chriss-

 Guests featured:

Amy’s aunty and uncle- Freda/Aphrodite and John Tsilemanis

If you want more you can listen to them talk about their wedding day here-

 Researcher and lecturer Sarah Comyn at University College Dublin

See more about the bookish places she loves in Dublin- the Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI) and the Forty Foot James Joyce swimming spot

 London based musician and sound artist Belle Chen- Find Belle on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & YouTube. With Belle’s online sessions during lockdown in 2020 and 2021 she invites her community into her process and also to contribute sounds and be part of her music-making.

Ballarat based artist and performer Sophie Livitsanis 

Sound engineering: Dave Byrne, Iridium Audio        

Podcast logo and episode design: Tiffany Titshall

Huge thanks to all involved in this episode, produced on traditional Wadawurrung land.

Find @minervasbooksandideas and @amytinderbox on social media


Travel with books, music and ideas

[A delightful sound of choir leading into plucked guitar and different voices introducing the show, with guitar continuing underneath]


Woman’s voice: Ah everyone, you are listening to Gather 


Child’s voice: You’re listening to Gather


Woman’s voice with dog bark in background: To Gather


Woman’s voice with American accent: Gather


[Same guitar doing a sweet little riff with the faint sound of pencil scribbling beneath. Sound of guitar continues beneath the host’s introduction]


Amy Tsilemanis (Gather host, smooth and calming): This is Amy Tsilemanis and this is my new podcast Gather, with Minerva’s Books and Ideas, where we’ll explore the lives of books and the ideas they ignite and illuminate.

Amy narration: Hey it’s Amy and welcome to episode 2 of Gather, theme: travel. It’s the start of 2021 and despite positive movement on Covid-19 vaccines, there are still so many unknowns, a major one being travel and when people might be able to see their loved ones again. I hope this episode will be of comfort, as well as a fun ride, as we explore the ways that books, music, and art can take us on journeys without even leaving our homes. I had the joy of reading Rebecca Solnit’s book recently ‘Recollections of My Non-Existence’ and I wanted to open with this passage for you.


“I loved the physical objects that are books and still do. The codex, the box that is a bird, the door into a world, still seems magical to me, and I still walk into a bookstore or library convinced that I might be on the threshold that will open up onto what I most need or desire, and sometimes that doorway appears.

When it does, there are epiphanies and raptures in seeing the world in new ways, in finding patterns previously unsuspected, in being handed unimagined equipment to address what arises, in the beauty and power of words.  

The sheer pleasure of meeting new voices and ideas and possibilities, having the world become more coherent in some subtle or enormous way, extending or filling your map of the universe, is not nearly celebrated enough, nor is the beauty of finding pattern and meaning. But these awakenings reoccur, and every time they do there’s joy.” 

Let’s see what thresholds and doorways we can cross and open.

In this episode we’ll explore travel, and Hugh Kenner’s concept of the elsewhere community (physical or virtual), collected in a book from his 1997 Massey Lectures exploring the grand tour of the world and the mind. 


We’ll also think about the meaning of home, and the idea of sonic postcards, and how the imagination allows us to roam and connect

Here’s Kenner now.


Man’s voice in an old recording (Hugh Kenner): This elsewhere combines both virtual and actual presences. All the sorts of things that have populated these talks. They include physical journeys through an elsewhere. In which I grand tour denizens flocking to Rome. We can imaginate rejoined communities of the past. And they include great thinkers and artists of our own time who irresistibly draw us into their communities which illuminate our own communities and none of us can never know when we our ourselves may be fulfilling in our normal lives the rule of elsewhere for some visitor we may chance to meet.

Amy: We’ll hear from friends in Ireland and think about Greece, where I would have been if my travel plans had happened last year, you’ll even hear the voices of some of my Macedonian family in Australia and how they made their elsewhere community in Melbourne. In their picnics and churches and social clubs with their fellow villagers from home.

Man’s voice, Macedonian accent (Amy’s uncle): I’m John. Also known as Jonas. With a Greek passport.
Woman’s voice, Macedonian accent (Amy’s aunty): My name is Aphrodite and I’m born in Greece. And I come here 1958.
Man’s voice (Amy’s cousin Jim): That would have been a long trip. How long did it take you on the boat?
Aphrodite: One month. 

Amy narration: In this episode we also chat to the amazing London based Tawainese/Australian musician and sound artist Belle Chen about her project Sounds From Home, created during London lockdown in April 2020. And we take a wild ride for the creative segment Things Found in Books with Sophie Livitsanis.

This episode is dedicated to my dad Vic who passed away in 2019 and to his mum, Vasiliki who I never got to meet, and to all others who for whatever reason are separated from home or loved ones.

My dad was a homebody, he was born and grew up around Northcote and Fitzroy in Melbourne but his parents and older brothers had immigrated from Macedonia, or what is now Northern Greece in the 1940s. His one trip overseas was a painful memory. In the 70s he had travelled to Greece with his mum to see the old village, Neret, her homeland one more time, but after the long flight, she was not allowed to pass out of Athens airport and they were sent back. It’s still somewhat of a mystery but something to do with my grandfather’s political ties. This is my Uncle John on the complex politics.
John: I’ll bring in a bit of politics. You see that coin? It’s Alexander the Great. There’s stories he was a Macedonian. The Greeks say he was a Greek. This is the emblem people use here. And they’ve got that on the graves heads and so on. There was a film in the city at the Regent, many, many years ago, the Greeks went and Macedonia and they started boxing on in front of the film. One said he’s a Masso, one said he’s a Greek. So you can’t win with politics. 

Amy narration: And so, my dad never travelled but he helped me to, from his small funds, sending me round the world from my first trip when I was 19, and in bittersweetness, funds from his estate were to help my travels to Ireland and Greece. I wanted to see where the family came from, a village called Neret in Macedonian, or Polypotamos in Greek, meaning the place where many rivers meet. I wanted to see my friend Chris, my old singing teacher from Brunswick. She runs cultural tours in Athens and the Greek Islands, and she would have shown us amazing music, art, nature. I wanted to visit the mythic places that creative people before me had lived and worked, and that I had read about in their books. Charmian Clift and co in Hydra, Patrick Leigh Fermor and the fragments of Sappho.  

Listening to some Greek records I heard a familiar tune, the tune of a treasured little music box that came to me from my maternal grandmother of Scottish background. I can now see it must have been one of her travel souvenirs, maybe she too had visited Greece.
 (Sound of music box being wound up and played)

And before exploring family, food and ancient culture in Greece, in Ireland I was to do a program called Open Palace visiting heritage sites and collections through the country and ending in Dublin, seeing my colleague Sarah, we both studied mechanics institutes and libraries and exploring the homeland of Beckett and Joyce.  Sarah talks here about some of the places she would have taken me, including Moli, the Museum of Literature Ireland.
Woman’s voice (Sarah Comyn from Dublin): I would definitely take you to Moli for sure. They have a wonderful exhibition featuring James Joyce. It’s in a beautiful setting of Dublin, it’s just across the way from St Stephens Green. You know walking through Dublin itself you just come across so many literary sites. I’ve lived in a number of neighbourhoods in Dublin and there’s always a house with a plaque to James Joyce. In my local neighbourhood I keep coming across them. They just say he lived there, or his parents lived.

Amy: He ate a sandwich here.

Sarah: (laughs) Pretty much, pretty much. Another sort of famous site associated with James Joyce is the Forty Foots where people go swimming in the sea. I would take you there. The sea is really ice for people from Australia is a real shock to the system. On one side there’s sort of steps going down. Then on the other side you have to sort of plunge into the sea and when you hit the water your body basically goes into shock. It’s so cold but then you get the rush of endorphins. I think the longest I’ve managed to stay is about 10 minutes before my toes start to freeze off. The people… yeah it’s a real tradition. I know people who go every day of the year. Throughout winter, Christmas Day, New Years Day. I think there’s a real community that’s built around going swimming there. It’s really beautiful.  

Amy: I’ll have to try that when I come.

Sarah: Yeah definitely.


Amy narration: So, our book seeds here, in addition to Kenner’s Elsewhere Community, include books that have inspired my desire to dream and travel like those of the writers mentioned here, as well as the books I poured over. The Atlas of Dream Places and the Atlas of Literature.

So get comfy and today we travel with music, sounds, books and ideas…
 (traditional Greek music plays)

One day in 2020 when our main way of getting out of the house (and seeing anyone other than your cat) was to go walking with a friend. I had just returned to my car after a lake walk with my friend Sharon aka Shazlik. You heard her amazing voice singing in the Coles Book Arcade song in the last episode, and in fact it may have been this very walk that we strolled along Lake Wendouree first attempting to match the lyrics to the tune of Mary Had a Little Lamb as requested by Cole. But I digress. And go back and have a listen to that if you haven’t heard it. So I was sitting in the car when I first heard the amazing sounds of Belle Chen on the radio. I was instantly transported, to where who knows, and that’s the magic, but these were those sounds (Aquatics), a unique blend of classical and experimental sound and I gladly made my way down the rabbit hole and the wonderful ways that Belle has responded to lockdowns and created communities online. Elsewhere communities that might also be called here, together.

Woman’s voice (Belle Chen): My name is Belle and I am a pianist and composer. I work kind of… I'm from a classical music background, that's where my training was but then I went a bit wild. So the music I create now kind of swings between different areas. So it has a bit of electronic, a bit of sound, found sound, a bit of improvisation,  experimental kind of extended technique, prepared piano. 

It kind of sounds classical kind of neo-classical, it has albums of jazz and a lot of world influences as well. So it’s me in a kind nutshell really. 
 I was born in Taiwan and it's kind of like a port city down south and throughout my childhood I grew up in Taiwan, in New Zealand and in Australia as well. I’m Australian in the end and now I live in London. I live and work in London.

For me I've never really gelled with a sense of home actually. Like I never felt like anywhere was my home, any specific location. But for me my home was always 

where my family physically is or are.

And so because of that upbringing I guess I'm quite adaptable. I’m quite sensitive to different cultures and kind of different ways of living and different… different lifestyles, different perspectives as well and I think that's bled through what I create today as well.


Amy: Definitely and yeah I was interested… before we get stuck into some of your interesting projects you've been up to. What has that been like sort of crossing the classical world with the more experimental, in terms of music scenes.


Belle: Oh it is so liberating. (laughs heartily)

Like I was thinking really honestly. Like I think classical music is amazing, it's… it's um really… well it's not particularly ancient like some of the more indigenous traditions but it's got hundreds of years of tradition and study and kind of academic weight behind it as a performance practice. And when I was training as a class kind of concert pianist it was very detailed and really kind of… we had to pay a lot of respect to the written music and the study behind the written music.

And all that was fine but the moment that I crossed over into improv and experimental suddenly instead of having to adhere to tradition. Everything I've learnt became a tool for me to create in the moment.

And for me that felt more real and much more liberating for sure.
Amy: yeah it sounds like you have a lot of fun.
Belle: Oh yeah, yeah definitely.


Amy: Could you talk with about the different instruments you use.
Belle: Yeah so I play primarily on a piano, which I often then prepare when I'm performing and I prepare these through metal screws, blu-tac paper, foil, similar to what John Cage would do. But in a more kind of…

Well the language itself is more of a neo classical leaning rather than kind of contemporary classical leaning.

And I play also on the synths, I have two refaces I use. One is a virtue analogue synth. Another one is an electric piano and there's also a stage piano that I use, the CP88. And then I use melodica. Which is a kind of keyboard I blow into and you can make sounds. Quite beautiful sounds out of it. And the kalimba which is a thumb piano. Yeah the more the merrier. I think for me… I’m after the texture actually. I get

really excited about texture and how it evokes the atmosphere and maybe mimics sometimes the certain sense I hear in world music as well. I get really excited about that because I think sometimes the keyboard family sometimes is seen as a really western instrument like really European.

But it doesn't… It has all this potential sounding… Just so otherworldly in a way. 


I think the moment we had the lockdown I really struggled not being able to be out and connecting with other people and other listeners. And so during this time I started two projects.
 The first one was Sounds From Home where I would invite people from around the world to record a snippet of their neighbourhood where they are and share that field recording and a bit of that story with me and then I will improvise and create a kind of a sonic postcard to that field recording. And the reason I started this is because I was feeling really kind of isolated and I just wasn't sure what I was going through with this lockdown and by doing this project actually I was able to tune in to what other people stories are and how they are dealing with the same event essentially

that’s happening around the world. And then in a very surprising way that kind of created a community where people could explore, you know, other people’s places and locations and histories and cultures and we ended up accumulating quite a few recordings. There’s a map that’s been generated and what's really beautiful about this particular project is that we had listeners from, you know, really, really young like people still studying at school, to people who are working, people with families, people in university, people who are retired, all sharing kind of their perspective of how they're going through Covid actually.

And yeah it’s still continuing now which is really amazing.

Amy: Can you talk about some of your favourite things that were sent in. 


Belle: It’s actually really hard, but the ones that made the most emotional impact I suppose, there was one sent from a hospital in China. It was from a nurse who was doing a late night shift and for her it was a quiet night and she just wanted to record the sounds of the normal machinery operating.
 (music by Belle Chen plays in background)

And just her story was about how there was no urgent care or people in ICU that’s gone into critical condition and so she was particularly thankful that the beeping of the machine is really rhythmic and predictable in that evening. Yeah so really quite beautiful things. And then there was one sent from Beirut actually, that’s by the port before the explosion happened and I was just… I just… you know… we did this particular segment. And we post this particular segment. And then weeks after the explosion happened and it was just so crazy and quite sad actually for me.


(music by Belle Chen plays in background)


Amy: The travel element, you know people get to sort of experience different places through the sounds but it's also about people connecting in a new way isn't it? Sharing those stories.


Belle: Yeah that's what I love about them the most I think.

There was a mathematician from Canada who connected with another maths major that was like studying at a Uni in Romania or something through... just through the stories shared and they’re like oh that’s so cool.


Amy: Amazing 


Belle: And I just love that. I think it’s awesome. So I think found sound has fascinated me for a very long time, I think I first started working with captured sound when I was studying at Uni. Which is like a long time now, a long time ago. And I think what fascinates me is the music that can be extracted from these sounds. Like even the ambulance sirens can be turned into something that's quite melodic and I think what fascinates me is that sound is really real. Like it doesn't lie. You can't… like you can clean it with EQ and all that and add reverb to it but fundamentally if you stand in one place and you catch something, you capture something on your zoom recorder or your phone that's what the place really is like, it's not Photoshopped, it's not um… it doesn't have any marketing slogan or angle to it. And what you hear is what's actually happening and for me sometimes you know I used to stand on a random location on the street and just stand there for hours and see what will happen actually when I’m there. And sometimes really interesting things will happen that I will want to catch and share it on stage.


Amy: Creating these atmospheres… how do you… yeah you were talking about textures as well, how do you kind of work with all those different elements?


Belle Chen: For me it's always been really intuitive, I think.

I don't know I think it always starts with the story and the point of inspiration. There's always a moment that would touch me that makes me go oh I want to catch this, this feeling or the sense of a really isolated intensive sampling of… uh Apollo 11 mission. 

That sense of being so far and isolated. 


(spacey sounds and music by Belle Chen plays in background)


And that I think… yeah I can’t explain it… then I just go down the path of experimenting and then researching and playing with textures.

The Moon Spotting, the Apollo 11 NASA sampling track was inspired by two things actually if I was to talk specifically about the track. It's basically when I was young because I spent a lot of time away from my family. I was always told the story that if I ever find myself missing someone I just need to go outside at night and look up and just look for that moon. And always remember that whoever that you may be missing will be looking at that same moon as well. 

And in that since the world is actually quite small and whoever that I may be missing is just ah… if they're still alive… is just a phone call or a flight away so it's not that far and so that really touched me that particular story of being out at night.

And looking up and just reflecting on just the size of everything and I thought that I wanted to catch this feeling and communicate it on stage because I was playing quite a bit and I couldn't find a new repertoire in the classical canon that represents how I feel. You know there's a lot of music been written about the moon by Beethoven, by Debussy, but none of that actually tells a story that is very specific to my experience and so I started kind of looking into all these different areas of how I could put this point across…


(music by Belle Chen and samples of NASA recordings plays in background)


… and then I started researching into NASA’s archival recordings. And I remember spending hours and hours listening back and I found this beautiful segment where I think maybe Armstrong or Aldrin are communicating back and they were talking about this very specific Chinese mythology kind of story of the rabbit in the moon and I think there's something that’s so beautiful because on one of the most important missions of mankind at that time and they're so far away from anyone else. But yet they're sharing this moment which had a childlike and playful atmosphere to it, playful emotion to it and when I heard it, I knew that was what I wanted.
 (spacey type music by Belle Chen plays)

So yeah you've mentioned earlier about the idea of home, do you think you've learnt anything new from doing the Sounds From Home project about that idea.
Woman’s voice (Belle Chen): I've learnt a lot about perspective I think. If that's the right word describing it. To be able to step in someone’s shoe for even just for that thirty seconds I think it's quite powerful and you know I'd be reading… Because the submissions are from people who are in such different walks of life. Sometimes reading it makes me reflect on where I am and what I'm doing. There's so much to be thankful about and then similarly there will be maybe a submission from a younger… a younger person who is going ‘oh this is… you know... We're having so much fun running around in the rain after school.’ And that kind of sense of freedom also it's so powerful because I read that and I'm like ‘oh yeah… I was once like that too.’ (laughs) Do you know like... I was once out there completely free and careless. And I think that's… there’s something quite beautiful about all that. So I can't pinpoint a singular coherent sentence but I think through all these different entries they’ve all touched me in one way or the other.


Amy: So how do you think we can travel with music? 


Belle: In our head maybe? I think imagination is such a human quality and maybe to an extent a human advantage I think to have an imagination and to be able to see in the mind as sometimes a stimulus may be sound, sometimes it may be a photograph, sometimes it may be a story like written words, a poem. Anything that triggers the mind to start to imagine I think is really powerful and I think that's what's gotten me through the lockdown actually because even though we're physically in one place and we can't move it doesn't mean that our mind can't explore.
 (piano music plays beneath)


So in that sense I’ve always hoped that my music can provide that triggering point or stimulus for someone to let their mind wander and explore more and want to connect with other people.
Amy: Yeah beautiful.


Well as belle has spoken of there, and as we heard in her beautiful music, imagination and creativity is a wonderful thing that helps us to connect and journey even when we can’t do this physically. And now, we take that idea and switch things up a bit with the segment Things Found in Books….


Things Found in Books segment intro


Woman’s Voice speaking slowly [with a vintage sound playing beneath]: Things found in books 

Old radio style male voice [archival audio, with jaunty music beneath]: You’ll hear a new intimacy and richness

[Jaunty music continues beneath] Man’s voice putting on Louis Armstrong singing voice: Things found in books

Music of Melanie Safka song, Look at my Song Ma: I wish I could find a good book to live in. 

Music fades out


Amy narration: You, my friends are in for a treat, a mini radio play/mystery murder set on a library cruise ship but first it’s my pleasure to introduce its creator, Sophie Livitsanis for a quick chat. She is a wonderfully unique and versatile artist who has worked across dance, theatre, writing, radio and more and she chats here about her mixed heritage and her inspiration for her Things Found in Books piece, a kind of pilot she has produced, admittedly a bit rough, but hilarious to be sure and the start of more to come! 
Amy: I’ve got to ask where you’re from in Greece and if we should be punching on right now?

 Woman’s voice (Sophie Livitsanis):
(laughs) Well probably… I reckon… you know I mean they all… (laughs) No, I don’t think it’s like that anymore. 

I am from a village… my family is from a village called Candela, with a C or a K! It's really weird. (laughs) It's on the west coast of Greece, about halfway up the mainland and it's really beautiful. It's about 20 minutes from the sea and from a fishing village called Mytikas, which is where a lot of my other family are from. So yeah… it's really mainland central goat herding territory.

I have two separate heritages: my father's family is Greek and my mother’s family is Irish. And they’re both really, really strong cultures. Really BIG cultures and so I've been raised almost as two people. (laughs) Not on purpose but these two cultures have been just massive in my life and so instead of one winning which I used to think that would have to happen eventually, but instead of that I've just said well they’re both equal in me and so sometimes I go to the Greek side and I get very spiritual and I love doing work around the goddess archetypes and I love creating performances based on the goddess archetypes especially from the Greek myths.

I love making feminist statements with them. I love really challenging people's idea of what’s excepted, what’s not on the stage, you know I can get into that. The Greek connection feels like it enables me to do that and go into those places but then the British connection… Irish… it's mainly Irish and Welsh but I'm sure there's other things thrown in there that really informs how…


(Sophie momentarily distracted by the purring of Minerva the cat)


 …pussycat she’s so cute.

 … the Irish side or the English side really informs the comedy, a lot of the comedy that I write and then I make. I've always found English comedy the funniest, even if you know… no matter if it's Fry and Laurie doing absolutely highbrow, intellectual, verbose, conversational comedy or as I said Bottom. Where they’re just punching each other and swearing. (laughs) I find it equally funny and equally enjoyable.


Amy: Tell us how you approached this little project here responding to Things Found In Books?


Sophie: This was excellent because after the last 12 months where everyone's life went a bit crazy and people were honestly at one extreme or the other, you know during that. I certainly was at both extremes, sometimes at the same time. (laughs) You know, that’s what it felt like. 

And so I felt like all my creativity started to drain away and I was getting really worried, that this was now how things are and this was now how I am and maybe I'm not creative anymore or maybe I'm just stressed all the time now? (laughs)

I bet everyone else in the world thought that or is thinking that. So I was just going ‘oh well I just… I'll take a break’ And then you came along with this box of stuff and I just love ephemera. I've been obsessed with it for years and years and years and I go on eBay and I just type in ‘ephemera’ and look at interesting little cards and things and this was an entire box.

The first bit that was really, really… spoke to me was a business card, a tiny plain white business card with really fine delicate copper plate writing and it just said ‘Mr. R Twentyman’.

And it just looked so elegant and simple and he was intriguing instantly, he was really intriguing, who is he, where’s he from? And the name suggested an English background, a British background to me and so he was instantly just somebody I want to meet and then I found a bookmark from a library from a P&O cruise ship.

And it was just fascinating because for one, ignorantly I didn't know there were libraries on cruise ships. And I just thought it would be a brilliant setting for SOMETHING. A library on a cruise ship and then of course my mind just instantly went back into the past, into England, into that library on the cruise ship and what's happening there, obviously… someone's been murdered. So instantly I had this feeling of a Poriot type mystery. It’s a little bit rough but I hope that people get the idea and get the joke. 

Mystery at Sea Radio Play by Sophie Livitsanis


Amy narration: That was Mystery at Sea produced by the one and only Sophie Livitsanis. Look out for the next episode. We do hope you enjoyed. As we’ve seen, the world of the imagination, whether it be with books, music, comedy, can open doorways to unexpected places and create communities and a dynamic sense of place and home. Our book seeds in this episode to explore these ideas were Hugh Kenner’s Elsewhere Community, the Atlas of Dream Places. And all the books that have made us dream of other places and cultures.


Thanks so much for listening. This episode of Gather, with Minerva’s Books & Ideas, was produced by me, Amy Tsilemanis with sound engineering by the amazing Dave Byrne. And the mini radio play Mystery at Sea was produced by Sophie Livitsanis and family. Thanks to all for being good sports.

Music featured includes Ellen Sorensen’s Minerva’s Idea, specially commissioned for Gather, snippets from the records Bouzoukis of Greece and Music of the Greek Islands. You also heard my grandmother’s music box playing Never on Sunday. And Belle Chen, in order we heard Aquatics, Music from Home from Afar at the Australian Music Centre, Sounds from Home improvisations from China and Lebanon, Moon-spotting (Live Remake), and Es Lilan. Thank you also to her lovely manager Burke Turner for helping us with those tracks.


Huge thanks to our guests and go and check out their work: Sarah Comyn from University College Dublin, musician extraordinaire Belle Chen & Ballarat’s own Sophie Livitsanis. And we’ll have all that listed with the episode details as well. 


You can find us online at or on Facebook and Instagram and remember you can support the show in various ways from one-off or recurring donations, buying the collages that accompany each episode, or by buying books! Book sales from Minerva’s have funded the ‘Things Found in Books’ commission in this episode, so help us showcase other creative folks in the future or let us know if you’re interested yourself.

And if you have or know of any kindred businesses that might like to sponsor the show get in touch and support locally produced creative media.  

Our next episode we’ll be exploring Songlines, Myth and Fairy tales. So make sure you’re subscribed and we’ll see you then. 

A word from Minerva the cat to close…

(Kitty purring)
Amy: That’s really loud. Sorry people you’re just going to have to have purring.
Woman’s voice (Sophie Livitsanis): I quite love that there’s a cat purr. I’m a cat person.