DARBY STREET LIVE SHOWCASE: Banjo Beats w/ Hannah Stretton / by Hannah Stretton

 Photography by  Louisa Magrics  - Artwork by  Ben Graham

Photography by Louisa Magrics - Artwork by Ben Graham

Dare I say it that the banjo has re-established itself into the category of 'cool'? When it comes to the duo that is Banjo Beats, consisting of Louisa Magrics and Dan Huish, there is no other way to describe it. What they create is just f***ing cool! Plus, you can check it out, live in action, at Darby Street Live on the 24th.

A duo of seasoned musicians, they established themselves in 2016 when they were searching for something dynamic and experimental to do with their musical talents. These 'Mythbuster Musicians'* combined the banjo and drums and began exploring their love of musical improvisation and I gotta say, I'm really digging it. 

*Debunking the stereotype. That the banjo is much more than a hillbilly, red-neck instrument played at old run-down pubs. It can be the star of the show - just in case you thought otherwise.

Since establishing themselves in 2016, Banjo Beats have been playing all over the place, creating quite a name for themselves in the local music scene for their dynamic and individual improvised performances.

 Photography by  Louisa Magrics

Photography by Louisa Magrics

Anything can happen! It’s live improvisation, so we think of our performances as stages in an ongoing and evolving conversation. 
— Banjo Beats

You can even check out this duo every Thursday at 12:30 pm (unless stated otherwise) on Twitch.TV, where they live-stream their experimental music sessions. It's kind of like a behind-the-scenes look at the improvised process and it's really fascinating. So, if you’re a musician who loves to watch how Banjo Beats bring their music to life or you simply want to watch/listen to a fun filled music session, this is well worth checking out.  

Playing at the Jean Bas Laneway from 3:00 pm, this duo will treat you to a performance like no-other. Like, really - where are you going to see another improvised banjo & drum show? No where - so be there or be square! Jokes, but seriously they're awesome! 

Ahead of their Darby Street Live gig we got to speak to Louisa and Dan - to learn a bit more behind what Banjo Beats is all about, as well as what they think is special and great about their home, Newcastle.


How would you describe your music? 

Banjo Beats: We use musical improvisation to mix together rock, bluegrass and world music to carve out a playful sonic space. 

What can people expect from your performance at Darby Street Live? 

Banjo Beats: Anything can happen! It’s live improvisation, so we think of our performances as stages in an ongoing and evolving conversation. 

Who’s your favourite local music artist & why?

LM: Hey Lady is two-piece rock band with heavy drum parts and layered melodic textures, their sound is massive and I love it.


DH: Vanishing Shapes, because they provide an interesting mix of classical and folk influences to create a unique sound. It’s unlike anything else in the Newcastle music scene at the moment.

What do you love about Newy’s music scene?

Banjo Beats:  Being a part of this community of diverse and talented artists is inspiring.

We both play with other projects and like to think the things we learn from working with different artists inspires us to be better players and have a more interesting dialogue happening in Banjo Beats. 

What is your favourite thing about Newy - what would you recommend to the tourists out there? 

Banjo Beats: The Lass and the beaches.

When and where can we catch you for Darby Street Live? 

Banjo Beats: 3:00 pm at Jean Bas Laneway

There you have it, to check out more about Banjo Beats you can find gig updates, new music and other goodies on their website or social links below. Meanwhile, I recommend you check out their past live-streams on Twitch.TV and catch them at Darby Street Live on the 24th! 

Facebook // Instagram: @banjobeats - @louisamagrics - @funkydan85 // Twitter: @banjo_beats