By Luke Voogt
Shapeshifting St Kilda singer-songwriter Delsinki – AKA Craig Johnston – plans to “keep the circle unbroken” and push ahead with a planned Drysdale concert.
Delsinki is the man behind the Sing a Song of Sixpence tour, scheduled to kick off at the Potato Shed on August 6, dependent on COVID-19 restrictions.
“I think we’re just going to play it by ear, because we’re two weeks out,” he said.
“If we get hamstrung by restrictions, we’ll definitely postpone it to another date.
“It will be a nightmare to postpone, because there’s lots of artists and they’ve all got their own projects.
“By by hook or by crook we’ll make it happen, next fortnight or down the road.”
Earlier this year Delsinki and John Kendall, who play together in Melbourne band Row Jerry Crow, put together the Keep the Circle Unbroken tour to “reignite” music across regional Victoria amid the pandemic.
“I’m a musician myself, I’m not a touring or booking agent, although it’s starting to become like that,” Delsinki laughed.
“John had the idea, and I took it and made it happen.”
The 1972 album Will The Circle Be Unbroken, released to reunite a divided US after the Vietnam War, inspired the concept, Delsinki explained.
“They [The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band] were trying to bring people together under the banner of music, and we thought that was a good analogy for what we wanted to do,” he said.
Like Keep the Circle Unbroken, each stop in Sing a Song of Sixpence features local artists joining the musicians playing throughout the tour.
Keep the Circle Unbroken missed Geelong in March, so Delsinki was keen to launch his latest collaborative tour in that area, he said.
Delsinki and Kendall will join popular Australian ’70s and ’80s songstress Debra Byrne, along with Joyce Prescher, Simon Phillips and Geelong blues artist Wayne Jury for the Drysdale concert.
“I was going to get Wayne Jury on the first tour but the dates didn’t work out, so I made sure I could get him on this one,” he said.
“It’s going to be good playing with him.”
Delsinki grew up in a music-loving household in Tasmania, before moving to Melbourne later in life.
“My mum’s a dance teacher, so I grew up with a lot of music in the house,” he said.
After playing in bands and cover acts, and collaborating with filmmakers and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, he took on the name Delsinki.
His music mixes folk rock, cabaret, poetry, rap, ballads and even Latin rhythm, flitting from one style to another each track.
“I think that comes from being an independent artist,” he said.
“There’s no group of people telling you what you should and shouldn’t be doing.
“I just like making stuff for me and if other people enjoy it, that’s a bonus. It’s kind of liberating.”
And his musical collaborations over the years have been as eclectic as his music.
He has joined creative forces with Jim Moginie from Midnight Oil, Steve Pigram from the Pigram Brothers and Brian Ritchie from the Violent Femmes, just to name a few.
In his latest collaboration, he invites his fellow musicians to share their songs and the stories behind them, whether they have fallen suddenly from the ether or are a slow labour of love.
“It’s all about showcasing people who play instruments and write songs,” he said.