Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Road Goes Ever On - Our Latest News

And now for all the news from Cloudstreet!

1. News Flash - Brisbane 
World Music Singing Workshop this weekend.
For anyone who hasn't heard yet, Nicole has organised an opportunity to sing all weekend with the inspiring Beat Lehmann, who has directed Woodford Folk Festival's 200-voice Fire Choir for the past three years. Beat collects gorgeous music from many cultures in his travels round the world, and he's teaching this fabulously uplifting material this weekend in Bardon. Here's the flyer...

2. Neurum Creek Acoustic Music Festival
One of the best little festivals we've ever been to, The Neurum Creek Music Festival combines a relaxed camping experience with one small marquee stage showing high-quality, diverse acoustic music. We were in the company of greats with the Barleyshakes (who rocked the house, mad, bad and almost totally trad), the Jar, a nine-year reunion of the PoachersInnes Campbell and Present CompanyEmma Nixon and Tony Vandermeer, The Hydrangeas, Martin Pearson  Sunas, and a surprise visit from Kristina Olsen! There was non-stop terrific music all day and evening, and then quiet sleeping time. Brilliant festival. Nearly froze at night, but the sessions round the campfires were a highlight. And we made a film clip at the festival, which we will announce proudly to all and sundry as soon as its ready.

3. And before that there was NEW ZEALAND!
In August we toured around New Zealand for two and a half weeks, meeting delightful audiences and enjoying a series of beautiful gigs in amongst driving through the spectacular countryside. There was a record cold temperature while we were there and we got to play in the snow. It wasn't in the plan, so now we own a lot more winter clothing.

New Zealand has an active folk scene (just like its got an active volcano), and we found lots of opportunities to session with lovely players, in Waikato, in Whangarei (which is pronounced Fong-ah-ray, just in case you'd like to know), in Nelson, and on the interislander ferry, where we played tunes for our passage.

The scenes of devastated buildings in Christchurch will never leave us – as we drove into the city, we saw churches with the back wall completely fallen away, a steeple sitting in the garden, and rubble everywhere. While we were in Christchurch we experienced an earthquake that reached 4.3 on the Richter scale, and this is an almost daily occurrence still for the people of Christchurch, though it no longer makes the international news. People have endured the snowy winter in temporary accommodation and under canvas. The city has changed forever.

Snow-capped mountain peaks were a feature of the whole tour (and we never stopped saying wow!) and we finished the tour with a house concert in an old school house in Taranaki, within sight of the spectacular snowy point of the volcano.

4. The week before that we were in the desert.
Cloudstreet played at the opening of the Red Earth Arts Festival in Roxby Downs, which is real desert country, full of Sturt's desert peas, uranium and opals. The town is only 26 years old and is there to service the mine, and its full of lively people who know they are there for a limited time and throw themselves into community activities. We did a crazy, chatty interview on Rox FM, saw an art exhibition, played our concert, met a jeweller and was treated to seeing her studio, and went to the nearby shanty town of Andamooka, where opals have been mined since the 1930s, and where people used to go if they wanted to disappear.

5. And before that?
Since we last chatted, we've also played in Braidwood, Canberra, Sydney and Townsville.

6. So what's next?
• Tea and Music: Between the Jigs and Reels. A concert at the State Library of Qld with Emma Nixon and Tony Vandermeer and Cloudstreet, Tuesday 27 September, 10.30am, bookings through qtix 136 246  SOLD OUT!

We've a bit of time at home over the next few weeks, before John is off again with Musica Viva in Schools, and Nicole makes another trip to New Zealand for more tunes.  Great to be home as the weather warms up.

And we're starting work on a new album!

7. Celtic Southern Cross in January

January will see us in Central Victoria to teach the Traditional Singing class at the Celtic Southern Cross Summer School (January 15-20, 2011)    This a great week of music in a delightful setting.  Treat yourself to the week of singing that you've been aching for.

This year the Singing class will involve Traditional Singing as well as a new Advanced development workshop, with each focusing on different vocal challenges.
Traditional Singing

This class will follow on from our workshop approach of the past three years, with new repertoire and exercises.
• physical and vocal warm-ups
• learn traditional songs and harmony parts
• vocal techniques
• chorus songs 
• listening to celtic traditional singers
• improvising
• the singing session
Advanced Singing - Development Workshop
A new workshop for more experienced singers, looking for a more detailed technical challenge.
• share warm-up and repertoire activities with intermediate group in the morning
• participants are requested to bring a piece of traditional repertoire to develop into a performance piece with other class members in two, three or four part harmony
• focus on tone production, dynamics, performance skills, pitch matching, phrasing, expression.

For more details and bookings, visit Music Under the Southern Cross.

8. It's Blogalossal!
John's blog, An Australian Folk Song a Day ( is going from strength to strength, passing the 30 000 visit mark a couple of weeks ago.  (He's busy catching up today after 3 days of voice-loss).  Visit the blog, marvel at the music, ooh and aah at the extensive lyric library which is now available to both all and sundry.

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May the music keep coming.

See you soon down the road,
Nicole and John

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