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Which is witch?

Melissa Fyfe - 6th December, 1997 - The Age

'WE ARE both witches in our own way," says Wendy Rule, the gifted Melbourne singer-sorceress. Rule is talking about her partnership with Kerri Simpson and their December show at the Continental Cafe called Witches Christmas.

Rule, who has released two albums, practises Wicca, a nature-based witchcraft "that makes me a Wiccan witch, as opposed to a wicked witch". The highly acclaimed Simpson is a voudou hounsis, or initiate, one step below a priestess.

With their shared belief in spirituality and exploration of the soul through songwriting, Rule and Simpson have fused their considerable talents many times, but this time they have invited 12 of their singing sisters to celebrate Christmas.

Monique Brumby (voted best female artist at the 1997 ARIA awards), Rebecca Barnard (of successful Melbourne-based band Rebecca's Empire), Lou Bennett (of the three-piece vocal group Tiddas) and the country-guitar-pop singer Tanya Lee Davies, will be among the guests bubbling the broth with Rule and Simpson. At $2, it will be one of the cheapest serves of Christmas cheer around.

They will play each Tuesday night in December, with different guests every night. "We are strong believers in women being in control of their own creativity," says Rule. "And this is an expression of that solidarity between female artists."

As Christmas is a healing and caring time - which ties into their own beliefs - the two singers are asking people to bring along offerings of food, toys or gifts to place at their Wiccan/Voudou altar as donations to the Salvation Army. "I don't think you can just call yourself a witch and that's it. It is a communal role and it seems, as with music, that it goes beyond yourself and into doing something for others," says Rule.

Both singers draw heavily on their beliefs in their songs and are sometimes misunderstood as artists because their beliefs are generally misunderstood by the public.

"Both of our faiths suffer from a lot of prejudice. They are badly represented in the movies and the press," says Rule. "Naturally we come up against walls when people cannot overcome their prejudices."

* Witches Christmas at the Continental Cafe, Greville Street, Prahran, tickets $2 at the door, 8.30pm; 9, 16, 23 and 30 December. Kerri Simpson and Wendy Rule plus guests: Tanya Lee Davies, Rebecca Barnard, Monique Brumby, Lou Bennett, Edwina Preston and Diane Peters, Kirsty Stegwazi, Nichaud Fitzgibbon, Rosie Westbrook, Megan Bawden and Penny Ikinger and Rose Baby Wemus.

The Age, 28/2/98

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