LOCAL musicians will hold a tribute concert this Sunday for Matty Sykes, a well known figure in the Canberra music scene who tragically died in January after being hit by a boat while spearfishing.The tribute concert in Lyneham will feature performances by Alice Cottee, Dub Dub Goose, Beth ‘n’ Ben, Jayo and Cuddlefish, as well as other special guests that are yet to be announced.
Matty came to Canberra in 2006 from his home town of Nowra to study jazz drumming at Canberra School of Music.
He played in several local bands including Dub Dub Goose and The Andi and George Band, which played its final show in 2009, as well as Paul Greene and the Other Colours and the south coast band Southerly Change.
Trombonist Sophie Chapman, who met Matty at jazz school in 2006 and played with him in several bands, says close friends of the musician wanted to hold a local celebration of his life in Canberra due to his strong ties to the city.
“We thought we’d have to have some sort of celebration in Canberra, just because a large part of his life was here,” she explains. “He had a lot of friends here and a lot of those people didn’t get to make it down to Nowra for the funeral.”
Donations for entry will also raise money for a fledgling foundation set up in his honour.
“It’s called the Drumfest Mufasa Foundation,” says Sophie. “There was a group in Nowra he was a part of called ‘The Drumfest’, and Mufasa was an African name he gave himself,” she explains. “He was so into African drumming he was like, ‘Just call me Mufasa’.”
The foundation hopes to fund a trip for a budding musician to Africa – most likely Ghana – to follow in Matty’s footsteps and study African drumming.
“He went there for a few months one summer while he was studying at the jazz school and he learnt heaps,” says Sophie. “His girlfriend was saying the other day he learnt more about rhythm studying in Africa than in his three years at the jazz school.”
A group of Matty’s drum students from the south coast staged a rhythmic tribute of their own at the Nowra boat ramp shortly after his death, which can be seen in the video below:
The Matty Sykes Tribute is at the Front Cafe and Gallery, Lyneham Shops, from 4pm this Sunday.