Durham sweet on our cities
Singer Judith Durham. Picture: Supplied.

If the next time she's walking through an Australian airport and hears just one person whistling a song from her Cities Suite, Judith Durham will be thrilled it has been taken to heart.

Celebrating 50 years in music for Australia's first pop princess, Durham has released The Australian Cities Suite, an album featuring songs celebrating each of our capital cities.

"I would love to think that the Cities Suite becomes part of people's psyche," Judith Durham OAM says joyfully. "When I go to each city, I think of phrases from those songs now."

This project dates back to the early 70s when the singer and her late husband, pianist Ron Edgeworth, drove from San Francisco to Boston. Constantly checking the map, Durham was struck by how many American cities we know through songs - from I Left My Heart in San Francisco to Galveston, Georgia on My Mind and Massachusetts - compared with so few in Australia.

She decided to write a song for her hometown of Melbourne called, Seldom Melbourne Leaves My Mind. Seldom was the only word she could think of that (almost) rhymed with Melbourne.

Over the intervening years the suite took shape with songs like Sydney, Girl of My Dreams, Meet Me in the Mall in Brisbane, Darwin is Da Winner and When Perth is on the East Side.

The Australian Cities Suite album is rounded off by Judith Durham's Advance Australia Fair and her love song for the nation in Australia Land of Today.

"It has been a labour of love," Durham says. "Now that it's recorded and released, it has gone to a whole new level. All the songs have travelled over the years really well.

"All my life I've known American cities because of these songs and anthems alongside songs like I Love Paris in the Springtime or Istanbul (Not Constantinople). So I love the idea of Australians being able to sing about their own city."

In her first concert tour for over a decade, the solo artist and singer for the Seekers, will be opening her nine-date national tour in Perth later this month and the shows will feature the city songs.

Her label is also slowly re-releasing her solo back catalogue on CD. Durham says the combination has brought her back into the public eye, which she has enjoyed. "I am very lucky, my music and the Seekers music still makes me very happy." <div class="endnote">


The West Australian

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