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Fanny Lumsden rocks Manchester on grand return to the UK!

In a cosy upstairs room in the centre of Manchester, with an old fireplace and bright red birds dotted all over the wallpaper, Fanny Lumsden took to the tallest stage she’d ever seen (in a room of that size). The Australian stood in a pink dress she’d bought that day with ribbons in her hair, flanked by her band the Prawn Stars, all dressed up in pink boiler suits.

It was their second ticketed full-band show in the UK as they returned to the country following a successful first appearance at Glastonbury festival last summer.

“Have I peaked already? Is it all downhill from here?” She laughed in a pre-show interview. “I live on a farm six hours from the city. I just couldn't be further from Glastonbury. Then I got to play this like iconic festival. I felt like at some point someone would be like oh, sorry, no, no, not you the other Fanny!”

Lumsden released a new album, ‘Hey Dawn’ last year, which is full of witty, carefully crafted lyrics. “I never sit down and think, I’m going to write a song but it always starts with a guitar for me,” she says when reflecting on the album. “It was a real family affair.” Her brother and husband are both in the band. Her brother was full of energy as he danced around the stage. Their close harmonies point to a unique chemistry.

It was primarily this collection of songs that her and her band brought to life on the stage of the Deaf Institute. ‘When I Die’ was a particular highlight as the audience was in uproar as she told the story behind it, of Brett sharing his funeral plans with Lumsden and putting a down payment of wood towards her performance fee. The harmonies were superb.

Music is not the only thing that’s a family affair.  Lumsden, along with almost everyone she knows, is a volunteer firefighter. “Because we live miles from anywhere, it’s sort of just what you have to do.”

Lumsden lives in the Snowy Mountains, two hours from the nearest supermarket, six hours from Sydney, six hours from Melbourne. “People think Australia is really hot all of the time, but we do have snow sometimes.” In her song ‘Great Divide’ she reflects on the power of the mountains, addressing the 2019 fires that affected the area near where she lives. After training since the age of five, it was a no brainer for Lumsden to jump to it and help, meanwhile her family also were called to action – her brother, husband, parents. “Everyone decided to get properly trained so we didn’t just have all the gear and no idea. After that we decided to formalise it.”

Again, Lumsden captivated the audience with tales behind the songs, sharing some from her older albums like ‘Growin Up’ off her record ‘Fallows’. The relatable story of hitting that age where you look in the cupboards and realise you’re a grown up now had the audience looking at each other with knowing smiles. She had an endearing nature about her and you could tell the band spends hours on the road together, playing all over Australia, they were tight.

After telling several personal stories behind her own music she decided to pay tribute to other great artists from Australia with a medley that started with some of the most beautiful harmonies on ‘Down Under’ by Men at Work and ended with Lumsden dancing on the bar! The mash-up had really ramped up the energy as the band progressed through ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’ which they made their own on the mandolin and ‘Physical’ which saw Lumsden request the help of a fan as she came out into the crowd on his shoulders. The barmaid grinned as she tried to serve drinks whilst Lumsden used the bar as a stage as the medley reached its conclusion.

Lumsden is currently working on new music alongside touring. In her spare time, as well as fighting fires, she makes films and documentaries, “When I write a song, it’s very visual for me so it just sort of goes hand in hand with what I do. We’re making a documentary at the moment about the ‘Country Halls’ Tour.” Stay tuned, you’ll be hearing plenty more of Fanny Lumsden!


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