17 December 2014

Carols at the Substation 2014

What a lovely night at the Substation for the Carols.  This year the folk club was joined by Strings West, Newport Gardens Primary School Choir and a range of other performers and a full house of enthusiastic audience members.  It was a lovely way to celebrate Christmas and the end to another very successful musical year in Newport - our 10th!  The after-party at the Bowls Club gave everyone a chance to enjoy a few drinks and enjoy the community spirit that was so evident at the Substation.

29 November 2014

Club Night

Greg O'Leary reviews our final Club Night for the year...

Talk about a feel good session!

Sadly I can't cover all the performers but every single one enhanced the already warm and positive atmosphere. Since H and I are unlikely to attend many from now on, I am going to focus on the highlights for us. Apologies to those folks who I fail to mention.
1)           Rob Richmond did two things, both beautiful. He made maximum use of his moderate technical skills and massive innate talent to produce beautiful music. It was a joy to hear a tune I taught him get such a sensitive treatment. His Ashokan Farewell sounded even better. A beautiful rendition.
2             ) Jackie Kerin, after five minutes of totally un-necessary, self-deprecatory preamble, sang a wonderfully poignant Woodie Guthry song that saluted our now extinct dear friend Rob Durbridge. It would surely find him in the musical aether. Jackie always  sings with passion and in tune, plays her instrument well and thinks about her songs deeply. Tears don't come to my eyes for nothing. Thank you Jackie.
3)           Jason Ashwell. Jason  would be the first to agree he is not a born performer. He like so many has a deep fear of being made to look foolish in public, musically speaking that is. Neither he  or  I have any real idea of why he puts  himself through such strain, but I for  one am glad he does. His  performance of Body and Soul will stay with me permanently. So complete and expressive, so well played and at such an emotional cost. Wonderful stuff Jason.
4)           The Tall Boys and Suanna Harvey played Celtic a la Martin Hayes and boy did it sound good! The essence of a good band is complementarity and for me the three of them illustrated that perfectly. Each voice, clear in its own right, supported an  strengthened the others. A treat  to be there to hear them.
5)           Tassie Bill      Gordon Prest has left our shores and Tassie Bill has lost  his musical mate. They epitomized everything I love about this  club. Their love of music  is deep and they applied themselves to performance assiduously. They select   material that emphatically moves them and it shows. I loved all of their somewhat  amateurish performances because of the immense heart they exhibit . They would probably prefer to be  really hot players . That ain't goin' to happen anytime soon. What they are  is interesting and emotionally generous. Bill picked a cracker of a song to sing about the Valhalla cricketers. I have heard none better in the Aussie vernacular. Thanks Bill.
6)           The  crazy poet. He is an enigmatic tour de force, fantastic in his own gestalt. He treats us like his audience of thousands in the Colosseum. Prancing and primping like some 17th century French courtier he delivers the goods every time. A self-penned poem or song , monologue or just plain harangue he has a way with words, tunes and a presence that is amazing. Last night was a half finished  poem that evoked Shakespeare at his best . I loved it even though I had no idea what it was about. He also is a shameless name-dropper!
7, Dave Davies performance of Eureka was a poignant and fitting epitaph to Rob Durbridge. Dave performed with the gravitas needed to bring it to life and team-mate Margaret  quietly nudged him along. the right track.  I can't remember my middle name so how he can get through such a long and not often performed piece is beyond me totally. Rob would have loved it.
8) Helen and Sarah
Helen does not put herself forward EVER. Last night she  took the bull between the horns and she and Sarah nailed a Mazas study totally. I had heard it a hundred  times as she practiced it but not like this! The two of them sounded awesome.  I  know her journey well and so I can say how pleased and proud she did this.....way out of her comfort zone, it heralds a new stage in Helen's music . She is already a way better Irish fiddler than me. What next.

Sara made my night by leaving her comfort zone and also nailing it. She is one of Australia's great violinists and can sight-read flyshit at 20 paces. last night she at my jocular, bullying instigation she took a solo over a jazz standard without any preparation, no sheet music and at a moment's notice and it sounded fantastic. An impromptu improvised almost cadenza-like effort that simply thrilled me ! Wow!

9)  I hate choirs ! Actually I hate the concept of me being in a choir ! I actually love the idea  other people raising up their joyful inspired voices in a kaleidescope of harmony and good-will in a feelgood team enterprise. I just can't do it myself. I am more self-conscious in a group like that than any other situation outside group sex with men. So I was surprised when last night both Hel and I joined in the group singing. It says a lot for the Paisley and Plaid team.

10) Bruce Williams picked two tunes to do, that got everyone going. That was generous and good-spirited of him. He could have chosen to do one of his many pieces , all of which are at the top end of musicality and skill. That would be reasonable as there is always a time and a place for excellence. but he chose to use his skills to assist others in joining in. I found that to be a highlight for me.

11) The Uke Dolls
I just love them . I cant remember all their names: Allison, Carol, Moira, Ruby ,Rose Anna....I dunno, but for sheer spirit, enthusiasm , and entertainment value and the wonderful corny songs they sing they cannot be beat. Moira I confess is my fav.  To pick up bass uke at 75+ and make fist of it is awe-inspiring.

12)  Others. I have run out of steam. Love potion No 9 , Rickola, Alan's Joe Hill. Marks  Newport song  I just cant remember.

One more was Mike Stewart.

Mike has had a confronting week  or so, just returning from Bangladesh where things are tough for so many and coping with Rob's death with whom he was close. The round circle folk night is his healing circle. He might lead the night but the joy he gets from watching others fulfill themselves is real and almost tangible (or is it palpable?) . Anyway he honored his friend with a really well written and profoundly well done song and while there are many, the committee and many others who sustain this activity, it really is down to him that a lot of this happens and is sustained over the long term. It is good to be his friend and moving 100 miles won't change that.
Greg O'Leary

18 November 2014

Newport Community Choir and La La Ville Live@Newport

What do you get when you put together Newport Community Choir and La La Ville? If you like anagrams, the answer might be "Manic lip-crew love to thrill you, man" or "Lyrical men croon at volume with lip." (Thanks to Mark Fawcett for those.) On Sunday afternoon, what we got was an afternoon of great choir music. The two choirs joined forces for a few songs, then each performed some its own repertoire, and then recombined for a big finish with the audience singing too!

09 November 2014

Vale Rob Durbridge

Today we received the sad news that our dear friend Rob Durbridge passed away this morning. He was in hospital and had been ill for some time.

Rob was a long-standing club member and was often seen (and heard!) at club gatherings until he and his wife Wendy made the 'tree-change' move to Landsborough a few years ago. Even after the move, Rob made the trip down for several Festivals and other club events.

Many club members will remember Rob's ringing banjo and his gentle, emotional singing. Two songs particularly will always remind us of Rob; The Changi Banjo by Lee Kernaghan, and Rather Have Your Love by Shane Howard. Those were his 'signature tunes', and if he didn't sing at least one of them at an event, someone would be sure to ask him!

Rob will also be remembered as the leader of  'Songs of Love and Resistance' at several Festivals - a delightful open jam session that attracted seasoned performers and newbies alike. The event was a tribute to Rob's friendly and inclusive style, and the high regard in which he was held by all.

Rest in peace Rob, we miss you. We will remember you as we knew you - with music.

02 November 2014

NBO Triumph At Maldon!

It is late Sunday night and I am back at home after an exhausting couple of days playing with the NBO at Maldon Folk Festival.
Our brief was to make the main street come alive with music and that was exactly what we did. It rained and shone and froze us and cooked us but the weather didn't stop the NBO from exhibiting one of its best performances Ever. We were rusty from the winter layoff but the old magic came to the fore and we attracted audiences of 40 and 50 as we rattled out local melodies by the dozen. All up we played for about 8 hours over 2 days and many gluttons went and joined other buskers just for the craic as the Irish say.
The tunes workshop went well and we have left a permanent positive impression  on the punters who rolled up to participate. They will never forget Harry McQueens Jig!
Present at various times in our group were: Kathryn , Mark Allen, Adrian Clark, Wendy Love, Greg OL, Neil Jolly, Maryanne Charles, Dennis Charles, Bruce Williams, Kerry Duke appeared twice, Annete, Alan Davies, Trevor, Alasdair, Rhonwyn.
Again and again we prove it is the spirit that shines out of our musicmaking. This festival I could not think of anyone else I would rather be playing with (except maybe Animal from the Muppets).
Well done everyone!
Greg O'Leary

26 October 2014

NBO Plays at Bulla Railway Family Day

Our fourth time playing for this wonderful organization.
Extended Families via Leila arrange this day for carers of kids with disabilities.
Our main fare was the Australiana but later on we just played what came into our heads which happily was a LOT of stuff!
We have again seen at first hand, the wonderful theraputic qualities of a cheery upbeat musical vibe.
This year Aaron came back to play with us, but seemed more fixated on the  poster advertising our performance.
He also fell in love with a dripping tap close by, which enchanted and distracted him mightily,  but we all still got a wave goodbye as he left. His mate Eric was more resonant with our efforts, or to be more specific Rhomwyns' flute and Alasdairs' whistle. Both  mesmerised him. He could not see how the sound was made and Rhonwyn and Al patiently helped him in his own intense  world of discovery. We got a goodbye wave from Eric as well. All the parents told us how much they and their kids loved the music, even though somtimes it wasn't as clearly apparent as we normally expect. We could see that that appreciation can be expressed in a number of very different ways and after 4 years we are getting good at its interpretation.
 A number of lovely  little interactions with other kids took place over the 4 hours we were there.  I made a kitten noise on the violin and this 3yo lovely Chinese girls' face just shone with joy! So easy to do and such a reward for me!
These little acts were trivial to us but you could see the kids' excitement and interest. A wonderful day for everyone.
Attendees were: Rhonwyn, Dennis, Maryanne, Rosaleen,Neil, Mark, Annete, Trevor, Me, Alasdair and Shipmate Dave. Apologies from the two Bruces and Veronica.
Thanks all for coming.

19 October 2014

Bush Orchestra at Iramoo Open Day

Our first outing for the 2104 Spring/Summer season went over well at the community day at Iramoo Community Centre in Wyndham Vale.
I rolled in with a relaxed attitude and a sore back to find the Ukelele Dolls starring onstage. We followed with a set of good old BO favorites. Present were: Rosaleen,Dennis,Maryanne, Neil, Katherine, Mark, Annette, Mira, Alasdair, Christina, Trevor, Kerry, Rhonwyn and me. As is now usual, an amazingly coherent and vibrant sound emanated from our somewhat haphazard group. Our traditional good vibe added to the open day and our second bracket bush-danced our way into the hearts and minds of the 6 totally enthusisatic dancers that Neil coaxed up to dance in 30C heat. Amazingly the change came just as we sped the Troika up to our traditional 200bpm. Had it not arrived the dancers would have had heart attacks.
Annete bought me a lovely sausage on bread with yummy onions. Rhonwyns' flute stopped working (this was not a good thing), Mark's new tamborine minus cymbals  was a hit. Dennis , Trevor and Kerry shone sartorially. Rosaleen  and her Vielle had to be kept away from the mike  as it was SOOOOO loud!  Katherine held it all together as usual and it was a great start  to our summer seaso

Pics on the Facebook page.


07 October 2014

Artists, farmers and musicians

NFFC musos were both inside and out at the Substation on Sunday. Inside at the Artists Market it was a great lineup with Newport Strings, Paisley and Plaid, Angelicats, Bruce Williams and Friends and then Great Minds. Outside at the Farmers Market, Folkus were keeping the customers entertained. It was a beautiful day with lots of music.

08 September 2014

Timbers/Angelicats Live@Newport

We had a great afternoon at the Bowls Club on Fathers Day with The Angelicats and The Timbers. What a great lineup! The Angelicats are becoming multi-instrumentalists - Lynn brought out the bass guitar for a couple of songs and Fran showed her skills on the mandolin - and their vocal harmonies just get better and better. Then the Timbers gave us a couple of fantastic sets, with everything from sweet 3-part harmony to high-energy dancing music. See photos for the result! (If you can't see the slideshow below, you can view the pics on Picasa.

27 August 2014

Photos from 10th Birthday

If you can't see the slideshow below, you can view the pics on Picasa.

24 August 2014

New logo

Here's our new logo, designed by Megan Slattery. We launched it at the 10th Birthday dinner on Saturday night. Over the next few weeks we'll roll it out to the website, emails, banners and publications.Keep your eye out for the new look!

06 August 2014

Stories by the Fire at the Newport Folk Festival 2014

OK I'm a festival tragic, I admit. But this one is my favourite. This is my local and with my community we plan this party for months. My friend Gerry Nelson took these exquisitely expressive photos at the storytelling event that I host every year. I added a little video and friend Bruce Williams gave me permission to add an instrumental piece form his CD 'Me and the Walls'. It all started 7 years ago.

Come and join us at the next one July 2015.

Jackie K

03 August 2014

Bruce and Friends at the Substation Market

Some Cajun Fun  Bruce Williams with Greg and Helen play some Cajun tunes at the Substation Market

15 July 2014

Festival photos

Photos from the Festival are now available. See below for slideshow. Many thanks to photographer Mel for her great work.

07 July 2014

Festival photos and comments

Head to our Facebook page for photos and comments from our fabulous Festival last weekend. More photos available soon...

21 June 2014

PIckin' with Justin

Our guitar pickin' workshop with Justin Bernasconi drew about 15 guitarists to Outlets on Saturday afternoon for a couple of hours of finger-twisting, coordination-challenging playing. Justin started simple - "the right thumb is the key to this style of playing" was his central message and he showed us how to use the thumb to lay down a solid rhythm for the rest of the pattern. Then it was on to more advanced playing, with syncopated beats, bringing in the styles of Mississipi John Hurt and Big Bill Broonzy. Justin also answered lots of questions, about chord fingering patterns, the most efficient way to play finger-picking styles, to different types of strings and guitars. We went away with some tab-sheets for further  practice and heads full of new ideas and information. Thanks Justin, a great afternoon!

26 May 2014

Newport Bush Orchestra - Learning, Playing and Enjoying on Monday Night in Newport

 Another night of lovely music with Greg O'Leary and the NB).  Click Newport Bush Orchestra to see pics of the musos deep in concentration.

23 May 2014

Andre de Quadros visits Newport Community Choir

This week the Newport Community Choir was lucky enough to have eminent conductor and music educator Andre de Quadros visit and be our 'guest conductor' for one rehearsal. Andre certainly challenged us with a tricky body-percussion routine, overlaid on our familiar repertoire song Sylvie. He also taught us a new song and led us through an improvisation activity, something we've only touched on briefly before. The hour and a half simply flew by! A great opportunity to expand our musical horizons. Thanks so much to Andre for fitting us into his busy schedule!

18 May 2014

Choir at Theme Night

As usual the Newport Community Choir took to the stage (well, the floor actually as the stage is too small) for a couple of songs at the Live@Newport Theme Night. They wowed the audience with the Leadbelly classic Sylvie and Erskine Hawkins' Tuxedo Junction. This was the first time the choir had performed without Alan Davies conducting; Alan had another gig that night so Kathryn Tomkins took his place and did a great job. Congratulations Kathryn!

12 May 2014

Newport Community Choir singing for World Migratory Bird Day 2014

Newport is situated in a wonderful environment where industry and people jostle for space. Over the past two decades we have learned, and council has responded, to the needs of urban wildlife and the link between their survival and habitat. Our wetlands and tidal flats play an important role in the lives of many species of migratory birds many of whom travel between here and Siberia every year. This year the Newport Community Choir joined with 86 other groups around the world in celebrating and raising awareness of the migratory birds: think Algeria, Denmark, Mongolia, Tunisia, Ukraine,
Madagascar ... just to name a few.

We decided to single out the work of a Friends Group who were planting on WMBD and treated them to a Flash Mob. The look on the faces of the Newport Lakes Friends Group when we appeared with our banner over the crest of the hill singing about the flight of the Eastern Curlew, was a sight to behold. Particularly lovely that there were children there.

Newport Lakes and the NFFC enjoy a warm relationship; every year the Newport Bush Dance is held in the park, so it was even more fitting that this was the particular group we chose to honour on this special day.

Learn more about our Choir HERE
World Migratory Bird Day HERE

11 May 2014

Celebrating the 125th Anniversary of the Old Laverton School 3 May 2014

Nothing if not versatile! NFFC Storyteller Jackie Kerin and Alan Davies (Newport Community Choir) joined forces to recreate an assembly as part of the celebrations of the old one-teacher Laverton school.

Opened in 1888, Jackie and Alan dressed for the part and had great fun slipping across time zones and evoking memories of school milk, vaccinations and even snake bite. The flag was raised, anthem sung and oath sworn ( the boys saluting and the girls with hands on hearts). Alan's conducting skills were tested as he led the assembled through a rousing version of 'Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree'. The 'class' proved so capable, he then went on to attempt a round! They were pretty good, considering most of the 'students' probably hadn't sung in this way for over 40 years!

Jackie demonstrated the old art of string storytelling and then told a story about that Irish bushranger who had been hanged just 8 years before the school was opened.

The Old Laverton School is a beautiful acoustic venue if you are looking for a place to make music: HERE

05 May 2014

Greg O'Leary and the NBO - The Rhythm of Newport

Greg and the Bush Orchestra having a lovely play on Monday night - all sounds terrific, some new people, new tunes and lots of good energy.  After the success of their busking gig in Willy they are set to kick of the festival in July with the opening night jam session.  If you have a yen to play, come along one night and see how it all works, and why it has continued now for more than 8 years.  Playing music together is definitely one of life's simple pleasures.

27 April 2014

Newport Bush Orchestra Busks a Move at Willy

The Newport Bush  Orchestra warms a few heart cockles at Williamstown on Saturday 26 April
As part of Willy Council's Busk-A-Move,
NBO personnel braved the winds and rain to strut their stuff in Douglas Pde for an hour on Saturday.

True to the BO ethos the word was put out for performers and the response was very respectable. Chrises K and H, Bruces W and S, Mike S, Cat T, Greg O, Anette, Trev, Steve, Rob R, Big Al,  Bill, Corrie and Bo arrived and treated passers by to the BO experience.

The effect was immediate and gratifying. You coud feel the mood of the shoppers lighten and once we remembered to put out the hat, the cash started pouring in. Our sound and demeanour generated spontaneous goodwill and we had shop assistants jigging and cameras clicking away as we ran through our feral and chaotic repertoire.Our administrative office Heather (appointed there and then on the spot) was kept busy stopping the 10's and 20's  fluttering away.

We spent it on well-deserved coffees afterward as we bathed in our very transient glory.

All agreed it was a good way to spend an hour in Willy. Oh! .... and we continued our tradition of bringing audience members to tears as a young mum saw her 6 month old bairn keeping quite good time with Anette's
tamborine. She was thrilled!

One pic - more on the way .......

26 April 2014

Singalong and Club Night

Some pics from 2 recent events; the Live@Newport singalong and the first Club Night at the Newport Scout Hall. Both firsts, and both great nights!

14 April 2014

‘Bilarni’. A new show from Jan (‘Yarn’) Wositzky, friend of the Newport Fiddle and Folk 2014

Jan Wositzky is a friend of the Fiddle and Folk Club and a great contributor to our Festival. Never one to be idle, he has been researching and writing about Australian author, bushman and raconteur Bill Harney for twenty years. The result is a one-man storytelling show. For 70 minutes, Jan weaves personal anecdote, song and recitations of transcribed oral texts into a tale that is moving, funny, absurd, raw and at times tragic. Bill Harney ‘Bilarni’ (1895 – 1962) was born of English parents and grew up in Queensland. At 12 he took off droving and what followed was a rich and richly recorded life. Largely self-educated, he was poetically articulate and
throughout the 40s 50s, in Australia, his voice was heard and his stories familiar on radio, and his books devoured. Bill Harney was famous in his day and remains a legend in Queensland and the Northern Territory where his relationships with Aboriginal people ran deep.
In ‘Bilarni’ Jan examines the man and the myth; the story as he tells it is neither sentimental nor uncritical. He brings great depth to the telling with rich layers of information, multiple Aboriginal languages, Australian dialects, and ‘Englishes’ superb evocations of characters that could only be encountered in the north of this continent. Jan’s musicality is evident throughout, particularly so when it comes to the mastery of Harney’s rhythmical speech patterns. Lovers of language and literature will be seduced by Harney’s depth of feeling and perceptions, expressed so eloquently. This a storytelling at its best!

‘Bilarni’ will be enjoyed by anyone who loves a good yarn and a wild ride.

Sign up for Jan's e news HERE
Facebook HERE
Catch the show at the National Folk Festival Saturday 19 April HERE

Pics: We made our Newport  house available for Jan to perform 'Bilarni' to a small audience before taking it on the road to the National Folk Festival.

Jackie Kerin

17 March 2014

Bush Dance and More Pics

Slide Show

Photos of the Day

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