Internationally acclaimed musician Luke Plumb ('98) returned to Tassie a few years ago and during the pandemic has rediscovered the appeal of intimate venues where he can see every face in the room
|26 Aug 2020|
|Hutchins School Old Boys’ Association Club News|
Luke Plumb ('98) is a Tasmanian folk musician, producer, composer and teacher.
He performed on stage to a crowd of 100,000 people in Mexico City and at major festivals and events around the world. However, Luke is equally comfortable performing at a socially distanced gig for 50 people in a Hobart pub or community hall.
The 39-year-old grew up by the beach in Kingston playing classical violin and piano. Hutchins students and teachers from his time may remember Luke playing in the orchestra, swing band or at the renowned Psychedelic Socials.
Later in his teens, Luke picked up a mandolin and began exploring the world of folk music. He played regular gigs in a band at the New Sydney Hotel in Hobart but it was busking at the famous Salamanca Market which gave him his big break. A bass player from Shooglenifty, an acclaimed Scottish Celtic fusion band, was on the hunt for a talented mandolin player for the group’s Australian tour and visited the market to see Plumb in action before inviting him to immediatly join the tour.
Plumb spent a decade touring internationally with Shooglenifty, performing in Europe, Asia, North and South America and Russia and recording albums, while also working on various other projects, establishing a reputation as a driving force in acoustic music on the global stage.
Plumb returned to Tasmania almost three years ago for a quieter life by the beach at Lauderdale with his family, although he was still travelling widely to perform, before the coronavirus pandemic hit.
“I was planning to tour NSW in March this year, then Europe in May/June,’’ he says. “It was supposed to be my first solo tour in Greece and Germany and then over to the UK — I was booked to make a record over there."
Australian festivals for which he was booked have been cancelled for this year and 2021, including his trip to America next May which is looking unlikely. But Luke is still busily working on musical projects and is teaching students online in Canada, America, England and across Australia.
He is also excited to be performing again now that COVID-19 restrictions have eased in Tasmania.
Luke recently did a gig at Gowrie Park, in the North-West, and another in Battery Point. He will perform at the kunanyi Folk Club in Fern Tree on September 5.
Plumb says performing with Shooglenifty as a support act for a major Mexican pop star — at a free outdoor festival at Zocalo Square in Mexico City to about 100,000 people in 2004 was the biggest gig he had played and it was an amazing experience.
But he says there’s also something special about smaller gigs.
“Tassie is always a good place to play,’’ Plumb says. “I actually reckon the kind of community vibe that exists in Tassie is a huge part in why we’ve done so well on the whole virus front and it’s the same stuff that makes audiences really warm. There’s never any trouble, it’s like playing for family.There’s an intimacy you can get in a small venue with a small crowd that you can’t get on a big stage.
“There’s something really lovely about being able to see every face in the room.’’