A double bill at the charming and intimate Church St
Studios was part of the 2023 Sydney International
Women’s Jazz Festival. Featuring Panghalina Three
and The Rest is Silence, both ensembles push boundaries
and have an eclectic vision of improvised music.

Opening the evening was Panghalina Three featuring
a trio of talented musicians, (Helen Svoboda, Bonnie
Stewart, Maria Moles) each performing multiple
roles. Eerie synthesizer, ethereal bowing on a double
bass and breathy vocalisations soon transformed into
the sounds of angels singing, like sirens wailing and luring
the audience towards the shoals. These enchanting
harmonies were then challenged by a menacing synthesizer,
creating a weird and subtle discord. Prominent drumming
and percussion rounded out the end stages of this piece,
taking it in another direction.

Panghalina Three continued with a change of direction with a
piece featuring frenetic drumming, rapid bowing and
percussion that sounded like temple bells. In a song about
Maria’s cat the drums produced dance-like rhythms that
evoked a cat walking and was further enhanced by some
delightful, melodic plucked bass. There were hints of
flamenco and tap dance in the composition and a haunting
motif from the double bass.

The brief final song exhibited their sweet, gentle vocals. The
melody seemed like it was floating in the delightful space.
Panghalina Three is a progressive and creative trio. Their
improvised music can be obscure and unknowable but it is
best to go with the adventure, experience and enjoy it.

The Rest is Silence was the second act. It is a four piece
featuring Flora Carbo (alto saxophone), Theo Carbo (guitar),
Isaac Gunnoo (double bass) and Maddison Carter (drums).
Their music is a creative and offbeat blend of jazz, rock and
country. Their set opened with just Theo playing guitar and
sounding reminiscent of Jeff Buckley before the other
instruments joined and the music flowed.

The band likes to mix it up and extend boundaries. Some of
Maddison Carter’s drumming is subtle and unorthodox, at
other times he provided the rupture, wild drumming against
the steady rhythms of Isaac Gunnoo’s double bass and Theo’s
guitar. Flora Carbo’s alto saxophone can be dreamy and seems
to float away in the breeze. It can also be anthemic,
unexpected and quirky. The band’s impressive skills, spirit
of adventure and creativity are to be commended.

Panghalina Three and The Rest is Silence,
performed at Church St Studios, Camperdown as part
of the Sydney International Women’s
Jazz Festival, presented by SIMA (Sydney Improvised Music
The festival runs until 5th November and includes
a rich and diverse program and is highly recommended.