Tamara Kuldin's love song for her Babushka

October 4, 2018
Enamoured by the romance and sophistication of the golden era of song, sassy Australian vocalist Tamara Kuldin has been captivating audiences from Melbourne, New York to Europe with her playful, sultry and heartfelt interpretation of songs from The Great American Songbook, French classics to lesser known vintage jazz & blues gems. We're lucky enough to have Tamara perform at the Museum in a show dedicated to her late grandmother. We chatted with her to find out more.

You’ll be coming to the Museum to perform your show, Love Song for Babushka. How did the show come about?
My grandmother was never short of advice and stories. I’d often walk away from our conversations laughing in disbelief at what came out of her mouth, or thinking what riches she had to offer. It was always something I planned on doing. This is just the beginning of this show’s journey really.

Can you describe the relationship you had with your grandmother, and what was it about the grandmother / granddaughter bond that made it so unique?
Apparently when I was little I first called my babushka ‘mum’. Our bond strengthened over the years as I became an adult. I never took her for granted, knowing she wouldn’t be around forever, so I always made time for her. Just the touch of her cool hand on my skin would calm me. She was my touchstone.  I guess we had a very candid relationship, very honest. Nothing was off the table-love, sex…you name it – our lengthy conversations covered a myriad of topics. She also drove me nuts, boy she could be fierce! I drank in every moment we had. I still see a bagel or little sweet treat and instinctively go to buy it for her. It is hard to say what made it unique. But her presence in my life permeated into everything I did, and still does.

What musical choices did you make and what musical influences do you draw from?
I’m predominantly a jazz vocalist but my love affair with song traverses many different genres. A while ago I did a show called ‘jewettes’ singing songs by Jewish women. Some of these women – their stories, the lyrics, they beautifully complement stories about my grandmother.

In your work, how do storytelling and music interact?
In general? They work hand in hand. I often think of singling as storytelling through song. The lyrics, the context and background of the song, personal anecdotes that easily weave within the song’s theme. It’s all storytelling really.

What do you think your late grandmother would make of your show?
Hmmm…she’d love that I’m at the Jewish Museum. She was very proud of her cultural roots. She’d just ask me not to divulge too much… the naughty stuff (the good stuff!) But she would also have loved that people who had never met her knew of her through precious performances. I think she’d be chuffed.

What are you working on next?
Many different projects. Overseas gigs and new ventures. It never ends!

Thanks Tamara! Be sure to grab your tickets to this special concert by clicking here.