2017 Festival Performers and Guests
Chris Duncan & Catherine Strutt
Chris Duncan and Catherine Strutt are synonymous with the highest of quality Scottish fiddle music in Australia. Their performances have left audiences enthralled internationally in the U.S.A., Canada, New Zealand and Japan and nationally with performances for concerts, dances, workshops, weddings, parties and Australian folk festivals. In recent years, they have established a reputation as the leading ceilidh "band" in Australia, playing countless ceilidhs for weddings and birthday parties.
Artist website: www.chrisandcatherine.com.au
Chris Duncan and Catherine Strutt on Facebook
Scottish born soprano Vivien Hamilton is one of Australia's most versatile singers. She studied piano, bassoon, violin, singing, dancing, gymnastics from a young age and knew she wanted to be a professional singer from the age of 7 years. Vivien played percussion with the Edinburgh Youth Orchestra and for the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra whilst undertaking her Bachelor of Music (with honours) degree at the University of Western Australia.
Vivien is currently Director of the Early Voices Ensemble, at the Early Music Studio, The Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, The University of Melbourne and regularly gives masterclasses throughout Australia.
Artist website: www.vivienhamilton.com
Emerging out of the lively traditional music scene of Melbourne, Tolka encapsulates a sense of what it means to be playing traditional music today.
Artist website: www.tolka-music.com
Tolka on Facebook
Melbourne Scottish Fiddle Club
The Melbourne Scottish Fiddle Club is a group of fiddle fans who meet monthly to play tunes - old and new - from Scotland and the Scottish diaspora. The club has been in existence since 1995 and is widely regarded as one of the strongest and most entertaining groups around the folk scene.
This year we are pleased to welcome back the Melbourne Scottish Fiddle Club to the Robert Burns Scottish Festival.
Artist website: www.melbournescottishfiddlers.com
Melbourne Scottish Fiddle Club on Facebook
An exciting yet relaxing mix of Celtic arrangements, original tunes and songs, treated with a reverent splash of other world elements. They have show cased their recently released, self titled CD to audiences at major festivals and concerts, including the National Celtic Festival, Portarlington, Port Fairy Folk Festival, Beechworth Celtic Festival, Australian Celtic Festival Glen Innes, the Robert Burns Festival Camperdown, and numerous western district concerts. Likely Celts are excited for 2017 and their 'funky blend' of existing and new material. Come and enjoy a performance or two with them, they'll be pleased to meet you.
Duck Duck Goose
Melbourne-based duo Duck Duck Goose blends the haunting timbres of oboe and Scottish smallpipes, evoking an earthy and rustic sound world that is startlingly unique. At home amongst the reeds, Sarah Wade (pipes, concertina) and Jessica Foot (oboe, fiddle) explore moods and modes of northern Europe - melodies gathered from Northumberland, Scotland, Brittany and Scandinavia - through which they weave a distinctive fabric of their own.
Platform 9 3/4
Platform 9¾ was formed to promote Welsh music in Celtic Folk Festivals in Australia. Their music has a Welsh influence but the repertoire melds the musical sounds of the three major Celtic influences and is characterised by their harmonies and unique music arrangements..
The Victorian trio - Colin Edwards (vocals and keyboards), Sarah Lynn (vocals) and Stephen Lynn (vocals) - released their debut CD, ‘Celtic But Mainly Welsh’ and received for Best Traditional Celtic Song at in Glen Innes in 2015 (Australian Celtic Music Awards). In 2016 Sarah was awarded Best Celtic Female Artist, also at Glen Innes.
The McKinnon Sisters
The McKinnon sisters have grown up singing as a family, being immersed in traditional celtic music and the joy of shared music. Father John was a well known folk musician and Mother Brigid a singer of the district. They will present a repetoir of traditional and original songs accompanied by Joseph Ewing. Marie, Kathryne, Bernadette, Stephanie and Fiona look forward to representing the clan and singing their music to you.
Howlin' Wind is an international flute player and composer, and Australia's most innovative and expressive exponent of
Howlin's music combines sophisticated classical traditions with earthy folk roots and an implicit understanding of Australia's indigenous song lines. During 1998, Howlin' toured the USA, England and France. During November 2003 Howlin' followed a childhood dream and recorded his flute at the Taj Mahal, India.
Piper Jason Craig
Jason hails from Canberra and joins RBSF with a wealth of highland piping experience. Upon winning a scholarship as a teen, Jason left for Scotland and spent nine years playing and learning from the best, competing both in solos and with bands at the highest level.
Jason has been invited this year to play at the Festival Interceltique in Brittany France. We are very pleased to have Jason judging and playing for us this year at RBSF.
Fiona Ross & Michelle Burton
Fiona Ross is respected in her native Scotland as a fine interpreter of Scots song and esteemed tradition bearer. Michelle Burton is an outstanding harp player, twice winner of the prestigious ‘Paddy O’Neill Award’. Fiona’s honest, emotive vocals and Michelle’s strong, sensitive harp playing form a truly magical blend. Together they deliver stunning interpretations of traditional and contemporary Scots songs - from come-all-ye’s to tender love songs; rousing choruses to the “muckle sangs” - the ancient story ballads. Bringing warmth and vibrance to their performance, Fiona and Michelle capture the richness and diversity of the Scots song tradition.
Artist website: fionaross.com.au
Adelaide based singer/harpist Siobhan was born in Wales in the small town to a Welsh father and Irish mother. A classically trained singer from the age of nine, Siobhan took up harp in 2008 after being invited by French singer/harpist Cecile Corbel (who she met on MySpace) to sing at her Adelaide Fringe Festival show. Siobhan was so inspired by Cecile’s accompaniment of her singing, that she decided she needed to learn this instrument herself! In 2010 Siobhan presented her own Adelaide Fringe Festival show "Celestial Echoes" to great acclaim.
Siobhan is a multi-award winning performer and has produced four indie albums. The latest, "Storybook Journey", receives airplay on radio stations worldwide, and has so far received the following awards:
Scots singer and guitarist John McAuslan has been involved with the Victorian and Australian folk scene for more than 40 years. From late 1970s, first as a solo singer then as a band member with Celtic bands Poteen, Polkaholics and Rebels Without A Clue. In 1989 he released a solo LP The Immigrant with Brunswick Recordings, then two subsequent recordings with Poteen. He went on to direct the Brunswick Music Festival for nearly 20 years and established an international touring agency. In recent years he has once more picked up on performing a repertoire of fondly remembered old Scottish songs (mostly).
Don Grieve & Angela Preiss
Don's definitive Scottish brogue, rich vocal performance and rhythmic folk guitar combines like chilli and chocolate…haggis & whiskey!
His lifelong appreciation of Burns life and works is showcased with accompaniment by Angela on flute and vocal harmonies.
Their set features some original arrangements of Burns poetry and songs the likes of; My Love Is Like A Red Red Rose, Parnassus Hill, Johnny Cope, Ye Banks & Braes & Green Grow The Rushes O'.
They might trip over My Love is But A Lassie Yet, Bonnie Wee Thing, The Devil's Awa and more. If we get onto Scottish standards then Donald Where's Yer Trousers (he'll leave the kilt behind) is always somewhere lurking close by… you never know.
As a small boy Don discovered his Scottish history through its songs and stories, taught by his father and co… with the work of Robert Burns being an essential part of the aural tradition that they shared. Don has performed those songs and been adding to that collection ever since.
If you've a tartan heart… "May your pulse beat as your heart would wish!"
The Drowsy Maggies
Award winners of the 2016 Gill Rees Memorial Award at The National Folk Festival, The Drowsy Maggies are a four-piece all female folk band who are not to be missed. Releasing their self-titled debut album in December 2016, these girls are one of the finest and most versatile new acts on the Australian folk scene. Playing their original harmony-filled songs and fiery fiddle tunes, The Drowsy Maggies will have you dancing one moment and your heart melting the next.
Satch played around folk clubs and pubs in Scotland in the 70s and 80s. He was part of a team running Crieff Folk Club in Perthshire in the 70s and also ran the folk part of a couple of allnighters at the University of Stirling where there were many impromptu and wild sessions in the Halls of Residence. In 1976 Satch went to Shetland where he ran a regular session at the Queens Hotel. He played with the great Peerie Willie Johnson, the Jango style guitarist who gave Shetland music a recognisable jazz style rhythm behind the fiddlers. Satch completed a CD in April 2016 and enjoyed official gigs as well as sessions.
Warrnambool Pipes & Drums (WADPADI)
Formed in 1907, Warrnambool And District Pipes And Drums Inc. (WADPADI) has the record as one of the longest, continually functioning pipe bands. It is well known for it’s progressive teaching methods, and healthy numbers of young players. Under the leadership of Donald Blair and Peter Moir, the band continues to compete with success around Victoria, interstate and beyond, in addition to numerous community performances around the district.
Camperdown-based community music group Tuniversal performs songs and music from the Celtic tradition.
Piper Donald Blair
Donald teaches bagpipes to anyone who would like to learn and has done so, freely, for the last 45 years. Many of his pupils have furthered their piping, playing with grade one bands at the highest level- at “The Worlds”, and to teaching. He has always imparted great musicality to his players, and is able to challenge his pupils to keep striving for the best.
Donald grew around Terang and Mount Gambier. His father, Scottish immigrant James Blair, taught him pipes, and in the early days he played with Terang Pipe Band, where his father was Pipe Major.
After moving to Panmure to farm, he played with the Warrnambool Men’s Pipe band, which became Warrnambool And District Pipes and Drums, where he has been Pipe Major since 1980.
The Solo Competition at Robert Burns Festival is a fixture in the Victorian Pipers Association calendar, honouring links to piping in the district, as one of the founding members and current President is Donald’s son, Murray.