We have asked 15 of our favourite & most treasured Melbourne singers to pick a song by their favourite Jewish composer that might have moved them, excited them, had personal meaning for them & perform them for you. Jewish composers have been pivotal in Twentieth Century popular music. Come & hear our finest interpreters have their say. Backed by the Band of Bands led by Melbourne bass legend Jonathan Zion this is an event not to be missed.
Archie Roach is a beloved and admired Australian artist whose iconic song, ‘Took the Children Away’, was added to the National Film and Sound Archive’s Sounds of Australia collection in 2013. As a member of the stolen generations, he has also become a powerful voice for indigenous Australians and is one of this country’s greatest storytellers.
Archie’s career has spanned three decades. His work has been recognised locally and internationally, in mainstream and indigenous circles. He has shared the stage with some of the world’s most iconic artists, including Leonard Cohen, Rodriguez, Bob Dylan, Tracy Chapman, Billy Bragg, Paul Simon, Joan Armatrading, Suzanne Vega and Patti Smith. He has released 10 albums and in recent months – a box set, ‘Creation’, a retrospective of his first four albums.
His music speaks the stories of his people, of this land and of the human condition. His voice – uniquely Australian and undeniably universal – continues to resonate for us all.
Archie has faced his fair share of difficulties over recent years. The tragic loss of his longtime partner, collaborator and soul mate Ruby Hunter in early 2010. He then suffered a serious stroke in late 2010 followed by lung cancer surgery in 2012. Despite these challenges Archie continues to draw strength and healing from his music and is performing better than ever.
She’s been Australia’s high priestess of pop, an award winning jazz singer, wears the hat of a fine artistic director and, above all that; Kate Ceberano is a songwriter with the talent to take a tune to the top of the charts. A woman widely respected across various mediums, Kate as a singer has gathered numerous awards: as well as occasionally lighting up our big and small screens (Dancing with the Stars, Who Do You Think You Are? and Getaway), she is also well known for her charity work. She had an award winning performance on stage in South Pacific and she penned her acclaimed autobiography I’m Talking. She counts motherhood to daughter Gypsy as her biggest achievement yet.
Shane Howard is a prolific Australian songwriter, admired and respected for his integrity and commitment to music. For more than 30 years his songs have continued to champion the cause of the common man, the environment and the injustices endured by Australia’s Aboriginal people.
After 30 years of singing, writing and journeying the globe, from campfires to concert halls, he has consolidated his voice to become an important addition to the evolving folklore of modern song. Howard has refined his art with 13 solo albums, 3 Goanna albums, two books and a stable of great production credits, that have established him as a significant contributor to Australian folklore. www.shanehoward.com.au
Kate Miller-Heidke is an award-winning singer-songwriter who lives between the worlds of contemporary pop, folk and opera.
She has released 4 albums in Australia, achieving multi-platinum status and appearing in the top 10 album and singles charts numerous times. Her latest album O Vertigo! debuted at number 4 on the Australian album charts, broke Australian crowdfunding records and was nominated for an ARIA award. Her previous albums include Nightflight, which reached number 2 on the ARIA chart, and Curiouser, which reached double platinum sales in Australia and spawned the multi-platinum hits ‘Last Day On Earth’ and ‘Caught In The Crowd’. In 2009 she became the first Australian to win the grand prize in the International Songwriting Competition for ‘Caught in the Crowd’.
Trained as a classical singer at the Queensland Conservatorium, Kate recently appeared at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in John Adams’ The Death of Klinghoffer. She has performed several roles for the English National Opera, and in Jerry Springer The Opera at the Sydney Opera House. Her debut opera as a composer, The Rabbits (based on the book by Shaun Tan and John Marsden), was commissioned by Opera Australia and premiered at the Perth Festival in February 2015. It won 4 Helpmann Awards including Best Score and Best New Australian Work.
TAL BEN ARI
In the last decade Tula has built an extensive international musical career with influences that range through jazz, pop, Mediterranean, Cuban and Spanish styles and a gift for language that has her singing in Spanish, Hebrew, English, French, Portuguese and Yemenite.
Born and raised in Tel Aviv, Tula moved to Barcelona in her early 20’s where she spent a decade integrating herself into the local and international scene: singing with numbers of ensembles including Cuban a capella quartet “Gema 4”, “Asikides” a traditional Mediterranean group, the Electro a capella project “Ma Ex Maqina” created by Max Moya from renowned Spanish outfit “Ojos de Brujo” and her duo project “SkyLand” with Cuban singer Mel Seme.
Since 2006, Tula has been participating in “Playing for Change” a project with whom she has recorded and toured worldwide, lending her voice to fight for peace and unity through music. Her never ending curiosity and passion for different cultures and languages are her signature both in music and in life.
In 2015 she has returned to Tel Aviv where she is currently working on her 2nd solo album.
Australian tenor and composer David Hobson is one of Australia’s best known operatic and recording artists.
His unique talents have enabled him to sing for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, win Dancing with the Stars and play such diverse roles as Rodolfo in La Boheme to Caractacus Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
He is a major recording artist, with many albums reaching No 1 chart status.
David has won awards including Operatic Performer of the Year, the Sydney Critics Circle Award, The Age Performing Arts Award for Best Performer in Opera and an Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA) Award.
Deborah Conway has been a significant and eloquent contributor to Australian music for over 30 years. Her first band Do Re Mi topped the charts; her first solo album achieved platinum sales while simultaneously becoming the most shoplifted album of that year. Conway continues to release albums that attract critical acclaim from reviewers and appreciative audiences, most recently Stories of Ghosts, described as10 dialogues around themes from the Torah from an atheist Jewish perspective. Conway has pursued a career of extra curricular activities alongside the core business of writing, recording and performing her songs. These have included producing the national concert series called Broad of all female singer/songwriters 2005 – 2008, Artistic Director for the Queensland Music Festival 2009 – 2011 and currently Festival Director for The Shir Madness Melbourne Jewish Music Festival.
Hue Blanes is a force of nature and a master of his craft. Paving his reputation as a musician who is comfortable in any style. A staggeringly original voice in Australian music with extraordinary hands on the piano, he is perhaps becoming most recognized for his unique songwriting and lone sound.
Ron S. Peno got his start in Sydney & Brisbane in the late 70’s before eventually co-founding & fronting much loved icons Died Pretty, from 1983 – 2002. During that time, Died Pretty recorded 8 studio albums including the critically acclaimed “Doughboy Hollow”.They reformed to perform at the All Tomorrow’s Parties curated series, “Don’t Look Back” in 2008 which spiralled into a national tour for the Big Day Out in 2009. They would later reform again in 2012 to perform as part of the Dig It Up! series of concerts around Australia, organised to celebrate 30 years of recorded music by fellow Australian band Hoodoo Gurus. After Died Pretty, Peno formed The Darling Downs with Kim Salmon in which he still performs as well as his own solo outfit Ron S. Peno & the Superstitions.
Rebecca is a musician who covers many genres but is best known for her band Rebecca’s Empire in the late 90’s . She has released 2 solo albums since then of original material and recorded jazz albums with her uncle Bob Barnard . She runs songwriting workshops and a monthly Singalong to a huge audience . They say its cheaper than therapy.
Tim Rogers has been songwriter and prancing satyr for rock/lounge act You Am I for nigh on twenty years, his songs paying homage to the noblest and most foolish of pursuits, his anatomy a testament to its calamities. Feeling his youthful doe-eyed appeal diminishing, he has, in tandem, performed with a number of other combos, both on record and in performance. Of late his cabaret show “Saligia” has received the kind of acclaim usually reserved for resuscitations and wedding night surprises. He has been employed by Malthouse Theatre to portray an exaggerated version of himself for their 2009 production of Woyzeck and again in 2011 for The Story Of Mary MacLane by Herself, which he co-wrote. In 2015 the MTC staged a new dramatic work based on Tim’s album What Rhymes With Cars And Girls written by Aidan Fennessy. Tim has also written for the likes of The Age newspaper and The Monthly magazine, proving that his way with words translates well. He has appeared on TV in the ABC series “Time Of Our Lives” and on film with roles in “Tracks”, “The Boy Castaways” and short film “Seven West”. With feature film and TV performances, a truckload of awards and acclaim, we are hoping one day soon an appreciation of cutlery will grace him.
Comparisons to Diana Ross and Sharon Jones are bang-on. “… a widescreen spectacle… an invocation of classic 1960s and early-70s soul sounds…” says BBC Music.
Australian soul sensation and leading lady of ’The Bamboos’, Kylie Auldist is a remarkable voice in the global funk and soul scene which has drawn comparisons to Diana Ross and Sharon Jones, her energy on stage is absolutely electric with a huge dose of funk and boogie and she never fails to provide an absolute dance experience enjoyed by crowds all over the world.
Her 2013 album ‘Still Life’ won ‘Best Soul , R & B and Gospel Album’ at The Age Music Victoria Awards. Kylie is preparing to release her new single in November but in the meantime she looks forward to taking part in Shir Madness.
Emily Lubitz began writing and singing her own songs when she left school after having her heart broken for the first time. Soon after she and others recognised the unique and angelic quality in her performance and voice, together with her guitarist brother Jesse, she formed Tinpan Orange (also performing as part of Shir Madness). For the last ten years, the siblings have travelled Australia and the world wowing crowds on the streets of Darwin, at international folk festivals and on tour with the likes of Martha Wainwright and The Cat Empire. In 2012 Emily sang Dumb Ways to Die, which became a viral sensation and she has now had more than 100 million people hear her voice. In 2013 Emily developed a side project with friend and collaborator, Mama Kin, called We Two Thieves, releasing their debut album At Midnight We Ride in October 2014. She has spent most of this year locked away in her lounge room and studio writing and recording Tinpan Orange’s fifth album slated for release in early 2016
Kutcha is a multi-talented Mutti Mutti / Yorta Yorta / Boonwurrung / Wotjobaluk / Dja Dja Wurrung man from Balranald, New South Wales. During the course of his remarkable life, Kutcha’s music and community work have seen him awarded the NAIDOC National Indigenous Person of the Year, a Deadly Male Artist of the Year and as part of his role as co-host on the ‘Beyond the Bars’ radio program – the only live-to-air prison radio shows in the country – he accepted the Human Rights Award on behalf of all his people within the prison system. Kutcha’s music echoes themes of hope, resilience, redemption and joy. A leading voice of the Stolen Generations, Kutcha explains, “music is not what I do; it is who I am”.
For 25 years the glorious voices of Vika and Linda Bull have comprised one of the most distinctive versatile and emotionally charged sounds on the Australian music landscape.Since their multi-platinum conquest of pop radio with the Black Sorrows in the late 1980’s, the sisters have forged diverse pathways into soul, gospel, blues, country and the island music of their Tongan ancestry. Born of a Tongan mother and an Australian father, Linda has been singing with her sister Vika for as long as she can remember. Their rich solo vocals and instinctive harmonies have spawned eight albums of their own as well as illuminating studio and concert performances by Paul Kelly, Renee Geyer, John Farnham, Kasey Chambers, Tim Finn and many more. In 2005 Linda opened a quirky childrens’ store in the heart of North Fitzroy.