WORDS WITH: Louis Donnarumma - Grace: The Songs of Jeff Buckley

Words by Sharmonie Cockayne

Emerging local folk artist, Louis Donnarumma, is hitting up the Adelaide Fringe for the second year running, with his one of a kind Jeff Buckley tribute show, Grace: The Songs of Jeff Buckley.

The idea for the show stems from equal parts Tom West’s Helpless: The Songs Of Neil Youngand a clever suggestion by Louis’ Dad. “[Dad] was saying ‘You could do Jeff Buckley!’ and I was like ‘Fucken Jesus Christ!’ Cause, you know, it’s a big thing. And then I thought to myself, it could be a really good Fringe idea.”


“Not a lot of people listen to [Buckley’s] songs live, and not a lot of people cover them as often as you’d think. And I thought it’d be a really cool thing for people who really love it just to head back to that era and listen to the tunes,” says Louis.


The full Louis Donnarumma band (Anthony Costanzo, Glenn Charles, and Tyler Venter) will take to the stage for three shows only – the first two at The Wheatsheaf, and the third at The Grace Emily. Louis says that the decision to play there was a conscious one: “they’re nice relaxing pubs, and it kind of fits the 90s sort of feel. And that’s pretty much what I wanna do – get people back into that era.”


The tribute will function like a gig, but with two sets and a beer break in-between, which Louis says is so that the audience can “just sorta listen and talk to your mates.”

In case you’re wondering, he already knows what you’re thinking: But can he nail ‘Hallelujah’? He can, he has, and he will do it again.

“I’ve been playing that song for a while in my own style - for years. And I just listened to it heaps. I’ve been listening to these songs for a while now, so they’re just imprinted in my memory.”

It’s not going to be the first time Louis has played a bit of Buckley live, so this isn’t really a new thing for him. He often plays a cover or two at his gigs around Adelaide. Though he does admit that he is pretty excited to play ‘Eternal Life’ live with his band.

Last year Louis starred in a show with Maggie RutjensMaggie and Louis Live, which Louis explains was “just a male and a female singing folk songs.” It was pretty successful though, and it even led to the duo writing a song together, called ‘Spare Lighter’.

But with pre sale tickets already in full swing, this year’s show is set to be a damned good one too. We’ll see you there.

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