26 April 2015

How the Australian tradition was saved

Author Keith McKenry had us enthralled for an hour on Sunday afternoon with his account of John Meredith's 40-year struggle to preserve Australia's cultural heritage. Without support from the academic world, without any money behind him, facing many difficulties, John Meredith worked all his life to record and achieve recognition for Australia's unique culture - songs, tunes, stories and poems. Keith's presentation ranged over John Meredith's field recordings with a tape recorder he couldn't really afford, to his role in establishing the original Bushwhackers, his leading role in the folk revival of the 1950s, the folk musical Reedy River, the old-time singers and musicians he met and recorded and his many other achievements. We showed how we're following in John Meredith's footsteps too, with Dave Davies' rendition of The Champion Bullock Driver and a session of tunes from the Newport Bush Orchestra. A great afternoon!

Keith's book, More Than a Life: John Meredith and the Fight for Australian Tradition is available online.

20 April 2015

Bush Orchestra busking in Williamstown

The Bush Orchestra brought Douglas Pde in Williamstown to life on Saturday with an hour of tunes and songs. There were lots of smiles from passers-by and plenty of coins in the collection bucket. This was part of the Hobsons Bay "Busk a Move" busking festival. Good fun!

15 April 2015

Choir impro with Mal Webb

The Newport Community choir had a great start to the term, kicking off with an 'impro singing' workshop with the wonderful Mal Webb.

Mal soon had us making up bass lines, rhythm parts and songs on the spot - something many of us didn't believe we could do until this workshop. Thanks Mal, we had a ball!

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