Charles Jenkins & The Zhivagos Head To The Semaphore Music Festival

  • Written by  Penelope Pelecas
  • Sunday, 17 September 2017 13:58
Melbourne musician Charles Jenkins and his band The Zhivagos will make an appearance at the Semaphore Music Festival in Adelaide later this month.

First held in 2005, the Semaphore Music Festival has now grown to four nights and three days of concerts. “I’m super excited [to play the festival]! It’s a rare occurrence for myself to take a band anywhere… I don’t like loosing money, just call me crazy,” Charles says humorously.

Charles & The Zhivagos recently released a new album ‘The Last Polaroid’. “It’s always an achievement; it’s always exciting to have a new record out,” Charles says.

“'The Last Polaroid' is an upbeat album that’s filled with a lot of choruses.”



Songwriter, musician, performer and producer, Charles has been in the music industry for 30-plus years. “I’ve always wanted to be a songwriter, the rest of it is a bi-product. Songwriting got me into the show business caper.”

Charles describes his sound as ‘chart topping’, conveniently having been nominated twice for an ARIA Award. “I probably had too much to drink at the ceremony, but that’s what happens when you’re hanging around and the drinks are for free.”

Charles has recorded and released 14 albums. In 2014, his sixth solo album ‘Too Much Water In The Boat’ won the AGE/Music Victoria award for best folk/roots album. He has co-written songs with Mick Thomas, Angie Hart and Suzannah Espie. “Songwriting is great fun no matter who you do it with. For me, songwriting is a wonderful art which I cherish.

“When I am reading a book I am writing a song; when I am going for a walk, I am writing a song; when I am messing around on my guitar I am writing a song.”

Over the last ten years Charles has been running songwriting, vocal and performance workshops. Charles also teaches songwriting and lyrical writing at the University of Tasmania and JMC Academy. “I am very lucky that I have been able to make a living from either writing, recording, performing or through teaching.

“I think it’s the only thing I can do… I’m not good at digging a hole or fixing a tap. From an early age songwriting felt like a very natural thing to do.”

When asked what inspires his music Charles' answer is blunt. “I don’t believe in inspiration. You just turn up to your songwriting desk and if you stay there long enough things happen.”


Charles is currently in the process of completing his Masters in Lyric Writing Techniques, while also working on future albums. “I’m finishing my Masters in Lyric Writing Techniques, so I need to finish that or else I’m in trouble.

"I always have a few records in [the] process. I have one written, however I just have to figure out how to record it before I begin the next record,” he says.

Charles Jenkins & The Zhivagos play at the Semaphore Music Festival 30 September.

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