From The Desk Of Ben Lee: Garma Festival

benleealogo750news118d“No guilt, all pleasure,” sings Ben Lee on his forthcoming album, The Rebirth Of Venus (due April 28 on New West). Lately, the 30-year-old Australian singer/songwriter has been on a mission to deliver radio-ready pop songs for the rest of us, mixing up hooks and politics and letting it all hang out. Shortly before he appeared on Jay Leno last week, Lee did a Q&A with MAGNET on the topics of Venus, his recent marriage to Ione Skye and the “mistake-pop” of his past and future.

As guest editor of this week, the world’s most enlightened pop star shares thoughts about his latest revelations—from music to monkey gods.

garma540bLee: Garma Festival is an Aboriginal gathering of the tribes that happens in Arnhem land, northern territory of Australia, every year. This part of Australia is considered sacred land to the Aboriginal people, and you have to be invited onto it to take part. Once there, you camp and learn about issues facing Aboriginal communities in modern times, as well as see the “bungul” every afternoon. This is the time when all the local tribes gather and do traditional dances for each other, imitating animals and spirits of their ancestors. As an Australian, I had only really learned about Aboriginal culture from schoolbooks, so going to Garma was a life-changing experience for me. I realized how alive and vibrant the ancient culture of Australia truly is.