Published just a few weeks ago, Girls at the Piano, is , in part, a memoir of a young girl’s infatuation with the piano which over the years into her adolescence becomes a burden rather than a source of pleasure. It is also the story of her grandmother, a singer and pianist who emigrated to Australia just after the first World War to escape personal humiliation from a marriage which wasn’t. These very personal stories are interwoven with a social and cultural history of the relationship between women and the piano since the 18th Century told through fictional and real characters. The author, Virginia Lloyd, spoke with Eastside’s Mick Paddon, about her personal journey, the importance that playing the piano still has for her, having rediscovered the vibrancy of playing through jazz, and how she uncovered her grandmother’s hidden history. Virginia also shared three pieces of music from Australian jazz pianists. The interview is introduced by Barney McCall’s piece “Poverty” taken from his album Moroolbark. Part way through Virginia and Mick take a break to listen to Paul Grabowsky’s interpretation of the Lennon song “Julia” from the CD Tee Vee. As the interview closes they enjoy a track from Mike Nock’s live recording, Big Small Band, titled “Current Reality”
The interview and the music were first put to air on Jane Raffan’s Arts-Monday on April 30th as part of Eastside’s International Jazz Day broadcasting.