Jim Moginie


For fifty years, songwriter, guitarist and keyboard player Jim Moginie was a driving force behind the startling rise and global success of one of Australia s most powerful, influential and iconic rock bands. Through the ups and downs of writing and releasing generation-defining songs, touring relentlessly and enduring the intense scrutiny drawn by the band’s uncompromising lyrics and environmental activism, the members of Midnight Oil developed a feeling of five against the world, the firm friends forming a de facto family. For Jim Moginie, the band was a calling and a refuge, and a distraction from a growing feeling that something was missing from his life. Raised by a loving family, he’d learned as a child that his biological mother had given him up for adoption. Gradually, alongside the Oils unfolding saga of stardom and controversy, Jim began a quest to find his birth family, these twin paths leading him from suburban Sydney through the nascent Australian punk scene and the uncharted musical territory of the Western deserts to the stadiums of Europe and America, the meandering roads

and verdant hills of rural Ireland, countless musical collaborations, and poignant reunions with band members and long-lost relatives. Threaded with vivid recollections of childhood and travel, entertaining behind-the-scenes stories of band life, and fascinating insights into the creative processes that produced some of Australia’s most beloved songs, The Silver River is at once a lyrical coming-of-age story, a heart- warming family chronicle, and a must-read for anyone interested in the history of Australian music.

Jim now spends much of his time in Ireland, here in Co. Carlow. His latest record Murmurations was written specifically for solo electric guitar and was inspired by a natural phenomenon that Jim witnessed in and around Borris, the massive gatherings of starlings that occur during winter evenings. Moginie himself says of the performance: “Those seemingly random or repetitive movements of the birds, that in the language of a singular guitar I sought to echo nature. I flatter myself to think I could come close.”

It’s not unusual for musicians to take inspiration from nature: Australian composer Peter Sculthorpe once wrote ‘I’ve never strayed too far from a pantheistic belief in the sacred in nature, and the main body of my music is concerned with seeking this”. Saint Saens ‘Carnival of the Animals’, the ever changing ocean Debussy ‘La Mer’ or the dramatic weather in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 ‘Pastoral’ are other examples.

Fiachna and Jim toured together through the USA and Canada in 1993 so their talk will cover that with guitars to hand as well as the book, Murmurations, other music inspired by nature. and a few well chosen songs.