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Artists

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Grace Barbe is the real deal, a genuinely exotic world music star for the 21st century, with the talent, looks and voice to match. Grace’s soulful music reflects and celebrates the diverse cultural influences of her Indian Ocean heritage (African, Indian, Asian and European). A colourful and energetic fusion of tropical island rhythms with African percussion, pop, jazz, reggae, rock and latin flavours, Grace’s “Afro-Kreol” sound is original, fresh and funky. Grace's voice is a remarkably powerful instrument and as a songwriter she has a rare and natural gift for melody and rhythm, using traditional Seychellois sega and mutya beats as a basis for her brilliant material. Grace performs on both guitar and bass and sings in three languages; English, Kreol and French. Blending traditional rhythms with a modern pop sensibility, Grace’s music demonstrates a natural and unforced fusion of cultures – much like Seychelles itself. In their home state of Western Australia, “Grace Barbe Afro-Kreol” has been awarded “Best World Act” four years running in 2009, 2010, 2011 & 2012.

 

Shellie Morris is an Australian Aboriginal singer/ songwriter who performs earthy and honest songs. Shellie has a beautiful voice and sings soulful enigmatic acoustic ballads. She is currently a featured Aboriginal singer with the Black Arm Band (a collaboration of Australia’s top indigenous artists and jazz musicians). Shellie's song Swept Away was orchestrated a nd performed in 2008 with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Shellie has shared the bill with touring artists including Yothu Yindi, Sinead O’Connor, Meshel Ndegeocello, Rickie Lee Jones, Grinspoon, You Am I, Tiddas, Jimmy Little and Magic Dirt. She was nominated for a Deadly VibesAward In 2002. She also works with Indigenous communities and youth throughout Australia, helping young people to write music about their experiences, as an Ambassador for The Fred Hollows Foundation. She has released two albums to date and is currently writing the music for her third CD.

 

 Diego Guerrero (Madrid) is one of Spain’s most celebrated musical innovators. Taken in by the gypsy minority of his hometown as a teenager, he became “Flamenco” by night and by day he studied composition and orchestral and Jazz arrangement. As a performer, Diego is a confident bandleader and deeply moving vocalist. His music contrasts the emotive seriousness of flamenco with the elevating raw African sounds of Cuban Rumba.

  

 

Penny Larkins travelled a winding road through the land of a cappella; singing Bluegrass harmonies with Australian folk ensemble Salvation Jane in the early 1990's; training at Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts; and a career in musical theatre, working with the likes of Rhonda Burchmore (Mamma Mia!) and Jill Perryman (Boy from Oz). Other career highlights have been Way Dead Cool for OzOpera (Lindy Hume/Tom Healey) and Lady Chatterley's Lover for Performing Arts Productions. Collaborations with Punctum Live Arts produced Shack: endangered species and ‘Dinner in a dry dam' . Penny channels this performance experience into her vocal teaching practice, specialising in resonance work. Penny performs with Carl Pannuzzo as Pot'n'Kettle.

 

Joseph Jordania migrated to Australia in 1995 and is currently a Honorary Research Fellow and conductor of the World Music Choir of the Faculty of Music at the University of Melbourne. He is founding member of Golden Fleece and a participant and leader of several ensembles in Melbourne. Venerated for his knowledge of Georgian song, he has two PhDs in musicology and ethnomusicology (1982, 1991) and is an a

   
 

 

Nino Tsitsishvili is an international expert in Georgian music. Nino graduated Tbilisi State Conservatorium as an ethnomusicologist and obtained PhD at Monash University. A founding member of the Georgian trio Golden Fleece and pop-rock-choral ensemble Why Not, Nino has taught workshops and performed in Canada, UK, U.S.A., France, as well as published worldwide on Georgian music. Her two books, one on gender and singing and the other on the relations between cultural archetypes and political changes in the Caucasus and Georgia, were published recently, and both were launched by the Vice Chancellor of Monash University.

 

Ajak Kwai is the rare voice of an African woman in Australia. Ajak has a haunting melodic voice, distinctly African, and to listen to her is to experience this dark continent in all its colours, rhythms and mystery.Whether Ajak is singing in Arabic, Sudanese or English she leaves you in no doubt as to the depth and richness of her Dinka roots. Music is the vehicle for her stories of extraordinary life experiences as a refugee, exiled from her home town. Ajak's distinctive voice and vibrant afro soul style songs have seen her in demand with many festivals including Byron Bay, Apollo Bay, National Folk Festival, Port Fairy, Melbourne International Festival. Her move to Melbourne in 2007 ignited a new phase in Ajak's songwriting seeing her write and perform with many well know Australian musicians including percussionist Nicky Bomba, multi-instrumentalist Martin Tucker and fretman Chris Basile.

 

Shawn Whelan and Natalie Sims have been leading community singing for more than 20 years. While living in the USA, they heard Sacred Harp singing on the radio and were instantly hooked. Since returning to Australia in 2001, they have led a monthly Sacred Harp singing group in Melbourne, as well as helping establish groups in Blackwood VIC and Sydney. They have led workshops at Harrietville Bluegrass Festival and other community arts events, and regularly visit (and are visited by) the US shape note singers. They look forward to introducing you to this 250-year old living tradition of community singing.

 

Dani Fry comes from 3 generations of music teachers and has been a professional musician and teacher  for over 20 years. In 2007 she was the winner of the Australian Idol My Mum Rocks competition. Dani is musical director for the Sweet Monas Choir, the Mini Monas Choir, NESBlinks Naz Avaz Multicultural Choir, Ballarat Clarendon College Choir, Ballarat High School Choir and the Vocalise Thursday Night Community Choir. She is a regional conductor for Boite’s Melbourne Millennium Chorus and Co-Director/Conductor for Boite’s Melbourne Millennium Chorus 2011, Freedom Road. In the past she has also conducted The Ballarat Council’s Home and Hosed Choir and the Aboriginal co-operative’s Ermara Choir. Dani currently works in schools and for community groups as well as tutoring privately. Dani has worked with many bands over her career including Original funk group Hip-Popatamus, Jazz group Last 4 Bars and 60s Pop Band Vonda Bouys & The Falsettos and toured with groups such as Epicure and Aurora Jane. She been a studio session singer on numerous albums and recorded many jingles for radio and television. Dani teaches advanced singing, including VCE voice- contemporary popular, facilitates workshops in community singing and works in schools.

Stella Savy has been a professional musician and performer for the last 20 years, performing with groups such as a cappella group Kiama, The Boxing Tostados, Sheep Weather Alert, Roller Boy, Insectgirl and Latin Band Los Locos. She has a certificate in Performing Arts, a diploma in ‘Small Companies and Community Theatre’ and has been facilitating workshops for over 10 years. She was artistic director for the Moorabbin Theatre Company from 1993 to 1996, was part of the organisational team for Ballarat’s Winterstock and Waterstock and in 1998 launched the inaugural Club Sandwich at SMB. She has been a vocal coach for over 15 years, including teaching voice (The Alexander Technique) at Ballarat University, conducting groups such as the Sweet Monas, the Mini Monas and Vocalise Thursday Night Community Choir and is Co-Director/Conductor for Boite’s Melbourne Millennium Chorus 2011, Freedom Road. Stella teaches advanced singing, including VCE voice- contemporary popular, hand drumming, facilitates workshops and works in schools, both one on one and primary classroom teaching.

Neda Rahmani. Born in Iran to Persian and Mauritian Parents Neda grew up in Australia enjoying the freedom to perform and learn world cultures. Her career has been in delivering and collaborating original world music performances, in Australia and around the world. Her vision is to bring World music to the commercial music scene. On her path she has made her debut solo release titled “All Colour. This year she launches that project with a live show featuring the eleven artists that recorded on that album. Her music is Acoustic and World Electro, Samba and Hip Hop. Inspired by stunning Brazilian carnival traditions, you can expect to see glamorous percussion street entries, explosive harmonic vocals in numbers, turntables, classical and electric guitar, Dance and Film Media – together this equals All Colourful Music. Neda has designed and manufactured a band cloth - that represents and reaffirms the elements and shapes of the music and its players. When you see the band and hear the music the fabric becomes an affirmation of their connectedness as some of the best artists Melbourne has to offer. Swelling Harmonies in English Creole and Portuguese flow from Neda . Beats inter connect with her enthusiastic percussion style . Anyone around her is suddenly a Singer, Percussionist and Movement master-  tied down by no limits. In Neda's workshops you can expect to learn rhythms on percussion, movement and vocal performances designed for carnival entries. 

Barb McFarlane. More than any other singing experience, I love to bring people together to sing for the sheer heck of it! My ideal world is one where strangers sing together in queues, supermarkets, cafes and working bees. I’ve sung all my life but never felt that performance was the way I wanted to use my voice so finding the world of community singing has been like coming home! As well as lots of singing in choirs, backing vocals in bands and in small acappella groups, I’ve had lots of training and support from the wonderful Community Music Victoria and exposure to fantastic Singing leadership skills which I use all the time in a variety of singing settings working with many abilities.

Rose Heystek grew up in a musical family of six siblings, Rose Heystek has been singing harmony all her life . She discovered a cappella bluegrass gospel in 1990 and as a result, formed Australian folk ensemble Salvation Jane with family and friends. Since then, Rose has run community choirs, been a vocal teacher and remains the principal arranger for Salvation Jane. Rose is bringing her passion for harmony, to the 2013 Boite Singers' Festival for all to share!

Nasrine Rahmani relocated 4 years ago from Melbourne, Australia to Madrid. She is a versatile percussionist, of Persian and Mauritian blood, who has studied extensively inCuba, specialising in Afro-Cuban Rumba on the congas and Cubancajón as well as salsa and timba on the timbales. She began her career alongside her older sister Neda Rahmani in the Melbourne based percussion outfit Tumbarumba and later became an integral member of original 10 piece Latin mestizo band San Lazaro. On a trip to Andalucía, Spain, she met flamenco singer, guitarist and arranger Diego Guerrero and together they formed a widely respected project incorporating flamenco and afro cuban musicians called Diego Guerrero y El Solar de Artistas. Upon her arrival to Madrid, she engaged in an intensive and ongoing studyof flamenco rhythms on the cajón and in the short time shehas been in Spain she has performed with widely recognised artistas such as JorgePardo, Jerry Gonzalez, Juan de Juan, Belen Lopez, Antonio Serrano, Alain Perez, Rubem Dantas, and Piraña.  

Anna Brooks was a primary school teacher in the Dandenong Ranges for 6 years prior to co-founding RUCCIS circus arts for children. Anna came from a sporting background coaching rhythmic gymnastics and sports acrobatics, prior to discovering the circus arts as an adult. In 2004-2005 Anna was co-founder, manager and lead coach of Coonara Community Circus. In 2006 she coached with Circus Oz and was commissioned to write a circus arts program for Western Australian Schools. Anna specialises in hoop manipulation, stilts and acrobalance. Ruccis is a circus training school based in Kilsyth, Outer Eastern Melbourne. Anna and her volunteer Ruccis team first joined the Festival in 2011 as the organisers of our Children's Program. They enjoyed themselves so much they're back for more in 2013!

Miriam Lieberman.Take a heavy dose of West African musical sensibility, add a dash of Brazilian rhythms with folk music stylings and you get an idea of what Sydney based singer songwriter Miriam Lieberman brings to the table. Melding soulful vocals, percussive guitar &  21 stringed African harp( kora ) Her music combines melodic story telling with catchy uplifting choruses - ‘A true cross cultural hybrid’. The Age reviewed her latest album This Is The Story and wrote: “‘Lieberman is a robust singer with a sensual yet brittle undertone. Her songs are beautifully melodic richly textured but can have pointed themes.. Simply brilliant  4 and a half stars” .Jeff Glorfeld

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