Written in conjunction with Toyota
Australia, meet your newest next big thing. It’s not every day you get to thank a Japanese car company for pulling together six very different musicians from all corners of the globe to make the trip down under to form a street band that writes original music together after having known each other for five days, but that’s exactly what Toyota have done as part of their latest ‘Feeling The Street’ campaign. The premise is a simple one; it’s the street performers that give certain places their cultural spice, that add colour and context to often otherwise lacklustre street corners worldwide. Toyota launched a competition featuring over 370 entrants to find the best buskers about, and had two rounds of voting from an enormous 14 million people worldwide to whittle the pool of talent down to six lucky winners, who were this week flown to NSW and taken on a road trip through the Hunter Valley and Blue Mountains, allowing them some quality bonding time, and also the opportunity to jam, all with the goal of composing an original tune as a band and performing it in Sydney on the last leg of their road trip.
The group is made up of Italian pianist and vocalist Thomas Cheval, Chilean ex-pat Héctor Matias on the bass, Brazilian violinist Robson Peres, Colombian percussionist Albert Peres, and from Delhi in India Maneswita Jaiswal and Chelei Solo, drumming and strumming respectively.
It’s a mixed bag of talents and cultures, with the underlying theme being that in the music they’re creating after a short time together, the differences in what inspires them as individuals is very obvious, but also easily visible is their collective talent and penchant for having fun while they’re making sounds that go together. For a group of people that have only just met, ranging from 19 to 32 years in age with different native tongues, some of whom have kids, others whom have never left their hometown, they’ve all managed to effectively connect through their musical prowess and come together for the purpose of reminding people that music is enjoyable in any context. Watching them play is refreshing – there’s a lovely energy and rawness to the simple act of sharing what’s essentially a public jam session that feels genuine and unpolished.
Overseeing the Global Street Band, as they’ve appropriately been dubbed, is Jason Kerrison of New Zealand X-Factor fame. It cant be the easiest of tasks, coordinating six creative minds who all speak different languages and have only been playing together for a week, but the recurring fact is that these guys absolutely love what they are doing, and it ties together in great harmony in the execution.
As their first official Australian tour wraps up, we can safely say that this is definitely one of the cooler ideas from a large corporation to support the arts on a bona-fide grass roots level, and one that has paid off too, considering the roll of the dice undertaken by the company to put the voting power in the hands of the public (they could have ended up with six drummers or six guitarists had the voters not had differing tastes). With six talented citizens of the world now well-versed in the spoils of the NSW countryside, how to start a band and what it’s like to jam out in Circular Quay, it looks like Toyota are just going to have to do it all again as soon as possible to find the next six mixed bag of musos who are ready to leave their street corners and sidewalks to have a turn at taking Australia by storm.
Photos by – Jeremy Toth