Seth Jordan at the Bello Winter Music

seth jordan, i love bello shire, 2BBB, the tiki lounge, bello winter music

Seth Jordan will be drawing on years of music journalism and broadcasting experience when he takes to the Bello Winter Music stage to conduct ‘Conversations with Seth Jordan’.  He is interviewing local ‘muso-made-good’ Jack Carty, veteran singer-songwriter Jo Jo Smith and environmentalist Tim Silverwood.  Seth is excited about having the opportunity to explore their personal stories and careers, with the promise of some musical entertainment from Jack and Jo Jo.  “They are all fascinating people, so should be a very interesting chat,” enthuses Seth.  

Seth’s earliest days were spent in Kansas City and it was here that his interest in music began, inspired in part by his mother’s musical passions.  “My mother studied classical piano at Julliard School  in New York when she was young and she listened to a lot of Eastern European folk music too. She encouraged me to start learning classical violin when I was 6, but I gave it up at age 12 for rock’n’roll drums!”   However, despite still having the occasional “bash” on his acoustic double bass affectionately named ‘Burt’, Seth describes himself as more a “professional listener.”  His earliest career was in radio broadcasting on Community/Public radio stations in the USA in the early 1970’s.  Despite many varied career turns since these early days, Seth’s love of radio broadcasting has continued and has provided this ‘professional listener’ with many amazing experiences.  “I once had a phone interview with jazz pianist Herbie Hancock.  I was quite nervous beforehand, but he was totally cool and we ended up gabbing on for a full hour about his career.”  Other career highlights as an interviewer include the late Indian Sitar master Ravi Shankar, legendary American jazz saxophonist Pharoah Sanders, veteran Native Canadian folk singer Buffy Sainte-Marie and African superstar Youssou N’dour.  Of course, not all radio interviews always go to script.  “The first time I interviewed African singer Angelique Kidjo I initially got off on the totally wrong foot with her by alluding to the fact that some reviewers felt that her music was becoming more European and slick since she always recorded in Paris. She immediately exploded with a torrent of angry expletives and demanded to know the names of those who had said such things about her! But thankfully she settled down after that and was very interesting and charming,” says Seth.

Seth followed his heart and resettled in Australia in 1978.  Very soon he ‘discovered’ Bellingen.  “A couple of close friends already lived here and when visiting I immediately loved the region, was interested in its history and enjoyed the laid-back feeling of the place. Having grown up in Kansas I’d always felt at home in rural areas, especially when there’s also local interest in the arts from other like-minded people,” explains Seth.  His shift to Australia would also afford Seth new career opportunities.  “Here in Australia I found myself being one of the few music journalists/broadcasters specialising in World music and jazz scenes. I had gotten to know a lot of the individual musicians and their personal stories,” says Seth.  And so began a new career in music journalism.

seth jordan, i love bello shire, 2BBB, the tiki lounge, bello winter music

Seth was an MC at WOMAdelaide 2016

“I’ve been freelance writing for music magazines and newspapers since the mid-1980’s. I’ve written for Rolling Stone, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Canberra Times, Limelight magazine, and I’ve been a regular contributor to Rhythms (Aust) and Songlines (UK) magazines for many years, specializing in World, Indigenous and Jazz music. I wrote the Australian chapter of ‘Rough Guide To World Music’, and was the Contributing Editor for the Australia Council-funded book ‘World Music: Global Sound In Australia’ (UNSW Press 2010),” says Seth.
Despite this busy career, Seth has also been very busy in Bellingen since arriving in 1981.  One of his first tasks was joining forces with Stephen Abell and other enthusiasts to co-found our local radio station 2BBB.  This proved to be a long and arduous task for this band of volunteers.  “There was a lot of bureaucratic red tape to go through in order to obtain the original broadcasting license, but the hardest part was raising funds to build and equip an entire radio studio from scratch. Thankfully a few local benefactors generously came forward (Clover Wade and Norm Braithwaite) who made it possible to obtain the North Bellingen land. Stephen Abell managed to enlist the assistance of key people like Carl Foster, who was amazingly helpful in gaining community support for the project at a time in the early 80’s when the influx of ‘new settlers’ was still looked on with a bit of suspicion by some locals. We had a small army of volunteers to actually build the mud-brick studios (Australia’s first!) and to produce and present interesting on-air programs. And decades later, 2BBB is still broadcasting and volunteer-run!”  Seth’s local achievements also include being one of the co-founders of the Bellingen Global Carnival.  He acted as the festival’s co-Artistic Director, Stage Coordinator and MC.  He is also currently the Festival Consultant to both the Bellingen Fine Music Festival and the Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival.  ” I work to assist both festivals with their strategies and logistics, with the aim to build these valued local events,” says Seth.
Seth’s first passion of radio broadcasting has never tired.  He has lived outside of the shire for stints, working as the Program Manager/Station Manager at Community stations in Bathurst, Canberra and Sydney.  He has also been a regular music correspondent for several ABC Radio programs.
seth jordan, i love bello shire, 2BBB, the tiki lounge, bello winter music

Seth at the National Multi-Cultural Festival 2008 with Jessica Good WIN News and Ross Solly ABC Radio.

More recently he was Content Services Manager at the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia, programming their national Community Radio Network.  Fortunately for us, Seth returned to Bellingen in 2015. ” I’d had enough of the frantic pace of city living and my 9-5 job and was ready to return to what still felt like home. But now I’m busier than ever here!”  His current broadcasting gig is on 2BBB – ‘The Tiki Lounge Remix’. “The Tiki Lounge Remix is a revitalized version of an award-winning, nationally-networked program that I first developed from 2004-2008. That followed on from my previous long-running program ‘Radio Babylon’ (1993-2003),” says Seth. The Tiki Lounge receives a grant from the Dept. of Communications via the Community Broadcasting Foundation.  The program features World, Indigenous and Jazz music, with in-depth feature interviews with Australian and international musicians, producers, festival organizers and the several regular music correspondents.  It is broadcast nationally from our own mud-brick radio station in North Bellingen.

seth jordan, i love bello shire, 2BBB, the tiki lounge, bello winter music

Tiki Lounge Remix on 2BBB Sundays 9pm-11pm.

Seth is also a music promoter and has brought several wonderful acts to our region.  “I select acts very carefully and only bring the creative ones that I really love! My highlights so far have included Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Toure, jazz trio The Necks, Rajasthani blues quartet Maru Tarang and roots-reggae singer Nattali Rise. My next presentation will be celebrated Egyptian-Aussie oud virtuoso Joseph Tawadros at the Memorial Hall on Friday 11th August.”  But if it is this professional and passionate music broadcaster/journalist that you would like to see in action, don’t miss ‘Conversations with Seth Jordan’ at the Bello Winter Music, Saturday 8th July, 11.30 am in the Memorial Hall Bellingen.


Leave a Reply