‘Balkan ABBA’ heads to Stratford

The Royal High Jinx: Silas Palmer, Sarah Busuttil, Jen Hawley and Terry Cole. Photo: Contributed

Prepare yourself for a band that needs to be heard and seen to be believed.

The Royal High Jinx will be performing this Saturday at the Stratford Courthouse Theatre, showcasing their eclectic music and vibrant costumes to the venue for the first time.

The four-piece band describes their music as “inspired by European traditions, peppered with Gypsy Jazz, Latin, Balkan & Swing grooves with a pinch of Folk.”

But according band member Sarah Busuttil, their music has also drawn comparisons with a certain Swedish pop group.

“A lot of people call us ‘Balkan ABBA’,” Ms Busuttil told the Gippsland Times.

It’s an assertion she believes isn’t too far from the truth: “the music that we play is very singable, danceable, and we try to get the crowd singing along with us.”

Ms Busuttil performs violin as part of the group, and is joined by Silas Palmer on keys and percussion, Jen Hawley on guitar and Terry Cole on mandolin – who occasionally dabbles in a bit of on-stage juggling – with all four performing vocals.

They’re a band that likes to keep busy – since its founding in 2014, The Royal High Jinx has released four albums, most recently Murder Motel.

Additionally, the quartet have also toured Europe, where they played 23 shows in the space of one month.

Attention worldwide has been drawn not just to their music, but also their outfits, with the two ladies often wearing corsets, tutus and fascinators, while the men will dress in brightly coloured suits.

“We’re a little bit cheeky, but we like to dress-up and have a bit of a glamorous look to the show,” Ms Busuttil said.

“Life’s too short to not dress-up!”

The band are making the most of their time in Stratford, with a World Music Workshop preceding their evening performance.

Those who attend will be taught songs from the “Royal High Jinx Tune Book” played in Klezmer, Romantic and Balkan styles.

“It’s open to anyone, which is great, because even if you’re not a musician, you can come along and listen and perhaps clap along – we can teach rhythm and things like that,” Ms Busuttil said.

“We try to cater for anyone.”

Ms Busuttil added that the entire band was “very excited” to be performing in Stratford, and singled-out local performer Anita Hensen for making it possible.

“We’re really looking forward to celebrating world music with everyone at the Courthouse, it should be a lot of fun!”

The Royal High Jinx will be appearing in Stratford this Saturday, June 11.

Their World Music Workshop will take place at 3pm, and their musical performance in the Theatre from 7pm.

Tickets can be purchased via www.stratfordcourthouse.com.au