From their warm down to earth vibe you wouldn’t expect that the duo Savidas had done shows that include a Royal Command performance for The Lord Mayor of Melbourne and have played at most of the biggest festivals in Australia.
Consisting of band members Gumpy on Vocals, Guitar & Breaks and Uma Vernau aka Umalicious on Vocals & Percussion, the duo have been likened to the sounds of John Butler, Ben Harper and Micheal Franti. Their music having been described in a live review by Beat magazine as:
“Audio glue. Being able to mix a handful of Genre’s and bring together the crowd till they’re all singing the final chorus of a song they had never heard before. Magic!”
I caught up with UMA from Savidas ahead of their Apearance at Kuranda Roots on Saturday June 12 and their post festival show at the Grand Hotel Resonate gig on Thursday the 25th of June.
TM:- How did the royal command performance come about, can you tell our readers a bit about that?
Uma:- We were doing a lot of festival shows at the time with a good friend called Matt Hill who run’s a group Urban Cirque, Which are an amazing group of innovative acrobats and circus performers.
We just got the call from Matt asking were we available for a performance at the Melbourne town hall, It wasn’t till we got there they we realised what a big deal it was. It felt a bit like we were the Savidas court jesters playing for the King of Melbourne, a bit like a musical version of Game of Thrones, I guess.
TM:- I hear you have a new album out, “Peace by Piece”?
Uma:- Our new album has been kind of a long time in the making. We changed our writing technique, rather than writing a song here and there when we were feeling inspired, we actually would just get together and write, despite feeling creatively in the mood or not. It was kind of a new way for us to work and we ended up getting a much more diverse body of work, and in turn a lot more songs to choose from. I think that we got so caught up in the writing process and playing the songs live to see how they would fare on an audience that it took us a while to get round to actually getting in the studio and consolidating the tracks into an album, but we did it, and I think these tracks really delve a lot deeper into and what we’re actually trying to express.
TM:- Interesting band moniker, where does the name Savidas come from?
Uma:- Well Gumpsavidas, is Gumpy’s honouree greek gypsy name and it’s one of those things that just stuck. We might say it’s like Jon Bon Jovi, but really we wearn’t thinking of names when we started and by the time we were known that’s what people knew us as, so we just went with it. We toyed with other names,like the Funky Folkers or Star Units in Space, but luckily none of those names stuck!
TM:- What are your musical influences?
Uma:- I think our sound comes from the diversity of influences. Which range from really minimal folk and country to pretty hard core hip hop. In an early review someone coined the phrase for our music as Blu Grass Hip Hop to describe our sound, so we went with that cause it pretty much encapsulated the diversity of styles, we were working with.
TM:- What can punters at Kuranda Roots and Resonate expect from your live set?
Uma:- I think because our gigs range from playing massive festival stages to really intimate bars, we really stay open to the audience and each gig as if it is in a way like the first show we have ever played… (Maybe a little more rehearsed). The fact is that we really feed of the audience and resonate what we’re feeling from them. We like the idea of being open to/and working with an audience and where they’re collective vibe is at. So I guess the short answer is. . Expect the unexpected and plenty of it!
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