ENSEMBLES, friends & colleagues websites
Affetto - NZ Period Instrument Ensemble - I've been playing with Affetto since 2014 playing theorbo, Baroque guitar, vihuela, oud and singing. We've done many concerts around NZ, particularly in Auckland and Hamilton, playing mainly 16-17th Century repertoire. 2015 saw us do a big tour for Chamber Music NZ and in 2016 we recorded a CD which was released in 2017 by Atoll Records.
New Zealand Ukulele Trust and Junior and Senior NZ Ukulele Squads - from 2013 until 2016 I played electric bass in the rhythm section that supports the 3,000 or so strong Kiwileles group at the NZ Ukulele Festival. I also record several of the backing tracks for the support material CDs and advise on typesetting and other musical layout issues. The Kiwileles are children from all over NZ who come together in late November/early December and play together as a massed group. Since 2014 I've also been leading the Junior and Senior NZ Ukulele Squads. See here for the squad playing one of my compositions and here for them playing one of my arrangements. In 2018 I took the Senior Squad to Hawai'i to perform at the Hawaiian International Ukulele Festival.
Ross Daly's Australian Labyrinth (Ross Daly and Friends) - after studying with Ross in Athens in 1994, then reconnecting in Jerusalem in 2000, I invited him to tour to Australia in 2001. It was a great privilege, a huge amount of fun and we recorded a very satisfying CD called Kin Kin (the village that Linsey Pollak lived at the time and where we rehearsed for the tour) - hear some bits of Kin Kin on my music page.
Xenos - Australian Balkan Gypsy Band with lovely friends Rob Bester and Anne Hildyard (and sometimes Anne's twin sister Lee). We toured to festivals in Australia, Scotland, Portugal, England and Austria - and made CDs.
Ssassa - Early incarnations of Xenos were based around Rob and Anne from Tasmania, Christian Fotsch from Switzerland and Marem Aliev from Macedonia. When Rob and Anne stopped spending half the year in Switzerland, Ssassa (which had been Christian's band in between Xenos visits) became a year-round proposition. I played electric bass on their first two albums (you can hear some on my music page).
Friends and colleagues - MUSIC
Linsey Pollak - composer, instrument maker, multi-instrumentalist, community musician - versatile and inspired collaborator and great friend over many years. Linsey is responsible for many people like myself becoming aware of the musical traditions of the Balkan region. He is the reason I'm playing that music today - luckily for me, often with him. Our current band (our best yet) is The Balkanics.
Ross Daly - mentor, inspirational musician and collaborator on concert tours and theatre productions.
Kelly Thoma - lyra player extraordinaire, wonderful musician and collaborator on several projects with Ross Daly including Australian tours.
Tunji Beier - amazing virtuoso percussionist and collaborator on many projects with Linsey Pollak, Ross Daly, Matthias Loibner, Xenos, State Theatre of South Australia.
Jude Iddison - violinist, educator, choir director, singer and composer. I've known Jude since 1984, where we bonded on our first day at what would become the WA Conservatorium of Music. In the last 2 years, we've taken seriously the idea of playing original violin and guitar duets together. In 2018, we supported Frankie Armstrong in concerts in Qld and NSW and recorded an album. We plan more performances with Frankie in 2019 (Adelaide and Melbourne) and look forward to the release of our CD.
FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES - ORGANISATIONS
Tutti & Tutti Arts - I lived in Adelaide from 2001-2010 and for much of this time worked in a variety of capacities with Tutti. I conducted, taught, arranged for and produced CDs for the choirs and solo singers; music-directed several shows; set up and taught a digital media program (animation/film-making/photography); documented performances and helped in whatever way I could. I first met Pat Rix, the visionary Artistic Director of Tutti through Rosalba Clemente, herself the Artistic Director of State Theatre of South Australia. The first project I worked on with Tutti was My Life, My Love for the 2002 Adelaide Festival. You'll see work I did with Tutti through various sections of this website, particularly on the audio and video pages.
Various People - Also in Adelaide I worked on several occasions with Director Cheryl Pickering, sometimes in co-productions with Tutti and sometimes with her company Various People. I was a founding board member of Various People and have managed to return to Adelaide on a couple of occasions to work with Various People. In November 2017, Nawres Al Freh and I spent a week working on a new production, Conversations.
FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES - LUTHIERS
Peter Biffin - inventor and maker of the amazing tarhu series of instruments that Ross Daly, Nawres al Freh (and many other wonderful musicians) play. Peter also makes amazing lutes, theorbos, vihuelas and many others. I own a beautiful vihuela and a fabulous Baroque guitar made by Peter.
Scott Wise - I grew up in Fremantle, Western Australia and I met Scott at his legendary guitar workshop around 1980. He made me a dreadnought steel-string guitar in the style of a Martin D-28 which I still adore and play all the time. He also introduced me to Brian Black, with whom I studied, started playing classical guitar duets and who convinced me that going to the Conservatorium was a good idea. That totally changed my life!
Jason Petty - The reason I joined Affetto in 2014 was because the other members decided they needed a theorbo in the group, so they ran a crowd funding campaign to commission one get built by Jason, a wonderful Canadian Luthier who happened to be living in Wellington. Once it was commissioned, I got to be the person who learned how to play it. As it turned out, I moved to Brisbane and then a year later Jason did too, so now we're neighbours (kind of).
Dimitris Karaoglanis - Dimitris made three great instruments that I own: my laouto (which I played with Xenos and Ross Daly), a small baglama, and a tzura - all traditional Greek instruments.
Richard Howell - The late Brian Black, with whom I played classical guitar duets in the early 1980s, was a champion of the guitars of Richard Howell. I bought one "off the rack" which I played for several years, then had Richard make one for me, which I still play today.
Ayers Guitars & Ukuleles - I have an endorsement from this company as both a guitar and ukulele player and play two of their beautiful instruments. Anthony Pizzica (see below) is the Australian distributor of Ayers!
Anthony PIzzica - I don't have any of Anthony's instruments at the moment, but he's a great guy and we've played in two bands together: currently The Balkanics - a five-piece Balkan funk group, and in the past with 25-piece street band The Unusual Suspects (Anthony playing a rezouki [resonator bouzouki] of his own invention, and I the electric bass).
Pat Megowan - En route to the Hawai’ian Ukulele Festival with NZ Senior Ukulele Squad, I had a couple of weeks looking at birds and attending U-8 Ukulele Festival in Bend, Oregon. What an incredible piece of luck it was to go there and unexpectedly meet Pat (who numbers James Hill, Kimo Hussey, Arden Fujiwara, Kevin Carroll amongst top ukulelists playing his instruments). He’s now making me a ukulele - I’m beside myself.
FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES - POETRY
Greg Barron (2 October 1952 - 2 December 2005) - colleague from my days at the Western Australian Museum 1979-1981. One of my photographic mentors, a travelling companion on many trips (including our capture of the Lake Cronin Snake which resulted in the species being described scientifically), natural sportsman and greatly missed friend. In his last years he derived much satisfaction from his often subversive poetry.
As I get hold of them, I'll add some of Greg's photos here.
FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES - PHOTOGRAPHY
Craig Greer - I remember Craig turning up at my house in North Adelaide one evening having bought a camera for his work and wanting some help as to how to put it together and take his first photos. Fast-forward a little and Craig’s website and social media presence will quickly show you that in the intervening few years, he has become one of the most accomplished wildlife photographers in the country. He runs tours for nature photographers to various parts of Australia, and has recently added Sri Lanka to his tour destinations. You can also hear him on the music page playing tin whistle and bodhran.
FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES - DANCE
Laura Shannon - Xenos worked with Laura, who taught dance to our music on many occasions in Scotland (at Findhorn), in Austria, Glastonbury International Dance Festival and at Woodford Festival, Queensland. It was a joy and a privilege!