What's been happening...
Hey guys...this page hasn't been updated for some time - mainly because all my updates are on facebook these days - please feel free to visit my FB pages (and like them too - if you do - ha ha) and that will keep you informed about all the stuff that's going on in my music and art worlds! Cheers!
Tracey Roberts - musician
Tracey Roberts - Artist
What a FABULOUS concert at Burrinja Theatre today with the Nicholas Chamber Orchestra. And Kevin Hocking's arrangements are just delicious. I was really delighted he was able to come along to the concert - he gave me a big hug backstage at the end of the concert and said "I'm really proud of you Trace" - I was a bit blown away really! What a beautiful man...
And thank you again to Eric Klay who asked me to be part of it all - what a treat. Jo Abbott - your piano playing was terrific - so wonderful to work with someone who really knows what they are doing! Lovely to work with that charming young man, Rob Mercer on drums again and the very cool Geoff Earle on sax too...and sharing the dressing room (and makeup ) with Elyane Laussade was gorgeous - another new and delightful friend - and a brilliant pianist! Onya Bette! :) ...and Denise Hewer, you are just a legend.
Quite the dream coming true I have to say, to sing out front of an orchestra - and honestly - this was one of the wish list items - and now of course I want to do it MORE MORE MORE!
Wonderful weekend wth The Dandenong Ranges Open Studios again this year - it's always wonderful - met some great people, enjoyed the concerts again immensly - thanks to STAX for great accompaniment again - and to everyone who ventured up to the hills for another amazing weekend where over 30 artists all across the hills open up their studios to the general public...the group exhibition at Burrinja just shows what a wonderful diversity of creatives we have up here in the hills - I LOVE being part of this beautiful and colourful community. I am SO growing old up here...
Here are some of the new pieces I created for this year's event including the piece I submitted for the 2014 themed group exhibition, entitled "The Baton" - the theme we chose collectively was BALANCE. There were some amazing pieces really...it's always great to see what the variety of artists do with the theme we all come up with every year. Thanks to everyone nvolved.
Done some lovely gigs so far this year including The Basin festival, the fabulously fun Acoustic Brew nights and a lovely concert at St. Cuth's Chapel in Menzies Creek. I was delighted to be invited by 3MDR's Dale Blair to perform at the PAVE Festival's WOMEN IN SONG concert this year too with the fabulous Abbie Cardwell, Marisa Yeaman and Ange Boxhall. This concert is always a great night out - I've been several times to watch other women singer-songwriters I admire like Rebecca Barnard, Lisa Miller, Kerri Simpson and Monique Brumby perform at this great concert event where all the women sing in the round and there's usually a LOT of delightful and funny banter going on in between the songs...we certainly had a great night...
The PAVE Festival - 3MDR's"Women in Song" Concert 2014
"What an absolutely awesome night. Beautiful women with amazing songs and stories to tell. I laughed, I was moved and I cried. Thank you ladies." Neesy Smith 3MDR
The Dandenong Ranges Open Sudios are coming too soon - the weekend of 3 and 4 May - where over 30 artists all across the hills open up their studios to the general public! So I've been getting some new artworks ready plus the new piece for the group exhibiiton at Burrinja's Jarmbi Gallery ... busy times but very creative and fun! See www.openstudios.org.au for more information.
And I now have some pieces up at the GreyHorse Cafe next to the Star Hotel in the beautiful little historic township of Walhalla in Victoria so if you're down that way at all, drop in and have a look. Good coffee there too.
January - March 2014
Happy new year!
Looking forward to another great year of creative events...check out the website - I've been busy updating it with all the latest happenings, my gigs and exhibitions coming up and the various art and graphic design projects.
Here are a few commissioned pieces of artwork I've just finished and I'm very proud of - and even better, I have happy clients! They a part of a new concept I have developed called YOUR STORY IN ART.
"Your Story in Art" is a concept developed around creating a visual depiction of your own personal story encapsulated in a piece of unique art...a wonderful gift for someone for a significant birthday or event, perhaps for the "person who has everything", or a work colleague who is leaving and everyone can pitch in ... or it can be just for yourself. Something to look at everyday which is about everything you are, everywhere you've been and even where you want to go!
For example, it could be a stylised (and costumed) portrait of you participating in your favourite activity (or fantasy), a picture of your favourite place or possession, your house or car in a different setting, or an image which is quite abstract and symbolic and very artful. It can include your favourite colours and shapes and could be a collage of things you love, places you've been (...from a coffee cup to Paris...) or even a combination of all of the above! It's lots of fun, it's unique, meaningful and special...and only your imagination is the limit...it can be anything you want! After all, it's for you to enjoy and it's YOUR story!
November - December 2013
Well it's certainly been a busy year!
Lots going on - done a few more gigs including the fabulous Maldon Folk Festival and Belgrave's newest hangout - SOOKIs Lounge - but the latest big thing is the BRAND NEW Blu-ray release, called PLAY ME which I launched at LIVE at Baker Street in November. My family were there visiting from interstate so it was a very special night for me. SO, the Blu-ray is like a high quality DVD (it needs to be played on a Blu-ray player) with video footage and superb sound quality of my grand piano concert performance (including that 30 minute instrumental piano improvisation) recorded in the 33and1/3 theatre back in July. It also has a selection of pieces from the second half of the concert where I asked members of the audience to choose a word or sentence for me to play - and there are several interviews and a "virtual floor talk" through some of my artworks - it's just $30...which is great value really. It's very musical and colourful and fun and the sound quality is awesome - I'm really happy with it. I've always wanted some kind of testament to my musical work which had a visual component and I feel very strongly that this is the beginning of more of the same...so here it is...let me know if you want one! Email me at the address below.
Maldon was a blast - did some cracker gigs with Bruce Watson, by myself and also with Maria Forde and Janette Geri (almost a Nightingales reunion) and had so much fun. What a great town that is...and a big thanks to Pam Lyons and her team for putting on such a stellar weekend. Trevor Pearson took this lovely (?) photo of me while I was gigging with Bruce (or more like giggling with Bruce) at the Troubadour Tent...ha ha. And I had fun doing the Roddy Read Song Contest too - my "Light house Keepers Song" didn't win but was up there in the judges final selection of a handful of songs apparently so that's nice to know.
Our last Acoustic Brew night was a hoot too - lots of Christmas cheer, frivolity and egg nog - it's always a party - and we had some great singers including Faith Samuel, Cj Zuel, Cathy Dobson and Denise Smith from Fats Wah Wah and great comedic entertainment from Rudy the one-man band and those irrepressable Jam Tarts.
P.S. I've also been accepted into the 2014 Open Studios program again which is fab so I'm looking forward to that again...it's always wonderful. May 3 and 4. This year's theme - BALANCE. Perfect.
Been doing some nice gigs and art commissions and a lovely graphic desgn job using one of my pieces of artwork, all good stuff. I've submitted one of my new songs into the Roddy Read Song Contest at the Maldon Festival this year and been selected as one of the finalists so that's a bit of a buzz - looking forward to some solo gigs there as well as doing one with Bruce Watson again too...
Been writing some new songs, played them most recently at the Boite with Bruce Watson, and did a lovely concert with Christina Green at LIVE @ Baker Street, and will give them an airing again at Wyreena Music Cafe on 25th October. Looking forward to that one - got Jordan Scotney on a small drum kit - therefore enabling me to label it as percussion - ha ha ... should be a lovely night.
Acoustic Brew at Burrinja Cafe is going well - been getting pretty solid crowds these days and every month it's turning into a bit of a party so still thoroughly enjoying those nights too. Can't thank my good mate, Michelle Chandler enough for starting off these nights - wonderful idea, great fun and a good lark for the peeps to get up and have a sing with the Brew Crew...
Also, I've started co-hosting a radio program on the 4th Monday every month on 3WBC 94.1FM from 4-7pm (sometimes an extra one if there are 5 Mondays in the month) with Darren Springthorpe who is the audio engineer and mastermind behind that fabulous 33and1/3 Amphitheatre at LIVE @ Baker Street in Burwood. These radio shows (called Monday Music Muse - under Viarnne Mischon's "Wonderful World" banner ) have been awesome because we've had some amazing guests on and we're talking about all sorts of music related issues from independent artists' lives to hearing damage to music therapy ... NOT forgetting that we're playing ONLY Australian musical content, primarily from independent artists. So that's been GREAT fun and thoroughly stimulating...I'm listening to incredible people, throwing in my 2 bob's worth and learning HEAPS.
Hey gang, LOTS of gigs, new songs and artwork STILL brewing - it's all happening! In the music and gigs page, check out the gig guide for details. I was VERY happy to be invited to perform again at the fabulous new venue, the 33 and a 1/3 amphitheatre at LIVE@Baker Street as part of their 33 Thursdays Concert Series. This venue is really something special - check it out! www.liveatbakerstreet.com The concert on the 25th July was very special - completely improvised - so something very new and exciting and I'm really looking forward to doing more of it. This is something I've always wanted to do and now I have found the perfect venue for exactly this style of concert performance.
I've also just been accepted into the 2013 Maldon Folk Festival for the first time as a muso - I love this festival - been there as a punter and a song-competition judge but this will be the first time as a performer - looking forward to it already! The house concert I did recently with Bruce Watson on Sunday 23rd June was immensely enjoyable and we'll probably be doing a set together at Maldon as well as a few solo performances on the beautiful grand piano at the Penny School Gallery. Speaking of which, I was very sad to hear of the passing of Barry Veith from the PSG - thoughts are with Marilyn and family. It's very good of her to offer the venue sill for Maldon at this very difficult time.
Open Studios was fantastic - we even had some inpromptu tango dancers at one of the concerts - WOW!
It was a great weekend once again (year 5 for me now...) lots of PR leading up to the event with radio interviews and face-booking and emailing etc...all worth it to see quite a lot of you through the doors and buying art. Yeah! Sounds like all the artists had a good weekend - and who wouldn't enjoy it as a punter either - coming up to the beautiful Autumnal Dandenong Ranges to visit gorgeous, out-of-the-way little artisitc hide-outs - that's the only bummer being a participant - I would have LOVED to have visited heaps of the artists' studios myself, and some of the workshops and demonstrations looked fabuous! Here's the new piece I did for this year's Open Studios...
700mm x 700mm limited edition print
Produced for the Dandenong Ranges Open Studios Program (10 year anniversary)
group exhibition at Burrinja's Jarmbi Gallery.
2013 theme: TENSION
I'm doing commissioned pieces of artwork these days too - these are custom made pieces of artwork for clients who want something special and unique - maybe you could be my next client! Have a look at the artwork and commissions page: commissions
...and don't forget... if you're interested in posters, CD artwork, flyers, banners etc to promote your event, group, latest CD etc - feel free to give me a call. It's affordable and efficient. Check out the illustration&graphic design page for more details and info and samples of some of the products.
Well the OXFAM gig was a huge success - great fun had by all, a sold out venue full of happy dancing people who also enjoyed Dave's fabulous new menu AND a great nights entertainment - we raised over $3500 for OXFAM via the EACH FEAT walking team (100kms in 2 days - now THAT"S a feat indeed!) Thanks to all involved for making it such a wonderful night for a worthy cause. Here are some pics... thanks to the fabulous photgrapher Russell Bird (Rusty Bird).
Dave McFarlane trio, AJ, me and the Z-man, Chloe and Silas, me and Dawn, Michelle Chandler, The Jam Tarts, Tex Moon duo, the EACH FEAT walking team and STAX.
photos: Russell Bird - Rusty Bird Photography
I've been writing new songs and music too inspired by my trip away round Australia last year - you'll be hearing them all in 2013 so come along to one of the gigs and hear the stories in song! ...see the gig guide for details.
Well, 25,000kms later, we're back after seeing this amazing country in all its glory, madness and beauty - and straight back into it! More gigs coming up - OXFAM Benefit, Acoustic Brew and a few festivals (The Basin and PAVE) - see the gig guide for details.
I've also been accepted into the 2013 Open Studios program again which is great so I'm looking forward to doing that again - with new music and art to be enjoyed. Shall keep you posted - but put it in your diary now - it's going to be earlier this year - the Autumn leaves are going ot be BEAUTIFUL then!!!
2013 Dandenong Ranges Open Studios - 10 year anniversary - Saturday 27th April and Sunday 29th April, 2013.
July - December 2012
On the road - travelling this big brown land - many songs and new art to be completed to tell the stories.
Open Studios happened again - great opening night at Burrinja, lovely folks coming into the studio, wonderful atmosphere in the dome, Kick A concerts with Jordy and STAX...AND sold art too. Happy girl in the hills...
Here's the piece created for 2012 Dandenong Ranges Open Studios - called REST. ( See pic below).
AND...here's a lovely CD review of Shades of Blue from theTrad & Now magazine...http://www.duckscrossing.org/shop
CD Review - Tracey Roberts "Shades of Blue"
by Graham Blackley, Trad and Now.
Shades of Blue is the eighth CD from globetrotting Australian vocalist and pianist Tracey Roberts who also happens to be an accomplished visual artist. Roberts has an impressive resume that demonstrates her industriousness, talent and flexibility.
For instance, she has played a diverse range of music that includes folk, jazz and cabaret; she supported Arlo Guthrie in Australia in the early 80s; she has performed in a host of countries including India, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Sweden and played in front of thousands of people a few years ago at the Monash Carols by Candlelight.
The rich and resonant sound of the full-length Steinway grand piano lies at the heart of Shades of Blue which is a warm and incredibly relaxing eleven track album.
Roberts heartfelt interpretation of the Leonard Cohen classic Hallelujah is guaranteed to stir the emotions of even the most casual listener while the improvised instrumentals Chasm and Snow bewitch with their haunting atmosphere and wordless eloquence.
Roberts employs a strong and emotive vocal presence to full dramatic effect near the end of the quietly powerful Jeremy, a song described colourfully on her website as being a macabre and violent tale of lust. On her gentle rendition of the old Cat Stevens gem Moonshadow, Roberts weaves intricate and seductive vocal harmonies that are sure to charm.
The lightness of touch and laid-back feel of Shades of Blue ensures that it is the ideal soundtrack to a regenerative Sunday afternoon spent ensconced happily on the couch.
What an amazing night at LIVE @ Baker Street - a truly special venue that one. The room is gorgeous - the acoustics sublime. The audience loved it, the Baker Street boys (ha) were happy with the recording and the guys played beautifully of course ... it's always a great pleasure to play on a grand piano in a jazz quartet combo. One of my favourite musical experiences really - bit hard to top. So now we have a listen to the recording at some stage and see how it feels as a concept to press onto vinyl for limited edition release. Exciting! Also very pleased to say that I sold a print that night too as they were on display in the venue too.
Now for Open Studios! YEAH!
The CD launch at Burrinja was a beautiful night as was the gig at Albert Park Yacht Club - great music and wonderful musicians all round! How can it not be gorgeous?
Now on to the NEXT EXCITING event - I'm really looking forward to this one - the concert with my quartet (Lachlan Davidson on saxes / flute, David Hicks on drums and Tony Mazz on double bass) at the beautiful new acoustic space called 33 and 1/3 auditoruium at Baker St studios on Friday 11th May - this is quite a unique and specialised affair really - a delighful and intimate auditorium where you can get up close and personal with EVERY little sound these amazing musicians make - there's a great video clip and information to check out - have a look at their website: www.liveatbakerstreet.com and if you're into exquisite sound production and you're a bit of an acoustic nut, you'll LOVE this concert. We're going to chat with you all individually afterwards with drinks and a light supper AND you get a copy of the new album too - all included in the ticket price.
All details here
Another full on month! SELBYFEST was so much fun and also just did a gorgeous concert at the brand new 33@1/3 auditorium at LIVE @ Baker Street in Burwood - with Lachlan Davidson and Tony Mazz - what a great gig. And always love playing with Lok. Tony Mazz did some amazing things on the double bass too that I've never seen before (never too late to learn new dances with teh fat lady eh?) Thanks heaps to Darren Springthorpe and Alan Neuendorf for putting together such a wonderfully unique concept - a truly sumptuous listening and performing experience. I'll be back there on May 11 with the quartet - looking forward to it already! Check out www.liveatbakerstreet.com for more details. I have to say, I'm getting quite spoilt - doing a FEW gigs this year on a granny - I could get used to that!
Acoustic Brew is going well too - those nights are really cooking now...it's great to see such a variety of acts coming in to play with the band every month.
Got a couple of nice things coming up - a few radio interviews, The Basin Festival Sunday 25th 6:15pm with the fabulous Christina Green (just LOVE playing with that chick) then the new CD LAUNCH at Burrinja on Friday 30th with Mike Mathews and Dave Hicks! Love playing with theses guys too - talk about cream. It's going to be a lovely night (always is at Burri - one of my favourite venues to gig in really. Should take a sleeping bag to that place I reckon - ha ha.)
There's also a wee exhibition of some of my smaller prints at the Green Bean in Belgrave till the end of the month - talk about full on! They're calling this year the year of the quickening - you're telling me!
Just for fun - thought you might like to read the interview I had with Ben Cameron of the Bendigo Weekly about my upcoming concert at Maldon at the gorgeous Penny School Gallery on Sunday 26th Feb...here are his questions and my answers - it was fun doing this - usually is actually. Gets you thinking about where you've been and how far you've come, which is always a healthy idea in this game!
How did Newstead LIVE go?
It was hot! Literally. It was also great fun - nice to launch the new album there - it's one of my favourite festivals - well organised, great musicians, lovely atmosphere and a delightful little town with friendly locals.
Had you played it before?
Yes I have and a few years back I did Chewton as well (which is where the festival used to be) and I remember it was so hot that it was over 50 degrees on stage and we were putting ice blocks down our bras!
How long have you been playing the piano?
My whole life really - my mother told me that I could play songs on the piano with both hands when I was three...
What drew you to it, and what do you love about playing it til this day?
I come from a musical family so I think it was always in the genes - my father plays piano and my mother sang a lot and there was always a piano and music in the places where I grew up.
What I love about playing the piano to this day is the total escape into beautiful sounds that range in colours from very low powerful dark places to gorgeously light and airy atmospheres. I also love the way that music can transport you into a different place, both mentally and emotionally, and that I have some control over that to a degree.
Do you have a preference? Music or art?
No - I love them both equally. Always have. To me, the two are inextricably linked, as so much of music is about imagery and colour for me as well as the sounds and where music takes you. I'll never forget at high school in Form 3 (Year 9) we had elective subjects and I had to choose between music and art - it broke my heart. I chose music, which is why my foray into the professional art world took another 30 years!
This is your eighth album, you must feel pretty blessed to have that track record?
Yes, I do. It's nice to have a recorded body of musical work that reflects those particular periods of your life. Generally albums are pretty expensive to produce too, so I'm very grateful to be in a position where I can work towards producing an album every few years...
What does this new record touch on in particular compared to other releases?
The main difference with this album is that it is just vocals and piano and it was played on a full length Steinway (the Rolls Royce of grand pianos) so it is a very personal sound. The other albums have involved additional musicians which introduces a whole different dimension in terms of performance and arrangement - so the new Shades of Blue CD is more representative of a solo performance that you would experience when I am singing and playing a grand piano - that's why I love the idea of playing at the Penny School on their grand piano - you don't see too many of them at music venues so it's always a real treat - not just for me but for everyone.
Can you tell me more about the NYE bash at the nudist colony? I'm intrigued.
It was an absolutely hilarious night - it's amazing how liberating and how much of an equaliser nudity can be (especially with some alcoholic assistance!) I was wondering how a fancy dress bash at a nudist colony would work and all I can say is - it's pretty impressive to see how innovative people can be with body paint and accessories!
Ben Cameron, Bendigo Weekly, February 2012
Happy New Year folks! Hope everyone had a lovely festive season and is peacefully settling into 2012.
Well - exciting news! I have a new CD at last - just me and a Steinway. Gorgeous instrument (sigh...) Did it over the Xmas/NY break (mad - I know...) in just 5 days (gotta be some kind of record - pardon the pun). The artwork took a few days longer - but that was just me being fussy with the graphic designer - just as well I know her pretty well (ha ha...)
As you can see, the album is called Shades of Blue and it has some new originals on it plus a few of my favourite jazz and folk standards...it's also got some "Tracey art" (of course) and I launched it at Newstead Festival on the Australia Day weekend. Great festival. One of my favourites. So just thought I'd let you know that I finally got myself into the recording studio again and man it felt good to be back! I'm looking forward to promoting this one - shall keep you posted with more info soon.
November - December 2011
Another great gig at Burrinja with the trio - new songs and great musos...thanks again everyone for all your help and involvment and support...
Recording another CD (at last) on a beautiful Steinway Grand Piano down at Baker St Recording Studios...it sounds just delicious...so nice to play a piano like that. I'm looking at releasing the CD (entitled Shades of Blue) mid-January 2012 and launching it at Newstead Festival on the Australia Day weekend. I also have a lovely gig coming up at the end of February (26th) at the Penny School Gallery in Maldon so that will be a great concert as they have a grand piano there as well - lovely! The perfect venue to play all the new piano songs off the new album. Really looking forward to that one!
September - October 2011
Been doing a few fun gigs with the Brew Crew down at Burrinja (the last one was quite the party!) and also did a lovely gig at Selby Folk Club with Alive and Gigging ( my Grandma even came along to that one - very special! She's 91 and still driving. What an inspiration...)
The NO McDonald's in the Hills fundraiser gig was a successful night too - filled the joint again and had a rollicking good time. I went along to the packed-house council meeting actually on the 11th where I experienced first-hand, "people power" winning over the councillors (along with the amazing oratory skills of Cr Samantha Dunn - she deserves an Oscar for that performance I reckon - talk about being born to the role!). Unanimously the councillors decided to reject the application, largely (and quite legitimately in my opinion) based on the traffic congestion issues and the fact that McDonald's conceptually simply doesn't "fit" into the hills. So, probably onto VCAT now. Hopefully they'll listen to the arguments and reject the application as well. McDonald's is OK for the burbs - that's where they belong. Not up here.
Back to more artful stuff - I'm getting ready to do another little exhibition at a gorgeous cafe gallery in the hills called Kallista Tea Rooms - shall keep you posted about the opening night - Saturday 5th November - for a cocktail soiree!
Finished the newNorth Gallery exhibition (see my art page for more details or go to www.newnorth.com.au). A lovely time had by all at the opening, discussing the new pieces of art I have been consumed with over the past few months and giving folks a taste of some new songs that go with them for the next album. A great concert with Christina Green and Anthony Baker...and finally a casual, chatty closing drinks afternoon. Busy, joyful, creative times.
Just love the music biz - you can have just as much fun in a small room as in a theatre or a huge rock stage... Thanks Christina and Ant for
great musicianship (yet again) and to Lance Fishman for the pics.
The new theatre is now open at Burrinja and it is just wonderful - did a bit of singing there on the Opening Day with VoKallista - a beautiful song written by Ruth Moody called One Voice - you've probably heard it sung by The Wailing Jennys. Gorgeous. Cath Conelly sang the first verse ("the sound of one voice"), joined in the second verse ("voices two") by the fabulous Chris Riseley and then I jumped in to become "voices three". Then the whole chorus came in from the wings - the wonderful sounds and colours of Vokallista, ably led by Barb McFarlane. What a great way and the perfect song to bring our gorgeous hills community together on such a special day. Thank you Barb for inviting me to sing with VoKallista - it was a memorable event on so many levels.
Had Jim and Alex from the Borderers staying with us for a night after they did a gig in the new Burrinja Theatre for the Ranges Burrinja Folk Club - lovely people, great musos and OMG what energy those two have on stage! Very impressive high kicks - especially from Jim! Alex, your comment "it makes everything easier" has inspired me to get fitter again, so now I'm walking several times a week and feeling the difference already - yeah! Always good to have new friends in the music biz who not only entertain you but give you great health advice as well - HA! I've also been busy preparing some new pieces of art for my current exhibition (including the one pictured above about the music industry - called The Rock Climber), doing some really fun workshops as a piano player with John Thorn and the crew from that fabulous theatrical show, Spontaneous Broadway, and working on the layout and artwork for a really interesting book about learning how to play the piano using colours of the rainbow - so there's lots going on - as usual...
A couple of lovely gigs with friends, Maria Forde and those crazy old boys, Munro, O'Callaghan and Titchener (MOT). In fact, the MOT-ley crew stayed over with us and were doing a rehearsal in my loungeroom before the gig - felt like I had CSN in my house. Wonderful. Did a lovely gig with them at Burrinja - laughed my head off and almost shed a tear with a couple of the songs and stories we heard them perform - great songwriters and storytellers all. Go see them when they're touring near by.
Also did another fabulous fundraising concert with Michelle Chandler, Phil Smith, STAX, Owen Hardidge, Chris Green and Z-man on drums at the wonderful GEMCO theatre for Fernlea House. It was a great night with lots of cheeky comments peppered between our songs - an absolute hoot - and all for a good cause.
And a lovely way to finish off June before disappearing up north for a bit was another gorgeous gig with Maria Forde at Wyreena Cafe. It's finally doing the monthly music cafe nights again and it really is a delightful night there on the last Friday of every month. Great music, lovely cosy atmosphere and a nice supper to boot! You can hear a pin drop in that place! :)
Been doing a lot of benefit concerts this year - no wonder either - what a summer it's been. Cec Bucello forn TRAD and NOW magazine asked me to write an article about it - here it is below...with pics (thanks to Lance Fishman).
The power of music
Most musicians don’t have a lot of money. But they can certainly help to generate it.
This was clearly demonstrated early this year by three concerts in three weeks, which raised over $10,000 for flood relief, held at a relatively small venue known as Burrinja café in Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges.
In late January, we all sat and watched the TV in disbelief at the massive amount of water hitting Queensland, and the destruction which was devastating lives…and it didn’t take very long for people, not just here in Australia but overseas, to realise the magnitude of the disaster unfolding and that those affected were going to need a LOT of help. Europeans started to appreciate it when they were told that the area flooded was equivalent to France and Germany combined.
Singer-songwriter, Michelle Chandler immediately put out a post on facebook asking if any musos in the Dandenong Ranges would like to participate in a fundraising gig to aid the flood victims…there was an immediate response of resounding YESs from a bunch of musicians.
After the Victorian bushfires in 2009, that were so close to home for many of us up here in the Dandenongs, there was a sense of déjà vu – albeit an ironically different kind of disaster – memories of the massive outpouring of compassion shown by people all over the country who donated food, clothing, shelter, goods and services and other forms of practical help. After a while though, outside of emotional support, it became clear that what people really needed most, to get back on their feet, was money.
The next day, completely independently, Andrew (AJ) Jackson from AJ Events and the Ranges Burrinja Folk Club rang me up and said “Trace, I want to organise a fundraiser concert to help these people. You in?”
“Absolutely…and I’m happy to do the publicity too but you need to talk to Michelle Chandler about musos because she’s already onto it and has lots of interest already”…and so began the lightning fast collaboration between artists already wanting to do something to help, a popular venue and a folk club and events organiser with the networks and experience to pull off a series of concerts at really short notice.
Within 24 hours there was a bunch of musicians lined up who didn’t hesitate to offer their time, including Janette Geri, Penelope Swales, Christina Green, Tabasco Tom and Doc White, STAX, Zoltan Almady, Tracey Roberts, Michelle Chandler, Coen Dixon and Dave McFarlane and his band.
“I was really impressed by the musicians’ willingness to jump in without a blink” said AJ, who has also said that he doesn’t see so much of that in certain rock circles…the power of egos perhaps?
Cheryl Guenther of Burrinja Café provided the venue and café staff for the next available Friday night, throwing in several restaurant gift vouchers. Dave McFarlane also offered to provide the PA and do the sound, Dawn and Kathie from the folk club arranged to do the door / raffle tickets thing, posters went up, photo shoots with the newspapers were arranged and the publicity machine was well underway. AJ organised the lighting rig and also arranged for a professional auctioneer, Brendan Pearse, from AAA Events (who also donated his time), as well as a formidable number of individuals and companies in the local community who offered goods and services to auction ranging from artwork and jewellery to massage / physio treatments and Harley Davidson rides.
Thanks to the power of social media, the concert was sold out in 2 days before the information had even hit the newspapers and radio stations, so after another frenzy of phone calls, a second concert was announced for the next night which was fortuitously available. Then the floods hit Victoria. And so concert number three was arranged for a few weeks later…this time we also brought in Jenny Biddle, Cyril Moran, Dave Diprose and Tim Hackett, The Dukes of Despair and the fabulous comedic talents of Sue-Ann Post, just for fun!
All three concerts sold out really quickly and provided high energy, busy, buzzing nights with a great variety of musical styles and personalities, raffles of musicians’ CDs and lots of good stuff in the auctions, which actually turned out to be hilarious! We can’t thank enough such a wonderful and compassionate community who supported all three events and were so willing to part with their money for a good cause. Overall, the three nights raised just over $10, 000 - $6,300 of which went to The Queensland Premier’s Relief Fund and the remaining $3,700 to Victorian flood victims via The Red Cross.
Sadly, unexpected, natural disasters do happen but human beings are intrinsically good and are genuinely willing to help. These astounding and wonderful nights, full of positive energy, love, fun and music have shown an overwhelming generosity of spirit by all who were involved - not just the artists or event organisers, but the whole community.
Musicians understand the power of music and its many forms. Most musicians don’t have a lot of money, but they can help to generate it. Not just for themselves and their families, but for people who desperately and genuinely need it – another form of the power of music.
Tracey Roberts - March 2011
More great jazz with wonderful musos...new songs and new stories...
photos: Michael Silver
A great year so far with lots of artful music and musical art - some lovely art exhibitions (Kinross House and Maldon's Penny School Gallery) and various concerts in conjunction with them, although there have also been some lovely gigs at a few festivals as well including the wonderful Bourke and Wills Winery with Michelle Chandler and Christina Green (Chloe Hall popped in and sang a few songs with us too which was great). It's such a wonderful place (even though the weather was WILD! That's when the foothills near my home got pelted with hailstones the size of golf balls and heaps of homes and vehicles were damaged - it's amazing no-one was hurt really...). In fact, that weekend I was supposed to be doing the Inverloch Jazz festival as WELL but a few of its venues got damaged by the storm too and so quite a few gigs were cancelled - so I just stayed up at Mia Mia at Andrew's place and did a few more gigs with Michelle and co (damn! ha ha...) What a wonderful weekend - great fun, great friends, great music and great memories. Those times are the reason we do what we do...
Did a few more house concerts too (there need to more of THESE too - what a great experience! ) this year as part of the Open Studios weekend in May. Shall keep you posted.
Some wonderfully fun outdoor gigs with Anthony Baker and David Hicks on drums again (just LOVE playing with those guys...) and of course, the fabulous quartet gig at Burrinja with Ant, Lok (the sax player and juggler extra-ordinaire) and Hermann Schwaiger (the double bass player with the dancing eyebrows). I wrote a few new songs at Easter (at LAST) and gave them an airing there so that was great - now they're OUT there! Time to run them in a bit and then record them for the next CD...when I can afford to get into the studio again...such is the lot of we independent musicians :)
Now I'm having my usual Winter break and "going inward", producing a few new pieces of art and some new songs for the next series of gigs and exhibitions (primarily the concert and exhibition at GASWORKS in Spetember - the gig guide has details ) whilst still doing a few other bits and pieces (PR work for Burrinja Cafe / freelance graphic design work) etc on the side to fund it all... (the wheels on the bus go round and round...)
See you out there!
For all the lowdown on what's happened before this, please click here...
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