I began the year on a high with the long-awaited (for me) production of a music book to complement the CD and tape of children's affirmations, Special As I Can Be (see New Releases). With this came a contract with Southern Cross Creative to market the CD/Music Book package into schools.
The music book was created years ago in A5 format, well before I was computer literate, with Julie McGonigal writing out the music and June Nichols (with her swag of clipart) putting together a delightful product. It never seemed to be the right time to produce it, until I met up with Michael and Anne Mangan late last year (Michael produced the original tape with me.) They now market packages of Michael's music into schools. They'd been listening to the Special CD and had decided it would be a great addition to their catalogue - only, would I be able to put together a music book? 'Well, Michael, just coincidentally …' All we had to do was to reformat the book into A4, to match the products already sold by Southern Cross Creative, send the old music programme to the printer - and we were away!
As many of you know, I also began 2003 with a determination to finally record a CD of my folk songs. I met Tom Glaum, a young sound engineer, through my nephew Chris Poole. Chris has his own band Gestalt and, in the way of true networking, Tom is the friend of a cousin of one of Chris's band members. And so we began to record Seasons.
I was joined on the CD by Don Nichols (double bass), June Nichols (accordion) and Ross Roache (lead guitar). Ross, originally one of The Slimy Brothers (Mick O'Halloran was the other), now sings with the Wayfarers. We recorded over several weeks in the Glaum's master bedroom, which had been taken over by Tom, with his parent's permission. (They were tired of falling over mounds of instruments left in the passage outside Tom's small bedroom by various bands during recording sessions, so gave up their own room for the cause. Aren't parents wonderful?) Tom had never engineered/mixed a fully acoustic recording, but he has an excellent ear for 'real' music - when you listen to the CD you can judge for yourself what a good, clean sound he achieved.
Chris designed the cover and graphics and did a great job to incorporate the concept of all the seasons in one small square. He also originally designed my home page - hope you're enjoying your visit.
After the usual nerve-racking period wondering if the CDs would arrive from the Sydney factory in time for the launch (they did - on the Friday afternoon - a little too close for comfort), Seasons was launched at 2 pm on Sunday 30th of March, at a house concert at the wonderful Katie Bestevaar's delightful old Queenslander, a house just made for intimate acoustic concerts. As is usual at these events, there was plenty of socialising on Katie B's back deck before the launch and Katie provided her yummy cakes and coffee, dips and savouries. Beautifully catered. Thanks, Katie!
Roger Holmes MC'd the event in his own inimitable fashion (for 'Inimitable' read 'with his special and now famous brand of terrible humour, caustic wit and general perversity'.) Special guest performers were, of course, Don & June Nichols and Ross Roache, who did sets on their own, as well as joining me for a final bracket of good chorus songs off the CD.
My concert was on Saturday night in the Restaurant. I was honoured to be included with the great Frankie Armstrong (hearing her lovely voice raised in my choruses was a real pleasure); Sandra Kerr, a fine singer, songwriter and concertina player; Bob Blair, one of Scotland's best singers of lyrical songs and traditional ballads; John Dengate, truly an Australian national treasure with a vast repertoire of songs, poems and yarns; Keith McKenery, poet and president of the Festival Board; and, for me one of the 'finds' of the event, Les Barker, described as 'a strange English poet who used to be an accountant but he's better now.' I can't recall the last time I laughed till my sides ached and the tears ran down my face. I am supremely thankful I opened the concert and was not obliged to follow Les who finished with a tragic poem about a myopic Armadillo who fell in love with a concertina at a ball and couldn't wait to consummate his passion - and sex with a concertina can never be discreet. When Sandra got up to perform - with her concertina - she had to do two songs with guitar until the audience recovered.
I've written a review of the festival for the June Folk Rag.
I did two chalkboard concerts, which was also lucky, as there were always more performers than spots available. I'd also put my name down for the children's festival, as so many folkies have told me that their kids love Special As I Can Be (See Anne's Music). I did a half hour there, and was delighted to meet up with Helen, a woman who, years earlier, had made a point of meeting me in Brisbane when she was travelling through from NSW, especially to tell me how much her children enjoyed Special. It was lovely to see her again and she helped me illustrate Better and Better by standing up in front and putting her hands on the various parts of her body (as you just have to do when you sing Better and Better.) Roger Holmes conducts the Hymn Singing every year on Easter Sunday, so I got to sing lead in three hymns, including Just As the Evening Sun which is fast becoming one of my favourite songs (Ross Roache introduced me to it, from the singing of Ed Trickett).
We also had luck with the weather. After being told for years how cold Canberra is in April, and having packed all our winter gear, we found it was mostly sunny - and quite hot during the day. Like Brisbane in July, if you can get out of the wind. We had to buy sunhats! Okay, yes, it was cool at night, but I feel the horrors have been greatly exaggerated!
I came away with various new CDs and many great memories, all jumbled together in a glorious, confused mixture. In spite of the huge number of simultaneous events, we saw just about everything we wanted (sometimes by the sheer good fortune of strolling into the right venue at the right time). We were highly impressed by the environmental commitment that sees the major part of all the rubbish recycled/composted.
The whole event was impressive, inspirational and addictive. I'm thinking of making this a yearly 'must do!' date on my calendar.
This year is continuing in a music vein. For those who keep asking when am I going to write another Micky Douglas whodunit, I do have that in mind, and lots of other writing projects, but so far this year, music has taken top priority. I guess, as much as we'd like to, we just can't do everything at once.
I'm delighted with people's reaction to Seasons, which was released at the end of March. I received the following comments from Arthur Elliott, who presents the folk programme 'Sidestream' at Radio 99.7FM and who was kind enough to email me his critique.
Arthur said, 'Let me start by saying that I also received a CD from a modern "folk" singer (who shall remain nameless) from the USA. The recording quality was crystal clear, the songs were embellished with the prettiest mandolins and other instruments, it SOUNDED lovely - but in my humble opinion it was still a bit empty. To me the songs seemed insubstantial - like gorgeously wrapped presents of little value. I found it hard to get interested in what he was singing, because there wasn't really much there.
On the other hand, I was interested in the songs on your album from the very first one - they tell stories, they involve the listener, the melodies are interesting, the backing is accomplished but unobtrusive - and so far I haven't found a song that I haven't liked. Your music sounds genuine, it has character and integrity; it has substance.
'Thank you for sending it to me. I'll certainly be including it in my programme a lot.
You can hear a couple of 'grabs' from Seasons on Anne's Music.
good news for June was the continued success of the music book and CD of children's
affirmations, Special As I Can Be (see Anne's
Music). Southern Cross Creative are marketing the CD/music book package
into schools and we are all delighted with the positive result.
If you are interested in this package for your school, contact Southern Cross Creative. They are also handling some bookshop sales. Click Here for Details.
It's hard to believe that it's July already. The big question for this month is, am I going to the 38th National Folk Festival in Canberra in 2004 - and, if I am, I'd better download the Performer Application form and get it posted before the August 31st deadline.
I had such a great time at the 37th NFF last Easter (see Anne's Diary April 2003) and I reviewed the festival in the June Folk Rag. Next year I'd like to offer a workshop or some sort of themed concert, but don't know what, yet. I'm working on it - and it's nearly August already
After UK aromatherapist, Shirley Price, was kind enough to mention my tape of affirmations for adults Sing Your Way to Health, Wealth & Happiness in her new book Aromatherapy Workbook, I began to receive requests for it to be released on CD. That's the way forward, folks, so for the past couple of months I've been bringing that CD into being. The lovely and talented Mary Brettell, who is also my Webmaster, developed my very rough initial sketches into a delightfully colourful and positive cover and I had the tape transferred to a CD master.
Just picked up the completed CDs and they look great. If you'd like to check this one out, go to Anne's Music now. You'll also find a few bars to listen to, just to whet your appetite.
And, I've finally decided what to offer as a workshop/themed concert at next year's NFF, and have posted in my application. Just under the wire, but, as you can see, I've been busy. I'll tell you what I'm presenting if they accept my idea, so stay tuned. I just hope the weather is as warm as it was this year. I'll take my 'festival sunhat' just in case.
Where has the year gone? Is it just are or me things really speeding up? Here we are in the final quarter - amazing!
Micky Douglas: For those who have been asking about my writing, I can finally bring you the good news that since September I've been revising and updating an old Micky Douglas whodunit, which was never published. It's been fun to revisit Micky and his new girlfriend Peta Ryde. I completed it in November and have submitted a book proposal to a publisher. So, fingers crossed.
Researching Convict Brisbane: Some of you know that between 2001 and 2002, I spent an absorbing 18 months researching convict Brisbane from 1824 to 1830, incorporating Patrick Logan's time as commandant, with the idea of writing a whodunit featuring a female convict detective. This researched also inspired the song Striped Jacket Girl which I recorded on Seasons. (For info re Seasons, click here)
The idea for a convict whodunit came originally from Bill Scott, singer, songwriter and folklorist extraordinaire, who fired my imagination with tales of Brisbane's convict past and its fascinating characters.
During my research I came upon intriguing references to a Miss O'Beirne, Patrick Logan's sister-in-law, who apparently lived with the Logans during some part of their time in Brisbane. Further investigation down this promising path revealed practically no further information, other than two tantalising entries in what remains of Peter Spicer's diary (he was Superintendent of Convicts at Moreton Bay and the longest serving officer of the penal settlement's staff) and a few lines in Charles Bateson's Patrick Logan, Tyrant of Brisbane Town.
If the mysterious Miss O'Beirne lived with the Logans and I was about to introduce my convict lass into the household, for historical accuracy I needed to know a good deal more. My wonderful Webmaster, Mary Brettell, who is a genealogy researcher for her own family history, put a request on the Net for me. Months later an American, Dora Wode, contacted Mary and Dora and I have corresponded via email ever since.
Dora is directly descended from the Logans through Patrick Logan's younger sister Janet (Jessie) who married Scottish minister, John Edgar, Dora's Great Great Uncle and loves researching her family history. She knew little about Patrick's wife Letitia's side of the family but threw herself into the search with gusto, studying letters, wills and other documents.
The results have been fascinating and fruitful. We now know more than we ever dreamed about Hannah Charlotte O'Beirne who, at 22 years of age, travelled out to Australia with the Logans, lived with them in Sydney and Brisbane, and returned to England with Letitia after Patrick's death. We also have considerable information about the O'Beirne family and their movements and have had an absorbing time delving into the lives of one Irish family and its connection with Australia's convict past.
Striped Jacket: So the original manuscript Striped Jacket is next on the list for revision, to add Hannah to the characters. As Dora seems to have discovered more than any other researcher, I'll collate all her information into an Author's Note and include it for those interested in our past history. (You may also email me if you'd like the information sent to you.) Thanks to an unexpected American connection and the tireless tenacity of the amazing Dora Wode, our Australian history is now a little richer than before.
New Children's CD: I'm now well into writing the affirmations for a new children's CD and am aiming for this production early in 2004. Keep your eye on New Releases.
I don’t know about you, but I’m writing Christmas cards and letters. It’s that time again. As the song says, who knows where the time goes?
I have a ticket to the Woodford Folk Festival this year. It’ll be my first time – yes, I’m a Woodford virgin! Although not an official performer, I hope to sing at some chalkboard events and am contributing to Maree Robertson and friends’ workshop Misery Loves Company. Saturday 27, 6 pm, Backstage Club, for a (hilarious) tear-jerking sing-along session of songs of love-gone-wrong and relationship misery. Tissues provided.
So far most of my knowledge of Woodford comes from Terry Jacobs’ brilliant The Woodford Song (also known as The Promised Land) so if the event is even half as crazy, I’m looking forward to my first experience.
I wish you all a happy Christmas, a joyous New Year – and may we all have peace throughout 2004.
Cheers until next time
Welcome to another update of Anne’s Diary.
Woodford: The highlight of the New Year was, of course, Woodford. I’d been warned how hot it could be and was armed with water bottle, water cooled necktie and sun hat. To my great relief the weather was mostly comfortable, although walking to the Amphitheatre every day for choir practice was sometimes a challenge. After expecting last year’s National Festival in Canberra to be cold and finding it pleasantly mild instead, I’m beginning to think I must be lucky with festivals.
While Woodford does have its often-controversial share of ‘New World’ and ‘Alternative’ music, there was ample traditional acoustic, gospel, blues, shanties, etc, to please the most dyed-in-the-wool purists. Highlights were many: Martin Pearson and John Reed’s Snap, Popple & Crap breakfast show; the Johnson Stompers; Harry Manx; Bernard Bolan; Danny Spooner; Margret RoadKnight; Jenny Fitzgibbon; Tulca mór; Colcannon (a favourite from last year’s NFF); the fabulous Roaring Forties with John Warner and Margaret Walters; the insane Sensitive New Age Cowpersons – indeed, if you couldn’t fill six days and nights with your kind of music you’d be pretty hard to please. For outrageous humour Martin Pearson went head-to-head with JRR Tolkien in two hysterical parodies of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy – I’m still not sure if I’m an Elf or an Ent – and for those who love to step it out, the Dance Pavilion offered a never-ending stream of dances from all around the globe.
Alongside the continuous performances were excellent market stalls and a variety of food to delight any palate. The organization was outstanding and the festival ran smoothly and well, thanks to the multitude of volunteers. It was also nice to see environmental sensitivity - a considerable sum was raised for further tree plantings on the site. Woodford’s own radio station Planet Woodford broadcast from the site throughout the festival keeping information, interviews, news and music flowing.
I performed in Maree Robertson’s Misery Loves Company – I won a ‘comfort’ chocolate - and again in Margaret Walters’ Feisty Females session in the Singing Shed and joined the choir for the fabulous Fire Event in the Amphitheatre. Although the choir was positioned too close to the action and was showered with potentially hazardous burning cinders, which occupied us for a while beating out the sparks in each other’s hair and clothing, a good time was had by all.
ABOFOTS: No, it’s not some strange new language. ABOFOTS (A Bit Of Folk On The Side) is an excellent blackboard folk club held on the first Saturday of the month in the Upfront Café at Maleny, north of Brisbane. I discovered it late (only started going there in December) but have only missed one session since. It attracts fine performers from all around the district and from as far away as Hervey Bay – and a regular Brisbane contingent. It’s well worth the trip up from the city but be warned and be early to get a seat. Delicious, inexpensive food is served from 6:30pm and the café is licensed. Add to that a responsive, enthusiastic audience and what more could a performer desire?
The 38th National Folk Festival: Sadly I am unable to attend the National this year but will be there in spirit. The wonderful Roger Holmes left Brisbane with a box of Seasons for the Festival Shop and I armed him and the equally wonderful Shez Wright with Seasons posters and Blu-tack to poster every available corner of the site (including the loos.) Warm thanks, guys – I appreciate your valiant support. Hopefully no one will be able to visit the amenities without finding me smiling at them.
This year my creative agenda is once again full and bursting at the seams:
Micky Douglas: Micky is still languishing at the publishers. Watch for more news.
Striped Jacket: Thanks to my American researcher, Dora Wode, I now have all the information about Hannah Charlotte O’Beirne that I need to revise my convict manuscript Striped Jacket and am well on the way with that project.
New Children’s Affirmations CD: The affirmations are ready for the new children’s CD (as yet untitled) and we’ll start seriously working on recording after Easter.
New Adults’ Affirmations CD: I’ve begun collating affirmations for a new adults’ CD, gathering the songs together as they arrive in my head. Sounds good, so far. Watch New Releases for both of these CDs.
CD Distributor – anyone? I’m now seriously searching for a distributor to take my affirmations CDs into ‘new age’ and other book/CD stores Australia-wide. If you have any contacts, email me at email@example.com and win a permanent place on my gratitude list.
Happy Easter and may the Easter Bunny (or more correctly the Easter Hare – but who remembers in these ultra-commercial times?) bless you with every happiness, new life, new birth, new growth – but not too much new chocolate! Sorry, chocoholics, but I calls it like I sees it!
Remember Wednesday nights at the Kookaburra Café folk club, upstairs room, 280 Given Terrace, Paddington, in sunny (mostly) Brisbane. Come on up and enjoy some great singing and excellent pizza and say hello.
Cheers until next time
Winter is finally upon us in sunny Brisbane. We enjoyed such a long Indian summer it felt as if the cold weather would never arrive. Now, as I write this, I have a heater warming my toes and a raw south westerly battering my window.
Stan Arthur: On the 14th April I was devastated to receive a phone call from June Nichols with the sad news of Stan Arthur’s death from a heart attack. Stan, singer, songwriter, folklorist, collector and historian, was one of my oldest friends and mentors, as well as the leader of the Wayfarers, the resident group at the Kookaburra Café. His wife Kathy had been ill, so he’d missed the previous Wednesday night’s session and I’d recorded several TV programmes, which I knew he’d enjoy and wouldn’t have had time to see. I was left holding the videotape with a sense of deepest loss as my mind grappled with the unbelievable concept of a future without Stan.
That night, shocked performers began to gather upstairs at the Kookaburra Café as news of Stan’s death slowly spread through the folk family. His funeral was held the following Wednesday afternoon and later Stan’s many friends, old and new, packed the upstairs rooms of the Kookaburra Folk Club, all wanting to sing him one last song and send him off in style. There were so many singers we were restricted to two songs each – and it was a memorable evening.
The remaining Wayfarers, Ross Roache, John Lewis and Ian Clark, have decided to continue the Club, taking turns to run the evenings, so you’ll still find us there on Wednesday evenings, singing and sharing songs. Stan is very much missed for his amazingly wide repertoire collected over nearly sixty years, his special solo sets, his lovely voice, and his generosity in sharing his large collection.
The folk community is planning a Stan Arthur Memorial Concert for the 25th September. This will be an annual event to raise funds for a grant or award in Stan’s name to support collecting/recording folk music. Check the Folk Rag for further details.
A Folk Rag reader generously paid for a tribute page for Stan. I wrote the following and include it here with the permission of the Folk Rag.
Stan Arthur Tribute
I might never have become a singer/songwriter if it hadn’t been for Stan Arthur.
In 1962/63, my sister Juliette and I first discovered The Folk Centre, a dark café down a laneway behind the Salvation Army Hall in Ann Street. It was typical ’60s - candles in bottles on the tables, meals on toast, tea and coffee. The resident group, the Wayfarers, comprised Stan Arthur, Garry Tooth, Bob Stewart and Theo Bosch. Some of the excellent floor singers were Sue Edmunds, Danny and Peter Gillespie, Keith Smith, Michael O’Rourke, Evan Mathieson, Bill Scott and Rhys Owen – to name but a very few.
We loved the atmosphere and the songs (we’d been raised on traditional folk songs but never knew it until then). We quickly became regulars, attending three wonderful nights a week.
I decided I had to sing. I timidly approached Stan, wondering why I was putting myself through that level of fear. He was kind, supportive and generous with his time and material. Stan was passionately committed to encouraging beginners to ‘have a go’. With a typical ‘Of course, Lovey,’ he asked what songs I knew and ran through them with me, accompanying me on guitar while I tried out the many Irish, English and Scottish ballads and calypsos he taught me, finding my tentative way and developing as a singer on a rich diet of wonderful material Stan considered suitable for a 17-year-old.
Eventually I taught myself guitar and plucked up the courage to accompany myself. Many years later I found within me the gift of making songs.
Although I left Brisbane and The Folk Centre to live and sing for a while in New Zealand, returning to run The Barley Mow Folk Club on Thursday nights in the late Cecil Hotel in George Street, those early years with Stan remained with me. He inspired in me a love of and respect for folk music, an appreciation of songs that ‘tell a story’ and an insatiable thirst for folk history.
Years ago Juliette rediscovered the Wayfarers – a different line-up but still led by Stan – playing in a basement café in Edward Street. Stan welcomed me with typical enthusiasm and I started performing there, later following the group to the Kookaburra Café in Paddington.
I am deeply grateful for the kindest of Fates that brought me back to Stan. I’m grateful for the many years of listening to the old familiar Wayfarers songs – and many great new ones – and all of Stan’s excellent solo sets. And for his continual support and generosity in sharing his music to the end.
Stan’s passing has brought the end of an era. He will be deeply missed and I am eternally thankful for having known him, for his friendship, encouragement, inspiration, enthusiasm and love.
For other Stan Arthur tributes, click here for the Folk Rag Rogues Gallery Tribute Page.
After the grief had settled I put my thoughts into a song for Stan.
My Friend Stan
© Anne Infante 27th May 2004
My friend Stan, he was a singer
He had a way with a song, all right!
My friend Stan had a voice like an angel
And he sang most all of his life
Though I’m sorry to say Stan passed away
I know he got to Heaven all right
And there’s one thing I know for sure
Stan is singing with the angel band tonight
My friend Stan served in the Navy
Loved the ships and the sea and the life
My friend Stan sang the songs of the sailors
Focsle songs and shanties and the like
Though a heavenly choir wasn’t quite his style
I reckon he’ll be all right
’Cause there’s one thing I know for sure
The angels are singing sea shanties tonight
My friend Stan came to Australia
Loved an Australian lass
Told an Aussie yarn just like a true-blue
You’d swear he was born in the Aussie bush
Travelled the country collecting the stories
The folklore and songs of the life
So there’s one thing I know for sure
The angels are singing Australian songs tonight
My friend Stan championed the cause
Of the working man all of his life
My friend Stan supported the unions
And sang of their struggles and strife
Sang of labourers and miners and the factory floor
Stan stood for the workers’ rights
So there’s one thing I know for sure
The angels are singing union songs tonight
My friend Stan, he liked a bit of bawdry
Liked a song with a bit of a bite
My friend Stan sang Music Hall songs
Just like he’d been born to the Music Hall life
Henery the eighth, the flying trapeze man
The hole in the elephant’s tights
So there’s one thing I know for sure
The angels are singing Music Hall tonight
My friend Stan had the blood of the Irish
A rebel Irishman to the life
My friend Stan was a friend of the Clancies
The Irish Rovers and the like
Up the republic! Follow me to Carlow!
He sang them with all of his might
So there’s one thing I know for sure
The angels are singing rebel songs tonight
My friend Stan he sang calypsos
Sang songs of Caribbean life
My friend Stan had a mean sense of rhythm
And he strummed his guitar, man, with all of his might
Sang the songs of Jamaica, Trinidad and Haiti
Of islands in the sun and of tropical nights
So there’s one thing I know for sure
The angels are singing calypso songs tonight
One more time now … the angels are singing calypso songs tonight
A little softer … the angels are singing calypso songs tonight
A little louder… the angels are singing calypso songs tonight
My friend Stan ran the Folk Centre
Folk music was the love of his life
My friend Stan formed the Wayfarers
A group with a permanent extended life
Members came and members went
But Stan kept them going all right
So there’s one thing I know for sure
The angels have joined the Wayfarers tonight
My friend Stan he gave me my start
And I knew him for most of my life
My friend Stan encouraged beginners
And gave them a share of the light
And many owe a debt to a generous man
Who shared his music the whole of his life
So there’s one thing I know for sure
We’ll all be singing Stanley’s songs tonight
For my friend Stan, he was a singer
He had a way with a song, all right!
And there’s one thing I know for sure
We’ll all be singing Stan Arthur’s songs tonight
www.com: Have you noticed my new Web address? If not, then you arrived at the old address on my email page and were linked to the new page. In future, go to www.anneinfante.com. Yes, I’ve finally joined the World Wide Web. My amazing Webmaster Mary Brettell is busy working on a whole new page design, which should be up and running soon.
Micky Douglas: No news about Micky yet. Stay tuned.
Striped Jacket: I’m happy to announce that the Striped Jacket revisions adding Hannah Charlotte O’Beirne have been completed and a publisher contacted. After reading my book proposal they asked to read the full manuscript – so, fingers crossed. Much of an author’s life consists of waiting for news from publishers. However, it gives us time to begin the next project, which is …
Fiddle Cakes: The second of my Brisbane convict tales. The title refers to an instrument the convicts called a ‘fiddle’ which was a grater made from a piece of tin or zinc with holes punched in it with the end of a file and nailed onto a piece of flooring board. With this ‘fiddle’ they grated down stolen cobs of maize for meal to cook and eat on the sly. The maize meal was mixed with boiled sweet potatoes and the whole baked as a damper. One convict described fiddle cakes as ‘better than any pie going’, which explains why they risked punishment via the lash and the treadmill to make and bake these treats. There is a grisly story regarding the acquirement of a piece of tin for a ‘fiddle’ – which gave me the inspiration for this new story.
New Children’s Affirmations CD: This project has been put on hold for the time being. All sorts of disruptions have made me realise the time isn’t right yet. Keep watching New Releases.
Remember, if you’re in Brisbane, drop up to the Wednesday night Kookaburra Café Folk Club, upstairs room, 280 Given Terrace, Paddington. Enjoy some great singing and excellent pizza and say hello. Floor singers are always welcome.
Cheers until next time
Welcome once again to Anne’s Diary. As usual, I’ve been keeping busy on various fronts:
The Stan Arthur Inaugural Memorial Concert: Following the death of folk guru Stan Arthur (Anne’s Diary April – June) I mentioned that a small group of his friends and fellow performers had formed a committee with the aim of running an annual memorial concert to raise money for a grant to be used to support a folk project such as a collecting trip or a recording, to perpetuate Stan’s name and memory, and to continue his legacy of generous support for folk collectors and performers.
The inaugural Stan Arthur Memorial Concert will be held on Saturday 25th September at the East Brisbane Bowls Club, corner of Lytton Road and Park Avenue, East Brisbane. This club, which is next to Mowbray Park, has become the regular venue for the Folkies Old and New concerts, which raise funds for the Folk Rag, and is an excellent setting for folk performances. The concert will start at 7:30pm sharp and will feature a line up of Stan’s friends from the 1960s Folk Centre days through to the Kookaburra Café. The cost is a modest $10 or $8 concession.I will be one of the performers (of course I’ll be singing My Friend Stan) and we are hoping for a very large turnout in support of our project. But, if you can’t be there, we will happily accept a donation towards this very worthy cause. Check the Folk Rag for details.
The Londonderry Country, Blues & Folk Festival: I am booked to perform at the Londonderry Country, Blues & Folk Festival on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th of November. Londonderry is between Penrith and Richmond in New South Wales and the festival is a fundraiser for the Londonderry Rural Fire Service. This year they hope to raise enough for a new headquarters. What a worthwhile cause, especially in these times of severe drought and bushfires. They are planning rides, craft stalls, CD sales, food and fireworks, as well as concerts/performances. I’ll be performing on both days and, of course, Seasons will be available in the festival shop.
Sounds like fun, so if you’re looking for an enjoyable weekend, why not come along, say hello and support the rural fire service? For more information contract Joanne Ervasti: Phone: 02 9208 9324 or email: Joanne.Ervasti@tafensw.edu.au.
Seasons at Folk Trax: I’m happy to say that Folk Trax has taken Seasons and are playing it on their web radio as well as selling it on-line and in their Adelaide CD shop. Folk Trax is joint venture of Hard Yacka Records and the Folk Federation of South Australia and can be found at Folk Trax.
Fiddle Cakes to Crow Minder: My proposed sequel to Striped Jacket has undergone a name change. I’m now calling it Crow Minder. In Tom Petrie’s Reminiscences of Early Queensland, his daughter Constance Campbell Petrie tells us that on each cultivated area of the Moreton Bay settlement, when the maize was in cob, a prisoner was set to keep away the crows and cockatoos. Dubbed the ‘crow-minder’, he had a clapper to frighten the birds, which was made of three pieces of board, two about 7" x 4" and the third some 6? longer, which was shaped like a butter pat with a handle. The two shorter pieces were fastened on either side of the long one by a piece of cord threaded through holes in the board and when the clapper was held in the hand and shaken it made a great noise.
The crow-minder was supposed to walk up and down through the corn shaking the clapper to frighten away the crows and cockatoos. I don’t know about you, but when I was in primary school we had just such clappers, which were used as percussion instruments in the school band – and great fun they were. They certainly did make a wonderful loud noise.
Crow minders were prisoners under short sentence and not required to be chained like the other convicts. They seem to have had some degree of licence and moved freely about the settlement. In Tom Petrie’s day there was one called Andy who had a hut built up in the fork of a eucalypt on the riverbank, near the Edward Street Ferry. This eucalypt, called the ‘crow-minder’s tree’, had steps made from pieces of iron driven in like sawyers’ dogs. Andy used to climb up to his hut and watch that Aboriginals did not swim or canoe across from Kangaroo Point to raid the corn and sweet potato crops. He had an old flint pistol, which he fired to give the alarm when the raiders appeared.
Constance Campbell Petrie tells a gruesome story concerning the Aboriginals’ raids on the settlement’s crops. She says that ‘as a child Tom Petrie often went about the corn with Andy while the clapping was going on’ and ‘he was told that once, in Logan’s time, when Kangaroo Point was under a crop of corn, the blacks were very troublesome; nothing seemed to prevent them from stealing. So one was shot, skinned then stuffed, and put up among the corn to frighten the rest. The corn was never troubled again. Tom Petrie didn’t know if the story was true but was told it as a fact many times.’
The crow minder in my story is also called Andy and is a vital witness to another gruesome crime.
Festivals: With the end of the year fast approaching, I’ve applied to perform at Woodford at the end of December, also the National Folk Festival in Canberra next Easter.
Miserable Songs at the Kookaburra Café: Every so often the Kookaburra Café performers hold a song writing contest – all in fun, naturally – and the current quest is for who can write the most miserable song. I’m fully occupied with mine and it’s proving quite a hilarious exercise – but very miserable too, of course. We perform our songs to a strict but fair judge (last time we all won a prize.)
So, remember, if you’re in Brisbane, drop up to the Wednesday night Kookaburra Café Folk Club, upstairs room, 280 Given Terrace, Paddington. Enjoy some great singing and excellent pizza and say hello. Floor singers are always welcome.
I read a wonderful quote today by Anais Nin …
The Stan Arthur Inaugural Memorial Concert:
What a wonderful night that was. The hall was packed with folkies from the Folk Centre days to the Kookaburra Café – 40 years worth of friends to catch up with – a spectacular evening. Garry Tooth, one of the original Wayfarers, came up from New South Wales and joined Brian Whitlow and Peter Robinson for an ‘old’ Wayfarers set – except Peter claims he was the only man in the room who hadn’t been a Wayfarer! They sounded wonderful – that old gutsy energy! The current Wayfarers were tremendously impressed that these guys could produce such a great sound after only one afternoon’s practise when they hadn’t seen each other for years. If you’ve got it, you never lose it. Mary Brettell took a swag of photographs. Here we are, having a great time.
The concert raised over $1000 and we are now in a position to call for folkies seeking funding for a project to apply. If you think you might qualify for a grant application forms can be obtained from
or tel: (07) 3366 2248 or by writing to Anne Infante 37 Bennett Road, The Gap, Qld 4061.
The Londonderry Country, Blues & Folk Festival: I enjoyed my time at this festival. It was held over the weekend of 6th & 7th November but sadly, although the organization was professional, from the sound engineers to the festival staff, the audience was poor – surprising for a rural community asked to support their own fire-fighters; heroes every one, who fought bravely in the Canberra fires and who volunteer to risk their lives every summer defending others’ property. The poor public response meant that performers relying on CD sales to fund their trip were disappointed. The festival was held on the Londonderry Oval, so was all outdoors. Some were happy to sit outside, but most sheltered from the very hot sun during the day under a large marquee provided some distance from the stages. On the Sunday more shelter was provided closer to the stages.
On the plus side, two sound stages, side by side, meant that as one act was performing, the next was setting up, making for minimal delays with sound checks etc, and smooth shifting from one act to the next. This excellent idea saved hours of boring delays between setting up groups and individual performers – and kept the festival running pretty much to time.
Another definite plus was the quality of the performers. While I didn’t catch all the acts, those I did see could mostly be graded from very good to outstanding. Graeme Johnson ‘The Rhymer from Ryde’ was MC and also gave us some excellent bush poetry – traditional and contemporary, delivered with vibrancy and humour. I last saw Graeme at the 2003 NFF. An excellent choice for MC, he worked tirelessly all weekend.
Latitude, a three-piece folk, blues and bluegrass band sang a lovely version of Poor Wayfaring Stranger to a model tune I’d never heard before. Gael Mor from Hornsby performed mostly Irish and Australian music accompanied by accordion and guitar. They did an excellent upbeat version of Hard Times.
I particularly enjoyed Henry Correy and the Correydors – a swing/blues band from Wollongong whose music has an attractive rock’n’roll/jive beat. Alan Kash (no relation to Johnny Cash, to his regret) performed Neil Diamond, Guy Mitchell and Johnny Cash songs in an attractive mellow country style. Craig Pittendrigh from Victoria sings original songs about an ordinary bloke and his trials – written in a simple, almost William McGonagall style - which were a big hit with the audience. The Sign from Victoria played a couple of excellent sets of their original songs, with a compelling rock/blues beat, and won my heart by having a ‘domestic’ on stage. Dharma, a trio of singer/songwriters performed with electric keyboards, bass and guitar. Brian Elkington also sang his excellent original songs – a pleasure to hear.
Another band playing original music, and definitely worth hearing, was Strum, a 3-piece country/rock band from Wollongong. One of their songs The Weatherman has been in the top 10 on the country lists and they have another charting. Also making a name for himself is Brock Colley, a 17-year-old country singer/songwriter from Armidale. Brock is a young man going places in a hurry. He has a good publicity team behind him and a single just under the top 30 on the country lists. His voice is mature, his original songs appealing and he sang a sensitive and warm version of Woody Guthrie’s You Were Always On My Mind. I can see Brock becoming a major country music star –he’ll probably take Nashville by storm.
Bob Bolton fronted two bands - Bushfolk, a traditional bush band with violin, guitar, banjo and accordion, singing songs like The Road to Gundagai, All For Me Grog, Croajingalong and 5 Miles From Gundagai as well as playing some spritely waltzes, designed, according to Bob, to show a glimpse of the ladies petticoats as they danced – shocking! - and the Blue Mountains Bushfire Brigade German Band, which played polkas, mazurkas and waltzes from the 19th century German settlers’ homeland, using an attractive mix of trombone, concertina, trumpet and banjo. They also played some Berlin Schottisches, which, when all things German became unacceptable during WW1, were renamed Baghdad Schottisches. Now we worry about Baghdad – oh, well!
Lost‘n’Found are a folk duo who call themselves ‘modern swaggies’, having traded their home for a caravan in which they travel the folk circuit performing at festivals and country fairs. They play a mixture of contemporary and traditional Australian and Irish songs, backing themselves on guitar and tin whistle. They delivered a completely strange version of Augathella Station – presumably a ‘southern’ version – which managed to not mention any of the place names along the stock route but concentrated on the drovers themselves. The tune and chorus were the only recognisable bits. Celtic Fire also played a mix of Irish and Australian material using guitar, whistle, bodhran and accordion. Barefeet, an acoustic country trio from NSW sang some good original songs and the Mothers of Intention, a female group (except for their male fiddle player – a Father of Intention?) played a couple of excellent sets in a 'Steeleye Span’ mode, accompanying themselves on bodhran and guitar. They did bright, dancing versions of The Raggle Taggle Gypsies and The Rocky Road to Dublin, as well as a couple of Crosby, Stills & Nash songs – a lovely version of Helplessly Hoping – and a charming Irish traditional ballad Mantle So Green.
Marea, a lady with an excellent blues/gospel voice, teamed with guitarist Bob Spencer to deliver original songs in a funky/blues/modern jazz style. Anni Piper also sings blues, has an outstanding voice and is getting lots of airplay on ABC radio. She plays electric guitar but was also backed by an acoustic guitarist, Alan Van Der Linden.
As well as the singers, there were two dance groups - the Australian Heritage Dancers demonstrating colonial dances from the 1850s, the ladies dressed in pantaloons, petticoats and hooped crinolines – and fanning themselves vigorously in the heat - and the Sydney Playford Dancers performing English country dances: the men in knee breeches, white stockings and brocade waistcoats; the women in attractive dresses of the Jane Austin period.
One of the festival highlights was Col Ray Price from Tumut. Col Ray sings Delta blues on a range of guitars, including two Dobros, with a hard driving, infectious style that delighted an appreciative audience. On Sunday, ‘Reverend’ Larry (Harp Dog) Gorden, Col Ray’s friend from the Central Coast, joined in his last set on mouth harp. They were brilliant and I could have listened for hours.
Raelene Bruinsma from Melbourne has joined up with guitarist and singer Stephen Pinzone as Two’s A Crowd. Raelene has performed in Brisbane and at Woodford. She has a lovely strong voice for blues and gospel as well as being an accomplished flautist. They closed the festival with the final set that had the last remaining die-hards clapping, dancing and calling for more.
Altogether, it was good weekend with some really great entertainment. The Londonderry Country, Blues & Folk Festival will be back next year and is definitely worth a visit.
Also in November Tired of the Struggle, a song from my CD Seasons, made it to the finals of the Australian Gospel Songwriting Competition – came 2nd in its category. I’ve been invited to attend next year’s National Gospel Happening, a big annual festival in Canberra, and to co-host a gospel workshop. Sounds fun. The songwriting competition is the big finale.
On the 4th of December, I had the pleasure of co-hosting ABOFOTS at Maleny with Brisbane folkie Ian Clarke. Pawl Lawler, our usual host, is a pyromaniac (sorry, that should be pyrotechnician) and is organising the Woodford Fire Event so couldn’t be at the club that night, leaving a breach that we happily stepped into. An excellent evening, as usual, despite rookies being in charge.
I’m ending the year as I began – at Woodford. I’m singing in some sessions, helping out as a volunteer in the Singing Shed, a venue where anyone can get up and sing, and hosting a gospel session with some rousing ‘good news’ choruses. Mary Brettell and Helen Rowe (and friends) will be joining me for the gospel hour and it should be a great session full of tight harmonies and high energy. All in all, I won’t have time to recover from Christmas! I’ll have to catch up with leftover Christmas cake and mince pies in January.
You can catch me at the following sessions – do come up and say hello.
Date Venue Time Session Monday 27th Singing Shed 12:00 noon Blackboard Folk Club Monday 27th Singing Shed 5:30 pm Silly vs Sad Songs Tuesday 28th Singing Shed 7:00 pm Parody Paradise Thursday 30th Singing Shed 2:00 pm Gospel Tradition Thursday 30th Singing Shed 8:30 pm Rock Around the Clock Friday 31st Singing Shed 12:00 noon Blackboard Folk Club Friday 31st Singing Shed 7:00 pm Country & Bluegrass Chorus Saturday 1st Jan Singing Shed 12:00 noon Songs of Joan Baez
Crow Minder: Crow Minder is coming along nicely – however, as Christmas and Woodford are currently taking precedence, writing has been shelved for now until at least the New Year. I was delighted to hear that my American email-pal, Dora Wode, who obtained so much information about Letitia Anne Logan and her sister Hannah Charlotte O’Beirne, (see Anne's Diary: September - December 2003 Researching Convict Brisbane) and who is half Australian, is coming over in September for a visit with her relatives and will stop over in Brisbane for a few days. I’m gong to take her around convict Brisbane and show her where her famous ancestor Patrick Logan lived and worked. They now have his portrait at City Hall, in a new museum there.
I was so pleased to have such a wealth of information on Hannah, where no one had managed before, that I rang the John Oxley library and caught up with a charming man who had helped me to not discover anything a couple of years ago and who remembered me – he was very pleased to hear of my success and had me email all the info over. Apparently they keep a special file for this. At least I can save other researchers all the hassle I went through.
Love Songs for St Valentine’s Day at the Kookaburra Café: Yes, there’s another song writing contest happening at the Kookaburra Café. To celebrate St Valentine’s Day, we are holding a quest to discover the most saccharin, schmaltzy love song in existence. (Think ‘moon’, ‘June’ and ‘honey, I love you!’) I’ve already written mine. Performance night will be the 16th February, the closest we could get to the actual day for lovers. I was very proud to win the Miserable Songs contest with my Sad Orphan Girl song.
The Kookaburra Café is an eminently suitable venue for folk music, with historical links back to 1885. I wrote an article on the building and its interesting background for the December Folk Rag. Check it out in the December (No 92) Issue of the Folk Rag. It's at the top of page 5.
So, if you’re in Brisbane, and especially on the 16th February, drop up to the Wednesday night Kookaburra Café Folk Club, upstairs room, 280 Given Terrace, Paddington. Enjoy some great singing and excellent pizza and say hello. Floor singers are always welcome.
However you celebrate Christmas/Solstice/New Year, may you have a peaceful, joyous and safe festive season … and may you also take the risk to blossom in 2005.
2005 is a 1 year for me, numerologically speaking. It is also the year of the rooster in Chinese astrology – and not just any rooster. This is the year of the Wood Rooster. The last Wood Rooster year was the year I was born, so life has come full circle for me and I’m looking forward to a great year full of new beginnings, exciting happenings, creativity and great energy.
I’ve already had a wonderful start to the year with New Year’s Day at the Woodford Folk Festival. Last year I joined the Singing Shed team and enjoyed some superb sessions with some of Australia’s best performers. Can’t wait until December to do it all again!
I spent Easter in Canberra at the National Folk Festival and had a great time listening to the cream of the world’s performers in a breathtaking feast of singing, playing, dancing, storytelling and poetry over five wonderful days and nights. Three of the best from the UK, Keith Donnelly, Bob Fox and Les Barker are continuing with Australian tours and are on their way to Brisbane, so I’m looking forward to seeing them again.
Love Is A Circle: I am finally preparing to produce my new children’s CD of positive songs and affirmations. It now has a name - Love Is A Circle. After waiting months for the right energy, one final song, the title song, arrived and recording should begin in May. I’m delighted by the way it’s now coming together. Watch New Releases for this one.
Crow Minder: Crow Minder is developing slowly, with many interruptions of a folk singing/music kind. These show no signs of abating, so my second convict whodunit is still mostly ‘on hold’ for now.
The Stan Arthur Memorial Award: It’s been such a joy to be associated with this award which keeps alive the memory and work of a great Australian folk singer, songwriter and collector. In March we announced two recipients of the award – see The Folk Rag. The East Brisbane Bowls Club has been booked for Saturday September 24th for the second annual concert to raise funds for the award. We’ve yet to decide on which artists to invite to perform but with so many fine performers, we’ll be spoilt for choice.
Sale ..…. Sale ….. Sale ….. Sale ….. Sale ….. Sale ….. Sale ….. Sale ….. Sale
To clear some space for new productions, I am offering the last of my New Age cassette albums at a reduced price.
Three cassette albums of
The Four Dragons
What others have said:
‘She sings all her own songs which are beautiful and restful. Anne Infante’s voice is reminiscent of Joni Mitchell’s and on The Four Dragons we have a Australian singer/songwriter of great talent.’
(Review by Alan Kennedy, Cleo Magazine)
‘Anne Infante lends her lovely voice to music which blends the spiritual with an earth-like quality. She gives substance to an ethereal host of songs in a popular music form.’
(Critique from Findhorn Community, Scotland.)
All the lyrics are included. These tapes are not available on CD so, if you’d like to enjoy some beautiful songs at almost cost, click on to Anne’s Music for details of how to purchase and some more testimonials from very happy listeners.
I hope 2005 brings you all the success and joy you desire.
April – June 2005:
We’re having a pleasantly warm winter season here in Brisbane , which certainly helps to fuel my energy. With so many projects coming to fruition, I appreciate the milder weather. I’m usually such a bear in winter – just want to hibernate with a warm drink in front of a heater.
As I expected, this Wood Rooster year is full of new beginnings, creativity and exciting happenings.
Love Is A Circle : My new children’s CD is well under way. Most of the recording has been completed and I’m very happy with the bright combination of guitars, piano, accordion, whistle, flute, piccolo and percussion. I love the way my fellow musicians have joined with me, playfully and creatively, to add their special flair to these positive children’s songs of affirmation. All that’s needed to complete the CD is the children’s choir. Mary Brettell is presently working on the art and text, so … won’t be long now. Keep watching New Releases.
Three New CDs: There’s still so much interest in my ‘New Age’ cassette albums Think Of It This Way, The Four Dragons and Flight that I’ve decided to release them on CD. I’ve just received the CD masters for a final review and they sound great. The music is so beautiful and the lyrics positive and uplifting. Cassettes of The Four Dragons and Flight are still available as cost price, so click here for details and testimonials from other very happy listeners.
An Exciting New Opportunity : Brad and Maria Davies from Mercury Learning Systems LLC, who distribute my affirmations CDs on-line from America , are in the process of converting the songs from Special As I Can Be and SingYour Way to Health, Wealth and Happiness to MP3 format to offer them for downloading at 99¢ per song. They will also make the lyrics available for downloading in PDF format. This exciting experiment with new technology will make these positive songs for adults and children much more widely available. They will also continue to market the CDs, thus giving their clients the best of both worlds. Click here to go to their web page.
Of course, I still sing every Wednesday night at the Kookaburra Café Folk Club (280 Given Terrace, Paddington) and whenever I can on the first Saturday of the month at the ABOFOTS in the Upfront Café in Maple Street , Maleny. I hope to see you there.
I hope that the second half of 2005 is a wonderful a time of creativity and enjoyment for you.
Some exciting Gospel news: Encouraged by the success of Tired of the Struggle (from my CD Seasons), which came second in its category in the 2004 Australian Gospel Songwriting Competition, I submitted a new song to this year’s competition. Sweet Gospel Choir was written especially for the Gospel session I hosted last December at the Woodford Folk Festival and I’m delighted that it has survived the rigorous judging and is now a finalist out of a record number of entries across all states and territories and is eligible for an award at the National Gospel Happening in Canberra . I’m also hosting the Gospel session at the Singing Shed at this year’s Woodford on Sunday January 1st from 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm. What a great way to sing in the New Year.
After a few brief days of spring-like weather, summer has arrived with a vengeance bringing with it some wild hot winds and early bush fires. I can hardly see the mountains for smoke and the house is full of it. Two great fire-fighting helicopters have been buzzing overhead, dumping tonnes of water onto the worst of the flames with pin-point accuracy.
However, my Wood Rooster is not letting me flop into the cool and relax just yet. So, to update you on my various projects…
The second Stan Arthur Memorial Concert to raise funds to support Queensland folk projects in the late Stan Arthur’s name was held on September 24th and was an excellent evening. I opened the concert with My Friend Stan, the song I wrote after his death. There was a great line-up of performers, a multiple-prize raffle and lots of delicious home-cooked goodies for the attendees. Brisbane audiences aren’t shy about joining in the choruses, so the wonderful singing wasn’t all from the stage.
Love Is A Circle: The recording of my new children’s CD is finally complete; I just need to distance myself from it a little before giving it one last long hearing to make sure I’m completely happy. Mary is well underway with the artwork and I expect to have this CD for sale by the end of October. So - keep watching New Releases. The Love Is A Circle Songbook will follow shortly.
Three More New Releases: The CDs of Think Of It This Way, The Four Dragons and Flight are nearly ready. I’ve just signed off on the artwork of Think Of It This Way and Flight will be ready to go next week. The final art for The Four Dragons is underway – so these, too, will see the light of day very soon and will also be on New Releases by the end of October. Remember, if you’d like to have copies of the original cassettes, they are available at cost price, so click here for details and testimonials from other very happy listeners.
Will I be able to put my feet up then? Not likely. I now have Woodford and the Singing Shed to plan for – and will really enjoy spending the last week of 2005 at the festival, soaking up the music, stories and poetry and contributing my own mite to the fun.
Walking Convict Brisbane : For the last week in September I had the pleasure of spending 5 days with Dora Wode, my American email-pal and tireless researcher into the lives of Patrick Logan (the Moreton Bay settlement’s third commandant), his wife and sister-in-law. (See Anne's Diary: September - December 2003 Researching Convict Brisbane ). It was such a pleasure to be able to take her around Brisbane’s few remaining historical sites dating directly back to our convict roots and show her where the Logans lived. She left fired with enthusiasm for even more research into her famous ancestor’s life. Luckily, we had great weather and she just beat the sudden temperature rise and the fires.
What’s Next? I’m full of creative ideas for 2006, when much of the work I’ve done this year on new beginnings and new projects should consolidate and grow. A fun project in the pipe-line should be launched early next year – more of that later.
If you’re planning a visit to Woodford during the festival, drop into the Singing Shed, say hello and join in a chorus or two. As always, the Kookaburra Folk Club will be closed for the last Wednesday in December and the first in January, but after that brief hiatus, I’ll be back singing on Wednesday nights. The address is upstairs at the Kookaburra Café, 280 Given Terrace, Paddington, Brisbane. And, of course, whenever I can, I’ll be at ABOFOTS in the Upfront Café in Maple Street , Maleny on the first Saturday of the month. Perhaps I’ll see you there.
I wish you a joyous and peaceful Christmas/Solstice/New Year/ Festive season and may 2006 bring you much success and creative fulfilment.
Postscript to Anne’s Diary July-December 2005
Love is a Circle: Well, it took longer than expected but it’s here at last. I collected the Love is a Circle CDs from the factory on the 18th November and am very happy with the result.
These children’s affirmations appeal to children and adults alike. All the feedback has been wonderfully positive. Most of the songs are bright and bouncy, a couple gentle and reflective, but all focus on building positive attitudes of self-esteem, persistence acceptance of self and others, a ‘can-do’ attitude and tolerance of colour, race and creed. Click here for more information.
New Age CDs: November also saw the release of my three ‘New Age’ CDs: Think Of It This Way, The Four Dragons and Flight. These songs have always been very special to me. They are positive, powerful and uplifting, deeply life enhancing and full of joyous spiritual energy. I am always moved by the wonderful feedback I receive from those whose lives they have touched with their beauty. Click here for more information.
Love is a Circle Music Book: Due to delays beyond my control, the music book to accompany the Love is a Circle CD will not now begin production until the New Year. However, the CD’s booklet has all the lyrics printed.
Warm good wishes
January - March 2006
Woodford – the hottest yet! Did you go to Woodford? Wasn’t it hot! However, we all survived and it was a great festival. The new, bigger Singing Shed was a superb venue with back-to-back sessions on widely diverse themes, hosted by experienced performers - with lots of opportunities and encouragement for the ‘wanabes’ in the audience to lead songs. I thoroughly enjoyed hosting the Gospel session on New Year’s Day and participating in various other sessions. I was also delighted with the sales of my children’s material – Special As I Can Be CD and music book and Love is a Circle CD.
Losses: Sadly, one of my oldest folk friends, Bill Scott, passed away on Christmas Eve. Bill was always generous in his support and in sharing with me his love of Brisbane ’s convict history, the many stories he’d collected and his resources. He was the inspiration for my research and writing about the Moreton Bay settlement in Patrick Logan’s time as commandant, and if you have been following this diary, you’ll know what an exciting and interesting time this has been for me. An extraordinary man, Bill Scott was a singer, songwriter, author, raconteur, historian, poet and inspiration to a generation of folkies.
In February the folk community lost another beloved member, friend and fellow musician, June Nichols. June played the lovely concertina backing on my CD Seasons and worked with me to create the music book for the children’s CD Special As I Can Be. Not long after the Seasons launch June was diagnosed with bowel cancer. She fought her disease valiantly and without bitterness, inspiring all of us with her enormous courage and strength. June was an outstanding singer and tune maker and edited Brisbane ’s only folk newsletter the Folk Rag. Her death left me with a sense of great personal loss – which I share with the majority of the ‘folk family’.
National Folk Festival: However, life continues and the National Folk Festival is fast approaching. Once again I’ll be heading to Canberra for Easter. Each year the festival features a different Sate and this year it’s Queensland ’s turn. I’m delighted to have been included in a two-hour tribute concert for Queensland folkie and friend Tony Miles who passed away in 2001. I’ll be singing two of his songs in the Tony Miles Tribute Concert to be held in the Palladium on Easter Sunday.
Love Is A Circle Music Book: This project has been put on hold temporarily. I had planned to work with June Nichols again but her death has meant finding another artist/musician/computer whiz (not an easy combination) to collaborate with me in its creation. But watch New Releases – it will happen.
Crow Minder: Now all the recording/CD production is behind me for the moment, I’ve been pleased to reconnect with Crow Minder , my second book set in Brisbane ’s convict era . I’ve taken up my pen/keyboard once again and am enjoying working on this story. The research is fascinating.
I hope your year is progressing with much success, happiness and creative fulfilment.
Warm good wishes,
April – June 2006
National Folk Festival: Easter in Canberra can be a lovely time of year with trees flaunting their rich autumn colours and clear, crisp days - although the nights are a little too cold for a ‘north country lass’ like myself. Not surprisingly, as Easter this year fell in mid-April, we had a couple of very cold nights (minus 4 º ) and people resorted to pouring water on their windscreens next morning to de-ice the glass. Brrrrr! Four of us Brisbane girls shared a motel room and were cosy with the air-conditioner’s heat turned up high, and the cold nights at the festival made us really appreciate the best hot chocolate I’ve every tasted, sold right next to the session room, a singing venue for night owls. Queensland ’s being the featured State at this year’s National made it a particularly friendly time as I kept seeing familiar faces from home.
The Tony Miles Tribute Concert at the Palladium on Easter Sunday was a great success. Long–term Tony Miles fan, John Colville, organised and led the concert which was illustrated by a power-point presentation of archival photographs of Tony’s life put together by my amazing webmaster Mary Brettell and projected onto a screen behind the performers. This was greatly enjoyed by audience and singers alike and we all shared some great memories.
The venue was packed, the audience enthusiastic and the performers, awaiting their turn to sing sitting in rows at the two sides of the stage, especially had a wonderful time, contributing many impromptu harmonies and comments. This created a close-knit energy and an atmosphere of camaraderie that the audience really appreciated. During the last song people danced in the aisles and in front of the stage. We generated a lot of interest in and appreciation of Tony’s music, which was the whole point of the concert, and we loved every minute of the performance.
The National Folk Festival presented a tribute concert to Australia’s ‘lost treasures’ of the folk world and Bill Scott and June Nichols were featured as well as others who passed away during the year. There will also be a tribute concert to June Nichols at this year’s Woodford Folk Festival at which I’ll be singing Bahama Mama, my song for June.
The Stan Arthur Memorial Concert: This year’s memorial concert for Queensland folk icon Stan Arthur will be held on October 14 th at the East Brisbane Bowls Club on the corner of Lytton Road and Park Avenue, East Brisbane . Once again we will be raising money with this annual concert in order to provide a grant to support a Queensland folk project (such as a collecting trip, performance or recording) to perpetuate Stan’s name and memory, and continue his legacy of generous support for folk collectors and performers. We have an excellent line-up of the best of Brisbane ’s performers who generously support this project by giving their services free-of-charge.
The recipient of the 2005 Stan Arthur Award was Brisbane ’s Ian Dearden. Ian is another long-term fan and friend of the late Tony Miles and sang in the tribute concert at the National Festival. He will use the funding towards his project to release Tony’s recordings on CDs. As I mentioned in the last Diary, Tony passed away on 12th May 2001 . He was born in the UK but adopted Brisbane as his home and was a prolific songwriter and talented performer. His songs reflect his experiences, life and times and range from deeply moving to wickedly satirical. He left us a wonderful legacy of songs which are greatly deserving of presentation to a new audience and we are very pleased to support Ian’s project. As we always feature the past year’s recipient of the award at the concert, this year we will be reprising a 40 minute section of the National Folk Festival’s Tony Miles Tribute Concert.
Love Is A Circle Music Book: At this stage I’ve made the decision not to go ahead with this project. The CD already has a lyrics booklet and there is presently no demand for a songbook. All the music was written out by Robin Etter-Cleave, who played the wondrous flute, piccolo and whistle tracks on the CD, and I am happy to send this to anyone who would like to have it. Just click on the Contact Anne link.
Crow Minder: This secondbook set in Brisbane ’s convict era under Captain Logan is giving me much enjoyment as the story unfolds itself. There are many misperceptions about this era, often perpetuated through folk songs and the writings of disgruntled convicts and soldiers, and it’s fascinating to research and discover the truth of the settlement’s early days – as much as is available through historical records.
Folk-Redlands: In June I finally made it to Folk-Redlands, a folk cub which operates on Brisbane ’s south side, on the 1 st and 3 rd Sundays of the month from 2 – 5 pm. This club is held in one of the rooms of the Redlands Indigiscapes Centre in Capalaba. Entry is free and there are blackboard as well as featured artists. I sang a short set and intend to make this a regular monthly date in my calendar. The Centre is in a bush reserve with abundant wildlife and forest walks and has an excellent café with lovely hot chocolate (it was a very cold day.)
ABOFOTS: The Maleny folk club is still going strong and a Brisbane contingent drives up on the first Saturday of the month to enjoy a visit with our North Coast neighbours and spend a great night singing. I occasionally miss a month, but enjoyed the April and May nights. The club has a monthly theme – May was ‘Maybe, Maybe not’. Always happy to rise to a challenge, I wrote a special song The Maybe Waltz which was meant for a joke but has been so well received I’ve included it in my repertoire and love singing it. Pure country, as you might guess. I missed the June ABOFOTS which was held in the Celtic Tearooms while the Upfront Café enjoyed a refit and general ‘spruce-up’.
What’s Next? As usual, when in the midst of creating a book, I tend to ‘blip’ off the screen for months on end. Crow Minder will be occupying most of my time, but I’ll still be found singing at ABOFOTS on the first Saturday of the month, Folk-Redlands on the third Sunday and the Kookaburra Café in Paddington, Brisbane , each Wednesday night.
I wish you every success for the remainder of the year and hope your life is filled with much joyous creativity.
Warm good wishes,
July – September 2006
Welcome to another edition of the Diary. You’ll see I’ve added a new page which lists my up-coming performances.
eBay: I’ve had a very interesting few months, discovering the intricacies of eBay. I decided to offer my CDs in this market place, with the idea of opening an eBay store, and it’s been a curious and sometimes frustrating learning curve. My wonderful webmaster, Mary Brettell, joined me in this venture - without her I would have been entirely lost. After some months, I’ve decided that this isn’t going to work for me – so far it hasn’t been financially viable; but it has been an expanding experience and my motto is that you never lose by trying and no knowledge is ever wasted.
Tapes for sale: The CDs of Think Of It This Way, The Four Dragons and Flight are now available - see New Releases. However, there are still some copies of the original cassettes available at cost price, so click here for details and testimonials from other very happy listeners.
In August my niece Angela paid us a visit from London , where she is currently working. She came home for her brother’s wedding, so all my activities took a back seat. She’ll be returning in December for Christmas with the family. It’s always a great pleasure to spend time with her.
The Inaugural Neurum Creek Acoustic Music Festival:
What a great festival this turned out to be! Many of the best of South-East Queensland folk talent came together in the time-honoured tradition of participating simply for the joy of the performance, whether on stage or behind the scenes. The line-up was spectacular, with artistes of the calibre of Fine Cotton, Pirate Brides, Mark Cryle, Lonnie Martin, Andrea Baldwin, Rachel Whitney, Rose Jacob, Rebecca Wright, Mary Brettell and many more.
The festival was held from the 15th to 17th of September. Most attendees camped at the Neurum Creek Bush Reserve, itself a little slice of Paradise beautifully positioned in a mountain valley outside Woodford with every view a photo-opportunity. Some less hardy chose Woodford Motels, only a 15-minute picturesque drive away. Mary and I ‘roughed it’ at the delightful Storey Brook Cottage at Woodford – and we highly recommend this B & B.
The weather was mostly showery with heavy cloud banks, which only enhanced the beautiful valley and mountain views and gave everyone a greater sense of togetherness with many hugs and cuddling close for warmth. In these days of continuing drought it’s lovely to see any rain for any length of time, so no one was complaining.
The festival was well- organised, well-sited, well-run and inexpensive and took the form of a wondrous on-going concert of gifted performers giving their best for the muse in a large marquee with the bar at one end and stage at the other. All performers were allocated a 40 minute set and mine was on the Saturday afternoon. Audience sat on the grass or brought folding chairs. Some workshops were also offered on guitar (finger picking and tune-playing) and voice. The tipple voted the ‘best of the fest’ was Angela Kitzelman’s mulled wine – absolutely delicious and essential to keep out the sharp cold wind.
The Neurum Creek Acoustic Music Festival will be held again next year, so don’t miss it. I certainly won’t!
The Stan Arthur Memorial Concert:
It’s that time of year again. The third Stan Arthur Memorial Concert will be held on the 14 th October at the East Brisbane Bowls Club with another excellent line-up of performers. Last year the committee allocated the funds from the 2005 concert to Brisbane folk singer Ian Dearden to partially fund his project to re-release the recordings of the late Tony Miles. Those of us performing the special 40 minute Tony Miles set are looking forward to reprising part of the National Folk Festival’s Tony Miles Tribute Concert to promote Ian’s project. (Anne’s Diary April - June 2006)
As mentioned in the April – June Diary, The Woodford Folk Festival will host a tribute concert to one of Australia ’s ‘lost treasures’ of the folk world, June Nichols. Mary Brettell is organising and presenting the concert and I’ll be singing Bahama Mama, my song for June, and possibly another of June’s songs.
My performance schedule is keeping me busy at present (See Performances). I still regularly appear at Folk-Redlands, which operates on the 1 st and 3 rd Sundays of the month at the Redlands Indigiscapes Centre in Capalaba. Entry is free and there are blackboard as well as featured artists. I was the guest artist with an hour’s set on September 3 rd. The Centre is in a bush reserve with abundant wildlife and forest walks and has an excellent café. I’m also continuing to appear whenever I can at ABOFOTS in Maleny on the first Saturday of the month and at the Kookaburra Café in Paddington, Brisbane , each Wednesday night.
As the year draws to a close, I trust your life is fulfilling and creative. I recently read a delightful quote:
You might not have chosen to come to the party
but you may as well dance now you’re here.
Warm good wishes,
October – December 2006
Hello, and welcome to Anne’s Diary. I’ve had a busy and creative year – but with its share of sorrow at the loss of some good friends passing. Numerologically, 2007 will be a 3 year for me so many more good things are on my horizon, I’m sure. They say, if you don’t enjoy a 3 year you’re very hard to please, because this is the year in which you can really go for your important goals or dreams and succeed.
The Stan Arthur Memorial Concert: The third memorial concert for Queensland folk icon Stan Arthur was held on October 14 and was an outstanding event. The Wayfarers, Stan’s old group, opened proceedings, followed by Lonnie Martin, Bubble and Squeak and the 2005 award recipient Ian Dearden (and friends) with a special 45 minute set of songs of the late Tony Miles. The incomparable Pirate Brides closed the evening in style. Everyone present voted it a superb concert.
Sadly, in spite of the quality of the performers, it was not well supported and the funds raised were insufficient to enable us to call for applications this year. Given the increasingly low level of public interest in these concerts and the lack of applicants for funding, the committee made the decision to discontinue the award and disband. Our last official act was to elect to give the 2006 award to Keith Urquhart and Angela Kitzelman towards running the 2nd Neurum Creek Acoustic Music Festival in 2007.
Crow Minder: My second book set in Brisbane ’s convict era under Captain Logan continues to grow slowly, amid numerous interruptions. I hope to make time after the New Year to complete this story.
End of Year Events: The year’s end is fast approaching and the folk clubs are preparing to close for their Christmas/New Year breaks. December 3 saw Folk-Redlands’ final gathering for 2006 – and what a gathering it was! Performances were scheduled from 11am – 6pm and the club ran a BBQ breakfast and lunch to raise funds. The event was held outdoors in the lovely bush setting of the Redlands Indigiscapes Centre and people set out chairs and rugs on the grass under the tall eucalypts or settled on the centre’s verandah (in the dress circle) to enjoy a wonderful variety of acts. In the afternoon a forecast thunderstorm threatened, causing some anxious thought and setting up of chairs and speakers in the club’s usual room – just in case. It started to spit just as I finished my final song at 5pm and the final acts were moved indoors. I ran into the deluge on the way home and had a heart-stopping drive along the freeway in the worst of the storm but made it home safely.
ABOFOTS at Maleny held its last session for the year on December 2 and the Kookaburra Folk Club will be closed on December 27 and January 3, reopening on January 10.
Woodford: This year the Singing Shed has been discontinued in its usual venue and will no longer be running throughout the festival. The new Duck and Shovel, which will be run as a folk club venue, has allocated an outdoor space for Singing Shed style sessions from 4pm - 6pm daily. I will be hosting a couple of sessions there. These will be:
Wednesday December 27 from 4 – 5pm – Australian Songs (Old and New)
Friday December 29 from 5 – 6pm – Gospel Songs
The Duck and Shovel will be run by Keith Urquhart and Angela Kitzelman who made such a success of the Neurum Creek Acoustic Music Festival in September and the June Nichols Memorial Concert will be held at this venue on Wednesday December 27 from 8 – 10pm so we can celebrate June’s life in song and dance. See Performances.
However you celebrate Christmas/Solstice/New Year, I wish you a wonderful festive season, safe celebrations and happy holidays. Perhaps I’ll see you at Woodford.
Enjoy your time with your family and friends and may 2007 bring you great success and happiness in the perfect way for you.
Warm good wishes,
January - March 2007
Hello, and welcome to Anne’s Diary.
Woodford: As usual I started the year at Woodford.Miraculously, we had cooler weather and even rain,which made the days very much more bearable than in previous years. This year I only spent three days at the festival but had a wonderful time and was greatly inspired and refreshed by the experience.
Although the old Singing Shed has been discontinued, the new Duck and Shovel, which was run as a folk club venue, allocated space in the adjoining bar for Singing Shed style sessions from 4pm - 6pm daily and they were mostly well attended.
The Duck and Shovel proved to be an excellent and well run venue. It was a valuable meeting place and drop-in centre for South-East Queensland folkies, with the added advantage of being centrally sited on the way to everywhere and always with good performances happening. Its proximity to the lake and Village Green area was a plus. The food and wine were good and it was lovely to keep running into all the local folkies. I felt very comfortable there and hope the Woodford organisers appreciated its worth to the festival and allow it to continue.
I personally enjoyed my sessions of Australian and Gospel songs and the participants also seemed to have had a good time. There were some problems caused by not having a defined ‘sessions’ area - the bar’s benches and tables weren’t conducive to sitting around and joining in and there was considerable sound spill from the Duck itself, the Concert Marquee and other performers choosing the bar area to practise/jam. However, the Duck and Shovel team are aware of these and other ‘glitches’ and will endeavour to fix them next time.
The June Nichols Memorial Concert, admirably organised by Mary Brettell and also held at the Duck and Shovel, featured many of June’s friends and highlighted the varied aspects of her many years of involvement with the Brisbane folk scene, from performing to writing wonderful tunes for concertina to Morris dancing. Teams of Morris dancers performed exuberantly in front of the stage, at one point showering the front row of the audience with splinters from broken sticks (we Morris hard in Queensland .) There was much joy and not a few tears shed on stage and in the packed audience as we celebrated June’s life in song and dance.The first three months of 2007 have seen me performing more and writing less. I’ve revised some earlier manuscripts which are being sent out to publishers, and have begun occasionally to attend the Saturday singing sessions at the Muddy Farmer, an Irish pub in Annerley, Brisbane. So far this year I’ve missed going to ABOFOTS, the Maleny folk club, but have performed weekly at the Kookaburra Folk Club and monthly at Folk-Redlands. My up-coming performances page now lists my performance dates and venues.
The Brisbane Folk History Project: various Brisbane folkies have become involved in a visionary project instigated by Michael Tully who realised that much of our rich folk music culture in Brisbane , arguably the most vibrant folk music scene of all the major cities in Australia , was becoming lost through the lack of any structured preservation. Michael recognised the outstanding the depth of talent among local musicians, singers and organisers and yet folk music and folk culture is little known in the mainstream.
Michael wrote: ‘The stories in song and verse handed down through the many songwriters in our folk music family are of historical importance not just to us but also to the wider community. With this in mind I want to set in motion this project with the aims of recording the history of the Brisbane folk music scene and promoting the work of the many and varied folk artists who are performing in and around Brisbane today.
I envisage the project will take three forms which will be integrated as a package.
1: A DVD documentary recording the Brisbane Folk Music scene, past and present.
2: A compilation CD of Brisbane folk music artists, past and present.
3: A companion book documenting the history of the above.’
With this aim in mind he sent out a call for others to become involved and a guiding committee was formed with sub-committees to handle the various tasks. We are presently collecting memorabilia and anecdotes, as well as other material which documents our folk history from the beginning to the current day.
Funds were raised through a revolutionary concert on January 20th which occupied the entire East Brisbane Bowls Club and featured back to back performances on two stages, one in the bar and one in the regular performance hall. It was an outstanding and visionary project and ran extremely smoothly, with the audience alternating between the performance areas and sharing many memories. We’ve come a long way together since the opening of the Folk Centre in Ann Street in the 1960s.
This is an on-going project which will take years to complete – but it has made a spectacular beginning and I’m delighted to be involved.
What’s Next? On Thursday 5th April I’ll be flying down to the National Folk Festival in Canberra over Easter and am looking forward to five days of music, wondrous food from around the world, spectacular autumn colours and delicious hot chocolate on those cold Canberra nights. Perhaps I’ll see you there. I hope your year is progressing creatively and that you are enjoying the changing seasons, wherever you are in the world.
Warm good wishes,
April - June 2007
Welcome once again to Anne's Diary.
Mary Brettell CD: In late March I was delighted to hear that my ‘whizzy-computer’ web master Mary Brettell was about to record her debut CD – and about time, too. Mary is an outstanding performer with an enviable repertoire of songs which cross many different styles and genres from traditional and ‘folk’ contemporary through country and bluegrass to raunchy 1920’s classics. Her performances are always a joy to hear. I was especially pleased when she asked me to sing some backing vocals and I spent an enjoyable day with her in the studio before leaving for the National Folk Festival in Canberra two days later. Mary’s CD is titled Mary B and is a comprehensive and delightful musical portrait of Mary, containing a popular selection of the songs she sings so well, from the traditional Australian Convict Maid to Emmy Lou Harris’s Boulder to Birmingham. The finished recording is stylish, sensitive, uncluttered and professional and her version of Dancing at Whitsun, backed by Helen Rowe’s lovely viola, brought tears to my eyes.
In May, Mary and her new CDs left for the UK for 6 weeks where she was booked to sing at the inaugural Clennell Hall Folk Festival at the Clennell Hall Hotel, Alwinton, in the beautiful Northumberland National Park. Imagine fields of crimson poppies and daffodils blooming in shaded woodlands. I’ve seen her pics – lovely!
MaryB is available from Mary Brettell at Mary's Website and I highly recommend it.
2007 National Folk Festival: After freezing at the National in Canberra last year, this year’s Easter weather was unseasonably warm with crisp, cool nights and the days almost summery – very pleasant for sitting outdoors between concerts and enjoying the wondrous range of festival food. Canberra has joined the rapidly growing list of Australian cities and towns on ever-increasing water restrictions due to the prolonged drought and signs in the various toilet and shower blocks reminded visitors to use the water sparingly.
I joined the team for Roger Holmes’ Sunday Hymn session and led three old favourites. As always, many rousing choruses were enjoyed by all present. I also sang some ballads in Jenny Fitzgibbons’ Big Ballads session – a great pleasure. The final song was the undisputed highlight of the evening with Jenny co-opting several of the ballad singers into the definitive version of Willie’s Lady, arbitrarily allocating them the rôles of King Willie, King Willie’s evil witch mother and even the horse, while she played Willie’s lady with a jumper stuffed up her shirt for the unborn babe. By the end the audience was in hysterics, the cast triumphant if exhausted, the jumper safely born and all wrongs righted, with King Willie, his lady and his son left to live happily ever after.
Kookaburra Folk Club: In May we decided on a new venture for the Kookaburra Folk Club. Previously we have operated on a strictly ‘chalkboard’ style venue with all comers welcome and most certain of securing a set on a ‘just turn up’ basis. As we are unable to pay performers (we don’t charge an entry fee) we have always been pleased to welcome any professional soloists and groups who wanted to come along and join us for a set. Recently, given the wealth of wondrous talent in South East Queensland and so many artists on tour from the southern states, we made the decision to ask special guests to perform on the last Wednesday of the month. While we are unable to offer payment, they can sell CDs and promote their other appearances and be assured of a warm welcome in an intimate setting from an audience which not only listens attentively but also joins in choruses with the minimum of encouragement. I took on the pleasant task of contacting performers and had to quickly alter our plans from one night a month to several, with the possibility of more than one special act on the same night, as other touring performers at a loose end on Wednesday nights have come to our attention.
June 20 was our first ‘special’ night with two invited acts, Stockade, recently returned to Brisbane from New South Wales and Tom Bolton, a singer/songwriter on tour from Melbourne. Although we were having our coldest June day for 80 years with freezing westerlies gusting at 60k per hour, it was an excellent night with a good turn-up and we look forward to many more.
The Kookaburra Folk Club does not have its own web site, but information can be obtained by going to www.folkrag.org where we have a monthly ad for the club with details of the guest nights.
2007 Redlands Folk Festival: The year continues to involve me in singing – see up-coming performances. I was invited to perform at the second Redlands Folk Festival, run by the Folk Redlands team, which was held in conjunction with Environment Day and the Indigi Day Out at the Indigiscapes Centre at Capalaba, Brisbane. It was held over the first weekend in June and opened with a bush dance on Friday night followed by two days of excellent performances on two stages, street entertainment, and many environmental stalls covering themes from plant propagation and worm farming to bush care, bats, butterflies and – of course – koalas, the Centre being in the middle of koala country. Good food was available from the Centre’s own café, the Folk Redlands hamburger stall, a Hungarian langos booth and a coffee van.
I was booked to perform on Saturday afternoon but found myself going on as the opening act as well, the booked artist having come down with a shocking case of laryngitis; she could hardly speak, let alone sing. So I presented two sets then returned on Sunday as audience to enjoy the many top-quality performances. Altogether it was a thoroughly enjoyable weekend - all that and payment too! I am angling to be invited next year.
Below are pictures of one of my performances at the Festival, also with Stockade, who joined me on my last song and the Wayfarers, the resident group at the Kookaburra Folk Club.
Anne and 'Stockade' at Redlands Folk Festival 2007
Anne singing at Redlands Folk Festival 2007
What’s Next? I’m looking forward to the second Neurum Creek Acoustic Music Festival in September and have been invited to sing at the August Folkies Old and New concert (these quarterly concerts are a Brisbane tradition which raise money to produce The Folk Rag) also at The Madass, Brisbane’s Thursday night venue held at The Muddy farmer Hotel in Annerley, Brisbane -see up-coming performances. I’ve also had a publisher show interest in Striped Jacket, so am waiting to see what the result will be there.
May you enjoy this season, which is proving to be a blessing to many parts of Australia by bringing good winter rain, and I hope all your plans for the year are on track and providing you with every enjoyment.
Warm good wishes,
July – September 2007
Hello, and welcome to Anne’s Diary.
Folk in South East Queensland: At recent performances I’ve been approached by people who have told me they enjoy reading this page as it keeps them in touch with what’s happening in the folk world. If you are interested in any folk activities in South East Queensland, you can visit www.folkrag.org for monthly updates for all the clubs, festivals and sessions. It’s a great way to keep in touch.
MP3 Affirmations: I mentioned in the April – June 2005 diary that Mercury Learning Systems LLC, who distribute my affirmations CDs on-line from America, were looking at the possibilities of converting the songs to MP3 format and offering them for individual downloading. This has taken a while to organize but they are now in the process of reconfiguring their web site to facilitate the necessary changes. I’ll let you know when it’s up and running.
Crow Minder: I’ve been busy performing and doing no writing at all, except for new songs. I’m very aware that I have an unfinished manuscript to complete and am looking forward to getting back to Brisbane’s convict past with Crow Minder, probably when the folk scene takes a break over Christmas and the New Year.
Performances: As well as my usual performances at The Kookaburra Café, The Upfront Café (ABOFOTS) in Maleny and Folk Redlands, I also sang on August 18th at the Folkies Old and New Concert at the East Brisbane Bowls Club, a regular folk venue. For something a little different, I put together some of my favourite songs from the 1960s/70s and asked friends Mary Brettell, Mark Davidson and Rose Broe (from the amazing Pirate Brides) to join me in my set. I called my impromptu group Senior Moments and we took the audience by surprise when, after a couple of solo songs, I called the group on stage. We had a great time playing together and ended the set in fine rocking style with Sweet Little Vera (Buffy Sainte Marie) and When My Room Gets Dark again. On August 30th I performed in a special evening for mainly traditional singers at the Madass Folk Club which is held on Thursday nights at The Muddy Farmer Hotel in Annerley. Although I had to leave early to tend my cat Pebbles, who had undergone an operation to remove a lump from her eyelid, there was some really outstanding singing and I was very happy to join Mary Brettell in her set to help out with choruses.
2007 Redlands Spring Festival: I was invited to perform in the Redlands Spring Festival on the 8th September. Formerly the Redlands Strawberry Festival, it was held at the Cleveland Show Grounds and was quite a large event with a number of stalls and information stands, entertainment marquees and a Side-Show Alley. It had rained the previous night and the ground was very boggy, compounded by the many festival visitors churning up the mud, so we didn’t spend a lot of time outside the folk tent. I can’t resist fairy floss so I bought a bag – and a waffle and cream. Mary Brettell went with me and joined in my set for a couple of songs. The folk venue, run by the Folk Redlands team, was set up in a marquee next to Side-Show Alley which made for some interesting challenges as we had to contend with the rhythmic and quite loud thump-thump-thump from one of the rides and occasionally a spruiker with a megaphone outside. Chris and Chuck Euston (Stockade) were rostered on the sound desk so, as at the June Redlands Folk Festival, I finished my set with the lovely old American hymn Only Remembered and got Chris and Chuck and Mary up to sing the chorus with me. There were outstanding performances from all the folkies. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day and hopefully Folk Redlands will continue to be involved with this festival as many people were interested in our music.
Anne Sings at Redlands Anne and Mary B Anne and Mary B with Stockade
Vale Pebbles: Sadly, at the end of August, the lump taken from Pebbles’ eyelid was diagnosed as an anaplastic carcinoma (tumour) and the cancer had got away into her lymph glands and lungs. She became increasingly disinterested in food and was clearly having difficulty with swallowing; so, rather than leave her to suffer any longer, my mother and I made the distressing decision to let her go. Her vet came to the house on the morning of Friday 14th September and released her in the most gentle and caring fashion so that she didn’t suffer or feel anything. She died in my lap and we buried her in the garden with the rest of our former well-loved cat companions. Pebbles was possibly the most interesting cat we have lived with; she had spent the first two years of her life being abused by her owners until she was rescued and came to us. She was initially a very angry, disturbed and wild girl, but eventually grew into a gentle, playful and talkative cat, although she was always timid, and she enjoyed another fourteen years of loving care with us. For those who know my song July Afternoon from my Seasons CD, Pebbles is the cat who stalked out of the room when I played my guitar. She hated the sound of the guitar and wouldn’t stay in the room with me when I practised.
Neurum Creek Acoustic Music Festival: The second Neurum Creek Festival was held from Friday 14th – Sunday 16th September at the Neurum Creek Bush Reserve’s idyllic camping grounds. Most of the performers and audience camped but Mary Brettell and I booked our motel room again at the Storey Brook Cottage in Woodford (our idea of luxury camping) and prepared to enjoy a weekend of continuous folk music from some of the best performers in South East Queensland. I drove up on the Friday afternoon after burying Pebbles, so for me the weekend was overshadowed with grief.
My performance was the first on Saturday morning, and I revived Senior Moments for the last two songs as Mary, Mark and Rose were all performing at the festival so it seemed a pity to waste good rehearsal time. I also acted as MC on Saturday evening. For Neurum Creek Festival photos, visit www.brettell.info/nc07/.
Twice as many people attended this year and although the organisers did not receive the grant for which they’d applied, they made enough money to pay the performers and seed next year’s festival, which was a great result. The weather was gorgeous; sunny and mild (children and adults alike enjoyed paddling in the creek) and the Villeneuve Fire Brigade provided breakfasts, lunches, dinners and tea and coffee all weekend. If you would like to receive information about this excellent event just a short drive from Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast , visit www.neurumcreekfestival.org or email Angela Kitzelman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Woodford: I’m not sure if I will be involved with this year’s Woodford Folk Festival (fast approaching) but if I do my appearances will be posted on up-coming performances. Hopefully this will be settled before I write the Diary’s next entry.
Striped Jacket : No news yet on the publishing front with Striped Jacket. This is always a slow process as it involves many decisions by editors and publishers when deciding on their lists.
New CD: I am presently putting together songs for a new folk CD and hope to be in the studio within the next few months. No title as yet, but I’ll keep you posted.
May you enjoy the last quarter of the year as you prepare for the coming summer and Christmas/New Year season.
Warm good wishes,
Hello, and welcome to the last Diary for 2007.
Where has the year gone? It certainly seems to have zipped past – is it just me, or does it really gain more speed every year?
As usual, I’ve had my hands full writing, performing and booking and promoting special guest artists for the Kookaburra Folk Club. All greatly enjoyable activities.
Crow Minder: I’m now fully back into this writing project and the manuscript is growing. It’s a great pleasure for me to be spending time back in 1826 with Captain Logan and his family and all the characters, real and imaginary, who walk with me through the pages of the manuscript telling me their stories. Mystery writer Lawrence Block once said, ‘Anyone who spends the major part of the working day in the company of people who do not really exist, and who are in fact the product of his or her own imagination … is apt to be a little weird.’ My friends believe this explains a lot.
Performances: Folk Redlands ended the year with its ‘Christmas Bash’ on December 16 which was fully chalkboard, no invited guest performers, and started an hour earlier at 1pm to accommodate all the acts. The club held a sausage sizzle and it was an excellent afternoon’s entertainment. The Kookaburra Club closed with a special Christmas themed night on December 19 with most performers singing Christmas/seasonal songs and carols. I provided a Christmas cake and Wayfarer John Lewis, known for his pirate songs, appeared as Pirate Santa Claus, handed around the cake and sang some wonderful traditional pirate carols (which he’d written earlier in the week). We had a rush of performers for the last night of the year - a wonderful evening and great fun. All the folk clubs around Brisbane are now in recess for two or three weeks while people are away for summer holidays and Woodford takes place. The Kookaburra Club reopens on Jan 9th with myself and Mary Brettell performing as a duo for the special guest spot.
Woodford: For those of you unfamiliar with the folk scene, The Woodford Folk Festival is a major folk/world music/environment/film festival which takes place north of Brisbane in the Sunshine Coast hinterland from December 27 to January 1 each year. Many of our folk performers/devotees head there for a week of camping, sessioning, performing, etc. I’ve been taking part for the last few years performing and hosting sessions in the Singing Shed but I decided not to attend this year – which might be a very good call as, amazingly, our long and vicious drought seems to be finally breaking and a wet Christmas is predicted. Woodford does get very boggy in the wet – they could hold mud-wrestling there – and a common and tragic sight is the number of single thongs cruelly abandoned in the mire (gum boots are far more practical.) Also, while most are at Woodford, we in Brisbane are looking forward to a visit from Steve Turner, English concertina player and fine singer of mainly traditional songs, who is travelling with his wife Liz. We hope to have a small session of traditional music and songs with Steve but he probably won’t be able to appear at the Kookaburra in January, although I had hoped that might fit in with his schedule.
Old Friends Revisited: I recently had the great pleasure to link up with an old friend Andrea Weymouth. Andrea (then Andrea Calder) and I were two of a group of folkies who shared a house in Carlton, Melbourne in 1970/71. We performed together at various folk clubs and concerts and it was Andrea who helped me choose the guitar I still use today. She had access to an instrument warehouse and I can still picture her sitting on the floor, surrounded by the guitars she’d selected, playing them until she found one she thought had the best sound. She handed it to me saying, ‘This will play in really well.’ It did and still has a beautiful sound.
Andrea was a New Zealander and when New Zealand folk icon Phil Garland performed at the Kookaburra Folk Club in September, we got to chatting about old times and I mentioned Andrea and our friendship and wondered where she was now. Another friend said she could easily make enquiries on a special Web site – she knows I’m a complete Luddite - and Andrea contacted me soon after the message had gone out. She had married and, I was surprised to hear, had been living in Brisbane (at Redland Bay) for many years. We finally met for lunch at the Folk Redlands ‘Christmas Bash’ and I reacquainted her with my guitar and sang one of the songs she taught me.
New Friends Discovered: After the sad death in September of our beautiful cat Pebbles, we have given a home to another needy feline – a pretty, chunky dark brindle tortoiseshell female we call TP (for Tortoiseshell Puss). TP was dumped with a litter of kittens when she was only 8 months old, then rescued and taken to a shelter, then given a home with a woman who gave her back after only a week, then fostered with a friend of mine from Best Friends Rescue. In spite of, or possibly because of, being abandoned twice and pushed from pillar to post (having five homes in less than two years) TP is extremely affectionate and craves human company.
If you go to Woodford, don’t forget your Wellies and have a wonderful time. However you celebrate Christmas/Solstice/New Year, may you enjoy every moment and celebrate safely with your family and friends.
Merry Christmas – and may 2008 bring you every joy and all the good you could wish for.
Warm good wishes,
It’s probably a little late to be wishing you a Happy New Year – so I’ll just wish you on-going happiness and success for 2008.
South-East Queensland welcomed the New Year with much-needed rain and, although the city dams are still below 40% capacity, outside the vegetation is wonderfully green and burgeoning. Lawnmowers can once again be heard at weekends and the sweet smell of freshly cut grass hangs in the air – a familiar and much-missed perfume. Of course, with the warm wet weather houses are also turning green – with mould. You tend to forget that there can be a downside to the wet.
The Kookaburra Folk Club reopened on January 9 with Mary Brettell and me as the special guest duo. English concertina player Steve Turner also performed a short set. He and his wife, on a travelling holiday, had been rain-bound in the south-east as most of the coastal towns, north and south, were flooded. Steve’s set was excellent and I hope he’ll be able to spare us more time during his next visit.
Performances: If you are interested in any of my future performances, click Performances.
MP3 Affirmations: As mentioned in the July – September 2007 Diary, Brad and Maria Davis of Mercury Learning Systems LLC, who distribute my affirmations CDs on-line from America, are in the process of converting my songs of affirmation for children and adults to MP3 format and offering them for individual downloading. They are almost up and running and very soon you will be able to purchase and download single songs from Special As I Can Be, Love is a Circle and Sing Your Way to Health, Wealth & Happiness. All the information will be on Anne’s Music as soon as they’re ready.
National Folk Festival: I’ve just returned from the 42nd National Folk Festival - hard to believe it’s been going for so long – which is held annually in Canberra over the Easter long weekend. As usual, it was five days of outstanding concerts, workshops, sessions, chalkboards, poetry and dancing. There were several very high quality a capella groups who sang parodies and songs of political satire so there was a lot of humour on offer, as well as an exceptional tribute concert of pure nostalgia on the Sunday night featuring performers who were on the 1970 Festival programme or involved in the early New South Wales folk scene (1969/70). I enjoyed hearing many of my favourite songs again and had a wonderful three hours singing choruses and remembering past times. As usually, I led a couple of gospel songs/hymns at the Sunday morning Hymn Singing Session – always a treat for the wonderful harmonies that evolve in the group.
Canberra was very dry and dusty; from the air the surrounding country was mostly brown and dams on individual farms looked low. By the festival’s end many performers were struggling with sore throats from the constant fine white dust and anyone affected with allergies suffered from constantly watering eyes and dripping noses. It began to rain on the last night (Monday) and poured steadily all the next day. We picked our way through a small flood of water coursing through the motel grounds to get to our taxi – the ground is still so rock hard that the water can’t soak in.
3rd Folk-Redlands Festival: Once again Folk-Redlands will be holding its June weekend festival and Indigi Day Out. The date this year is 7-8th June. I’ll be performing on Saturday June 7 at 12 noon in the Café. I thoroughly enjoyed last year’s event and look forward to another weekend of great singing. For updated details as they come to hand click Performances.
Crow Minder: The manuscript continues to grow despite interruptions caused by practices, performances and festival attendances. By now my characters are used to being put on hold for extended periods of time and seem perfectly willing to pause in their tale until I’m free to listen, at which time they continue with their fictional lives for my critical inspection.
I hope your year is also progressing with much success, happiness and creative fulfilment.
Warm good wishes,
Hello and welcome to another diary.
It’s hard to believe that the year is half over. I know ‘where has the year gone?’ is a much-abused question – but ... where has the year gone?
South-East Queensland is now in the grip of its usual winter; clear skies, frosty mornings and biting westerlies – but the sun is warm if you can escape the wind. Although the promised ‘greater than average’ winter rain did not fulfil all the weather bureau’s hopes, we did have some good falls and more is predicted for summer.
I’m a little late with the diary this quarter. Like many of the Brisbane folk family, I was struck down with a particularly virulent form of bronchitis which is playing havoc with all our performances and making for meagre attendance at folk clubs. However, I am now back to singing, so if you are interested in any of my future performances, click Performances.
MP3 Affirmations now available: Brad and Maria Davis from Mercury Learning Systems LLC, who distribute my affirmations CDs on-line from America, are now set up to offer my songs of affirmation for children and adults in MP3 format. Individual songs from Special As I Can Be, Love is a Circle and Sing Your Way to Health, Wealth & Happiness can now be downloaded. Go to AcceleratedLearningMethods.com and click on ‘Treasure’ at the top to see my CDs. This information is also on Anne’s Music .
3rd Folk Redlands Festival: Held on the 7th & 8th June, this was another thoroughly enjoyable weekend festival. The performance stages were set up in the café and the garden and both attracted good audiences with the folk aficionados numbers swelled by day visitors to the Indigiscapes Centre and those attending the Indigi Day Out, which focuses on the environment with excellent information available from the profusion of interesting displays and stalls, on a range of environmental subjects from fire ants and bats to native flora. I performed on the Saturday then left early to catch my lift to Maleny for the ABOFOTS Folk Club in the Up Front Café. I returned to the festival the following day which rounded off a very good weekend of excellent folk singing.
Vale Bob Stewart: On Wednesday June 11the Brisbane folk family lost another multi-talented, well-loved and respected member – Bob Stewart. Bob was one of the original Wayfarers, a Brisbane folk institution, and often sat in with my sets, accompanying me on harmonica and penny whistle, which he played marvellously. In his last years Bob suffered from Parkinson’s disease and dementia was unable to continue playing and singing.
Bob’s life was celebrated in a lovely service (which he planned) followed by a great singing session and wake. I was touched to learn from his ex-wife Grace that Bob had requested that I sing at his funeral. I sang the traditional song Singing Bird which he always loved and gave a short talk on behalf of the folk community, which is reproduced below:
Anne Infante remembers Bob Stewart
Like many folkies, I first met Bob when I discovered the Folk Centre and the Wayfarers in the early 60s. All the Wayfarers performed solo sets as well – but where Bob came into his own was with his harmonicas and penny whistles. He was just superb!
Later, Bob began to sit in now and then with my sets, particularly when I played blues or calypso. I was always delighted to have his backing – he made me sound so good. One of my favourite songs with Bob was The Rose – he played a lovely mouth organ break in that and I’ve hardly sung it at all since he stopped playing. It’s just not the same without him. In calypsos, his whistles soared and danced and counterpointed the melodies – I think he had one for every key. I just had to say ‘It’s in C or D’ or any other, and he’d pick out a whistle or harmonica and away he’d go – no practise, sometimes no warning! I’d be singing something that I’d think would sound great with Bob and I’d turn to him, ask if he wanted to hop in, give him the key and know he’d ‘wing it’ brilliantly. I enjoyed hearing him play so much that I often got him to repeat the break - just for the pleasure of it.
One night Bob proved he also had a wicked sense of humour. In the Folk Centre days we all took ourselves pretty seriously – it was the time of the Vietnam War and protest marches and Bob Dylan’s protest songs like ‘The Times They Are A-Changing’ and ‘The Hour That The Ship Comes In.’ Bob amazed and startled us by getting up for his set with his guitar and harmonica holder – into which he’d inserted half a ham sandwich - at least I think it was ham – ham would certainly have been right! He then launched into a parody of a Dylan song in that angry early-Dylan style and when the harmonica break came at the end of each verse, he took savage bites out of the sandwich, reducing us to tears of laughter. It was just so unexpected and funny – except possibly not for the dyed-in-the-wool-Dylan fans – but the rest of us loved it and still occasionally remind each other of that wonderful moment.
When Bob’s hands began to shake too much to play whistle, he still played great harmonica – the Wayfarers had moved by then to the Kookaburra Cafe in Paddington and Bob could still play up a storm when he sat in with me – and I was always proud to play with such a talented musician. Eventually, though, he couldn’t manage anymore and stopped coming.
Grace brought Bob down to the Kookaburra again one night when I happened to be MC. I finished the night by getting all the singers up for a ‘jam session’ in which Bob joined. He led a couple of the old songs and joined in the choruses and I know he enjoyed it as much as we enjoyed having him for what turned out to be his last evening with us.
Wherever Bob is now, I’ll bet there’s great music and he’s sitting in with his whistles and harmonicas - just having a wonderful time.
Thank you, Bob.
Senior Moments : My impromptu, tongue-in-cheek group Senior Moments continues its life; as well as Mary Brettell, Mark Davidson and Rose Broe we have now been joined by the talented flautist Robin Etter-Cleave (who played flute and whistle on my children’s CD Love is a Circle.) Robin has now recorded her own very beautiful CD Notes From Squire Street in Alto and C flutes. Lovely folk tracks arranged by Robin for flute and available from her at www.altoflute.com.au. Senior Moments was booked to perform on July 10th at the Mad Ass Folk Club which is held on Thursday nights in the Muddy Farmer Hotel at Annerley. Although Mary and I are both still recovering from the ‘dreaded lurgy’ we managed one rehearsal beforehand and our performance was enthusiastically received.
Crow Minder: I’m pleased to say that the first draft of this sequel to Kate Campbell’s convict adventures is fast drawing to a close. Of course, after the first draft comes many more revisions, readings, edits, more drafts; an author’s life is one of repetition. However, the initial story is nearly complete in spite of the many interruptions it has endured.
As usual, many more folk club performances - I am booked in August for a solo set at the Mad Ass on August 28th (see Performances) at one of their regular Singer/Songwriter evenings. I’m also putting together my application to perform at the National Folk Festival in Canberra next Easter. I am still booking ‘special’ acts for the Kookaburra Folk Club and writing the club’s Folk Rag articles, so I’m busy and creative as usual.
May your year continue with much satisfying creativity and success.
Warm good wishes,
Hello and welcome to Anne’s Diary.
Spring has arrived in South-East Queensland with its predicted and much needed increase in rainfall. The grass is leaping up in suburban lawns and we have returned to an almost forgotten yet familiar weekend occurrence – the sound of lawnmowers accompanied by the delicious sweet smell of cut grass.
Senior Moments: After our set at the Mad Ass on July 10th Senior Moments lost two of its members. The lovely Rose Broe, who already performs with Pirate Brides, found commitment to two groups, a young family and full-time work just too stressful and our wonderful flautist, Robin Etter-Cleave, presently travelling overseas, is in the same situation, being a member of the Irish music band Silken Thomas and a full-time teacher. So at present Senior Moments consists of Mary Brettell, Mark Davidson and myself.
Neurum Creek Acoustic Music Festival: It looks as if this excellent festival is now definitely fixed as an annual event. This third year saw the beautiful Neurum Creek Bush Reserve campsite fully booked out from the 12th – 14th September for another unofficial long weekend of singing and sessions. Once again Mary Brettell and I stayed at our favourite B&B, Storey Book Cottage, and this, too, was fully booked with friends from the Kookaburra Folk Club. We enjoyed introducing them to this lovely guest house with its herb garden, fascinating knick-knacks and excellent menu.
One of the delights of this fledgling festival is the single concert venue which makes for a relaxed, lazy weekend without the necessity to race from one venue to another grabbing a hasty meal along the way so as not to miss a particular act. Neurum Creek might be small (one marquee, a session shed and a workshop arena); it might be short (from Friday night to Sunday afternoon); but there’s nothing at all undersized about this best of festivals.
The brain child of Angela Kitzelman and Keith Urquhart, this predominantly camping festival proved yet again that Angie and Keith, ably assisted by Don Jarmey, Helena Bond and assorted willing others, have discovered the perfect formulae for creating a weekend experience which is relaxing, entertaining, sociable and just brimming with outstanding performances - the cream of South-East Queensland (and beyond) artists.
This year, as before, the acts were nicely combined in an on-going concert blending performers into a flowing, constantly varied turnaround of soloists, instrumentalists, duos, bands, Morris dancers, humour, sombreness, absurdity (and sometimes just plain insanity) to delight the large and highly appreciative audience which spilled out of the main marquee to sit under the massive ‘party tree’ and the large ‘sail’ at the sides. All performers were of the highest calibre; also outstanding were the volunteer MCs who kept the festival running perfectly to time. I was MC on the Saturday morning and, as always, very much enjoyed introducing a fabulously talented line-up. Sound was again handled by Ryk Rostron and helpers, who worked tirelessly and with infinite good humour throughout.
Workshops and sessions were held for those eager to learn to how play dazzling instrumental guitar, sing and harmonise, write songs or play Aussie tunes. Mary and I hosted a Sunday Gospel Session which was a runaway success with wondrous harmonies soaring out across the grounds, drawing even more folk to the session. I collected 50 gospel songs and printed out 17 booklets with the words for people who wanted to lead songs. We’ve been asked to hold another Gospel Session next year – and I’ve promised to print a lot more song books! The pics below show us having a great time before the start of the official Sunday concert. In case you’re wondering, the US flag was the backdrop for our American visitors, the fabulous Hydrangeas.
A big thank you to Pat Hall for the Gospel Session photos
This year also saw the beginnings of a craft market. I am a spinner and for many years I’ve taken great pleasure in this activity while my mother knits shawls, beanies and bags. I applied to run a wool stall and invited Rian Anderson, an expert knitter, to join me. Another spinner, Dale Jacobsen, joined us with her wheel and we ended up with a stall of quality home-spun and hand-knitted garments and knitting/spinning demonstrations, which encouraged other ‘crafty’ folk to join in a spinning, knitting and embroidery circle.
Free-wheeling Dale Rian, Anne & Dale – a crafty trio! Inside the wool stall Anne spinning a yarn!
Thank you to Mary Brettell for the craft stall photos
The days were fine and warm, the nights crisp, clear and glowing with moonlight; all over the campground people dropped into each other’s tents to jam, socialise and catch up, creating a wonderful ‘buzz’ around the site.
I had a great weekend. Neurum Creek is growing in popularity and it will pay to book early for next year. If you weren’t there, but would like to be part of this outstanding festival, put yourself on the email list for 2009 so you don’t miss this wonderful experience. Go to www.neurumcreekfestival.com or email email@example.com.
Crow Minder: Finally! The first draft is complete and has been put aside for a few weeks so I can tackle it with fresh vision. I am still seeking an agent to represent my work in Australia and overseas.
Whiskey Gully Wines: Some Kookaburra Folk Club members are planning a trip to Stanthorpe, a town on The Granite Belt of South-East Queensland, for a reciprocal visit to the folk club held at the Whiskey Gully Vineyards. In August the Kookaburra Club hosted the Whiskey Gully group Jelly for a ‘special guest’ performance and a number of Whiskey Gully club members joined us making it a memorable night. We’ve promised to go ‘up the range’ to perform at their club. As it is considerably colder in Stanthorpe than in Brisbane, this won’t happen until the weather is hot enough for us to enjoy getting away from the heat. We plan to spend a couple of days exploring this beautiful area which is famous for its orchards and vineyards.
Senior Moments have been booked to appear at Folk Redlands in January. For this and my other performances, click on Performances.
May your life and all your endeavours reflect the new growth of spring, wherever you are in the world.
Warm good wishes,
Welcome to the last Anne’s Diary for the year – and this will also be the final edition of the diary. I’m replacing it with a new page titled Scrap Book which will have its first outing in the New Year.
MySpace: With the invaluable help of my webmaster Mary Brettell, I’ve lately ventured further into cyberspace with a page on MySpace. You can hear songs, see photos, meet my friends and link to my web site at http://www.myspace.com/anneinfante.
Broadband: I’ve also finally made the switch from Dial-Up to Broadband to speed up my access to the Internet and my email address has subsequently changed to firstname.lastname@example.org. The old address will still be accessible until 2010 to allow people who have it on my CDs to contact me.
Disaster Area: No, it’s not a new folk group. You’ve probably seen that parts of South-East Queensland were recently hit with destructive storms and cyclonic winds. I live at The Gap, which bore the brunt of a hurricane-like storm on November 16 and was the first suburb to be designated as a disaster area. Luckily my home is in a fairly sheltered area and, apart from some branches snapping off and our long easement/driveway being scoured out by torrents of water, we had no major damage. Many parts of The Gap are still in a sorry state with debris still waiting to be cleared and many wonderful, massive old eucalypts and other trees uprooted or snapped in half, or twisted off and hurled about. It was interesting as well as disturbing to be living in a disaster zone; the event was likened to Cyclone Larry which devastated Innisfail in March 2006 and as well as the Army and the Brisbane City Council workers, we had a flood of willing volunteers from North Queensland, the Sunshine Coast and Northern New South Wales who laboured tirelessly day and night for over two weeks to clear the wreckage, repair homes and counsel those traumatised by the damage they suffered.
With the continuing rain and warm weather, it’s heartening how many of the trees which were lopped right back after the disaster are already putting out new shoots but many on the hillsides and in the surrounding bush reserves lie where they fell, uprooted and broken. It’s heartbreaking to see the damage to our beautiful green bush corridors. The wildlife, although not mentioned in any of the news bulletins, also suffered losses and people reported finding dead possums, flying foxes and many beautiful birds that had perished in the storm.
Whiskey Gully Wines: On November 27, six of the Kookaburra Folk Club members drove up to Stanthorpe on The Granite Belt of South-East Queensland, for our promised visit to the folk club at Whiskey Gully Wines. We had our eyes on the weather, as we’re still experiencing quite violent electrical storms and drenching rain, but luckily, although it was raining in Brisbane when we left early on Thursday morning, we eventually outran it and had excellent weather for our visit. A number of Brisbane folkies have moved into the country and it was a great pleasure to catch up with old friends and share an evening with them once again. The Whiskey Gully Winery restaurant/folk club is in a lovely old Queenslander. Built in the late 1880s it has cedar fittings, wonderful open fireplaces and a mellow, welcoming atmosphere. We thoroughly enjoyed performing there and are planning another visit in a few months.
John Arlidge, mine host at Whiskey Gully Wines Anne Infante, Mary Brettell and resident group Jelly at Whiskey Gully Wines
Senior Moments: I’m delighted to report that Senior Moments haven’t completely lost our brilliant flautist, Robin Etter-Cleave – she will be with us for our performance at Folk Redlands in February. For details as they come to hand click Performances.
Last Kookaburra Night for 2008: After performing at the final night at ABOFOTS (Maleny) on Saturday December 6 and the Folk Redlands 2008 breakup and Christmas party next day, Sunday December 7, we closed the folk year with the Kookaburra Folk Club’s last night for 2008 on Wednesday December 17. The evening was packed with performers and audience members exchanging gifts, cards and Christmas wishes and, as in 2007, John Lewis’s alter ego Pirate Santa arrived in his pirate suit, sang a set of pirate carols, and handed out Christmas cake.
Pirate Santa’s Coming to Town
Julie, Juliette & Anne
- Happy Christmas!
The Kookaburra Folk Club reopens on January 7 with two special guest spots – one of whom is Jelly from Whiskey Gully Wines who will be giving their last performance for at least a year as Emily is bound for France for 12 months to study at the Sorbonne. All our good wishes go with you, Emily.
However you commemorate Christmas/Solstice/New Year, may you enjoy every moment and celebrate safely with your family and friends and I wish you happiness and good fortune in the coming year.
Warm good wishes,