8 March 2017

Faces of Canberra: Emma Kelly AKA Happy Axe

| Rachel Moore
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Emma Kelly AKA Happy Axe

Each week Rachel Moore is on the hunt to find out what makes Canberra special to all the wonderful folks who live here.

If modesty was a currency, Emma Kelly would be one of Canberra’s richest women. Ms Kelly’s rare and unique musical talent includes expertise with the use of different saws in her repertoire of instruments. Yep. Saws. As in those tools one uses to slice wood. If you have yet to surround your mind with the surreal majestic tones and beautiful landscape of Emma’s music, check out links to her tunes below.

Name: Emma Kelly.

Age: 32.

Occupation: Musician.

How long have you lived in Canberra? 14 years.

North, South or Q-town, and why? North.

Most memorable event you’ve attended in the ACT? The Henchmen CD launch at the Church bar in 2004 for so many reasons, including the music, but also the many people that were there that night who became huge parts of my life, and still are to this day!

Most cherished moment in the capital? Performing, programmed, in the middle of the oval at the National Folk Festival with Mr Fibby, circa 2009.

Things you love about Da Berra? The music community, the air, the trees, the restaurants, the coffee, the bars, the bike paths, the alternative culture, the tunnel of gum trees you drive through to get into Canberra from the highway and you’ve been overseas for a while and forgot how amazingly surrounded by bush the Bush Capital actually is.

What do you loathe about the city? That it’s kinda seen as fair game to bag out. People from other towns thinking it’s fine to unreservedly bag out the place I’ve chosen to live in, because they came here once on business, and lacked the imagination or motivation to find anything good to do with themselves other than sulk in a hotel room. I also wish there were more outlandish and individual dressers in Canberra. Less workwear and active wear and more Konrad Lenz and Cathy Petocz.

Which Canberra local do you most admire and why? It’s so hard to choose one. But I’ll say Paul Summerfield. Because he’s an amazing artist who’s just figured everything out himself, a gorgeous person, and absolutely lovely to collaborate with.

Who did you first kiss in Canberra, and where? Well, I moved to Canberra with my then boyfriend, so not the wildest of stories, and hard to pinpoint the exact moment! Maybe in our flat in Ainslie or in the car on our way to house-hunting among the carnage of the 2003 bush fires. We got to Canberra and the sky was orange, and I met one of my School of Music lecturers when he was literally standing in his office, surrounded by his belongings and family, having been evacuated from his home. My boyfriend and I ended up moving into a flat in Ainslie in the midst of this housing crisis, only because the landlord was awesome and took a chance on us. He didn’t mind that we both put our income as ‘Centrelink, Austudy’ and probably knew he was giving us the only chance we had to find a home in a housing crisis with only Centrelink as income. There, I included a story to make it more exciting, haha!

Most delicious Berra place you adore eating at: Binny’s restaurant in Lonsdale St. As well as the best goat curry in town, they have these amazing savoury shots with mint and coriander and a pappadum kinda thing on top. OMG.

What do you want to be when you grow up? In an outdoor spa in the bush with my favourite people, looking up at the stars, holding a martini and saying outrageous yet insightful things.

Your social media handles?

Triple J unearthed

What question would you most like to ask everyone in Canberra? Where da party at?

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