The following performers participated in the 2015 Shearwater Festival.
Please click here to view performers at the current festival.
Creative Artists and Cultural Advisors
In alphabetical order
Baarny Bubup Dancers
Steve Parker and Sonia Weston are leading a group of Indigenous dancers and school children in a Creation Dance choreographed by Lowell Hunter for the Opening of the Shearwater Festival. The Baarny Bubup Dancers interweave the creation story of Bunjil the Eagle and the story of the shearwaters with Bunjil giving the shearwaters safe passage on to the land.
Karen has a B. Music Performance and Grad. Dip. Animateuring from V.C.A. and in 2013 she was awarded Victoria University College of Arts 'Most outstanding postgraduate by research student' for her M.A. in Performance Studies entitled, Performing Belonging: Meetings On and In the Earth. Karen has taught theatre at the University of Ghana, James Cook University and currently teaches at Melbourne Polytechnic and has worked as director and music director for many productions in Australia and overseas.
Dr Laura Brearley
Dr Laura Brearley is a singer, song-writer and creative research specialist who has established cohorts of post-graduate Indigenous students at RMIT University, Monash University and Federation University. She undertook her PhD in the Faculty of Business at RMIT and was an Associate Professor in Education at Monash University. Laura now works with a broader cohort of Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists, musicians and researchers and is the co-founder and co-director of the Shearwater Project with environmental educator Graeme Burgan, which includes the Shearwater Festival, the Shearwater Education Program and the International Cross-cultural Exchange. Laura has published and presented extensively in Australia and internationally in the areas of culturally inclusive practice, organisational development and creative research.
Aunty Carolyn Briggs
Aunty Carolyn Briggs is a Boonwurrung elder from Victoria who is a keeper of the history and genealogies of her people. Aunty Carolyn is a language and linguistics expert and is dedicated to recording her Boonwurrung language in oral and written form. She has been active in community development, Native Title, cultural preservation and cultural promotion. Aunty Carolyn established Australia’s first Aboriginal childcare centre and is CEO of the Boonwurrung Foundation, which she set up to help connect Aboriginal youth to their heritage
Robbie Bundle is a singer-songwriter and musician who has been writing and performing music for more than 35 years. He has performed with artists such as David Gulpilil, Kutcha Edwards, Dave Arden, Bart Willoughby, Archie Roach and many others. Also a filmmaker, MC and a musical historian of the Songlines, Robbie’s latest album, Universal Ark, is out now.
Graeme has had a strong connection with the land and wildlife on Phillip Island and has an intimate knowledge of the natural history and cultural heritage of the area. He is passionate about maintaining cultural links to the land and community. He has been researching the short-tailed shearwaters for 25 years and leads the way in the protection of the shearwaters. Graeme is the co-founder and co-director of the Shearwater Project with Dr Laura Brearley, which includes the Shearwater Festival, the Shearwater Education Program and the International Cross-cultural Exchange.
Brian is the Program Director for The Banff Centre’s Indigenous Leadership and Management program area, which designs and delivers leadership development and organizational development programs and applied research for Indigenous leaders. Brian is Cree and a member of the Sucker Creek First Nation in the Treaty 8 area of northern Alberta. Brian has received a Blackfoot name, Apahto’kii which means Pine, as in pine tree, and was made an honorary Chief for his community work. Brian holds a B.A in Political Science, an LLB and an LLM from the University of Alberta. His research interests include Indigenous leadership, self-government, economic development, and treaty rights.
Jane Coker has a lifetime of experience of getting people of all abilities to make music together. In the early 1980's she first experienced Frankie Armstrong's approach to freeing up the natural voice and aural learning and has been leading singing sessions, voice workshops, choirs and music-making workshops along these lines ever since, becoming a relentless initiator of community singing and instrumental projects aimed at enabling people with little or no experience and of all abilities to sing and play together. As well as being an experienced vocalist, Jane plays saxophones, clarinet, mandolin, guitar and ukulele. Originally from the UK she has lived in Australia since 1999.
Dr Leonie Daws
Leonie currently coordinates activities of the Mallacoota Community Choir in conjunction with choir leader Padma Newsome. This involves both arranging and communicating details of rehearsals and events locally, and facilitating the participation of Mallacoota singers in other choral events including the East Gippsland Choral Festival and the Boite Millennium Chorus. Leonie is a photographer and has a background in ornithology, regularly participating as a volunteer in ornithological research and conservation projects.
Aurelio is an Ojibway singer, dancer and story-teller who is dedicated to passing on the richness of his culture and to facilitating cultural exchange through the arts. He has been performing internationally and in Australia for over 30 years.
Djirri Djirri Dance Group
The Djirri Djirri Dance Group, is named after the Woi wurrung (Wurundjeri) the name for Willy Wagtail. The Djirri Djirri group as it is a little black bird who is well known to dance all thetime.The Dance Group offers dance that is a contemporary interpretation of Aboriginal culture with the essence of traditional dance/ceremony. All of the dances have a story about creation, family and Country. Children are encouraged to take on a leadership role through the use of language and knowledge exchange in dance creation.
Kutcha was born on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River at Balranald, New South Wales, of the Mutti Mutti people and is among the many of the Stolen Generations. Through his music, he tells people about himself and shares his unique journey, one that is also the journey of all Australians. What Kutcha shares with people is a connection, a belonging. His music and stories are the songs of his journey, his people's journey, and these are his gift to connect with and inspire others.
Bryce is an award-winning sound artist who creates sound environments, 'cultural sound' and integrated media and expression that challenge our relationship with the world around us. He contributes to documentaries, exhibitions, installations and 'experiential environments' and has collaborated on a number of installations and exhibitions combining art, vision, sound, light and interactive media.
Eva Grunden grew up in a musical family. Eva has performed on stage, acting and singing all her life—singing professionally since she was 17. Eva’s playing and passion for a variety of percussion styles and music from other cultures led her to travel to Ghana in West Africa in 2000 to learn traditional drumming, singing and dance. Eva’s singing has also been inspired by her work with Valanga Khoza. This led her to teach community choir style singing in Melbourne, and then all over Gippsland. Eva has a unique ability to bring people from different walks of life together through nurturing, inclusive and musically rich workshops.
Mark is a multi-talented musician, percussionist and educator who has the capacity to bring crowds alive with his drumming. He is well known for leading participative drumming events which weave together different rhythms, percussion instruments and chants. Mark has been involved in the Shearwater Festival since its inception led a sound sculpture with local school children in an improvised sound sculpture of shearwater rookeries.
Mick is a Taungwurrung Kulin (Aboriginal man from his traditional country). Mick’s artwork demonstrates how Aboriginal art in Victoria is unique in its symbolism. His art links with stories and songlines like fingers reaching out to other areas of Australia. Mick combines his art-making with work in the community and is actively involved in the Australian Heritage Council (AHC) and Native Title Services Victoria (NTSV).
Jeannie is a freelance writer, producer, performer with a background in education and puppetry with over 20 professional and community works produced since 1999, Jeannie’s performance works are diverse. The most recent, “Wild Dogs” premiered at West Gippsland Arts Centre (2013) and “Dear Warragul” (2015) was part of the Baw Baw Shire commemoration of the Gallipoli Centenary, “Better Is Peace”. Jeannie was also the Artistic Director of “Better Is Peace” a large and powerful community production. In 2010 Jeannie co-founded Off The Leash Theatre inc (2010) and has been president for 4 years (2011-15).
Michael Jordan is a highly regarded musician and educator. He is a professional improviser and has been a professional drum-kit performer for over thirty years. He is known for his imaginative and pioneering work in melodic drumming and is currently completing a PhD on the subject. Michael has been a major part of Australia’s jazz scene for the last 20 years, performing regularly at festivals, on radio and in television and film. He is one of the most sought after musicians in Melbourne’s vibrant jazz community, and has also performed with international musicians.
David has been a professional freelance performer for over 20 years. He has worked as an actor, dancer, musician, circus performer and teacher for some of this country’s most prestigious performing arts companies including Melbourne Theatre Company, Circus Oz and Chamber Made Opera. David has toured extensively both nationally and internationally and performed at many of the world’s foremost arts festivals including Edinburgh, Glastonbury, the South American Theatre Festival (Colombia), Hong Kong Arts Festival and many major festivals in Australia.
Susannah Keebler is a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique, certified yoga instructor and certified personal trainer–Restorative Exercise Specialist, as well as a dancer, choreographer, and dance educator with a BA in dance from Bennington College in Vermont. Susannah lived and worked as a dancer and Alexander Technique teacher for ten years in New York City before moving to Mallacoota, VIC in 2008. Her classes and workshops seek to find creative approaches to health and wellbeing and healthy approaches to dance and creative expression.
Lisa Kennedy is an Australian Aboriginal story-teller and artist and a descendant of Woretemoeteyenner, a Trawlwoolway woman from North East Tasmania in Australia. Lisa is a visual artist, mixed media artist, community arts project facilitator, children’s book author and illustrator. Lisa has published two children’s stories, ‘Wurramatyennaand the Magic Canoe’ and ‘Wurramatyenna and the Call of the Sea.
Kofi Kunkpe is an Ewe master drummer from the Volta Region of Ghana. He has performed and taught with a wide variety of local and international companies including Asanti Dance Theatre (Ghana / Australia), African Footprints International (Ghana) and Wild Moves International (Australia). He has also worked with the Anansi Travel NGO (USA) as their djembe instructor. Kofi has worked as the Performing Arts Group manager of the Freespirit Foundation in Ghana, teaching traditional performing arts to disadvantaged children from the region. Kofi has toured to New York to perform with the Elemina Dance Ensemble (Ghana), performing in a wide variety of venues over two months. Kofi is also a skilled bass player.
Natasha Lambie is a primary educator with a background in TV production (Network TEN promotions), film (The Quiet American) and theatre performance (STC, Opera Australia and Phantom of the Opera). A graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and Monash University she is a passionate advocate of Arts/ICT integration in the general classroom. While her vocal and storytelling abilities draw from the traditions, languages and music of the operatic stage, Natasha has embraced the many cultural elements of the Shearwater Festival to develop in-depth cross-curricular programs with Fay Magee since 2012.
Monica McDonald is a Gunai and Gunditjmara descendent, born and raised in Gippsland, Traralgon. She is 21 years old and is completing a certificate III in Business/Arts at ILBIJERRI Theatre Company. Monica has been involved in the performing arts industry since she was 14 and has an immense passion for theatre, music and visual arts. Recently being awarded Miss NAIDOC 2015, Monica is passionate about bridging the gap and wants to help to create bridging courses and pathway opportunities for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and emerging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts workers/artists.
Amanda McMahon is a teacher at Wonthaggi North Primary School who has worked with students and Aunty Fay Stewart Muir from Victorian Aboriginal Community Languages Association (VACL) throughout 2015 to translate poetry which describes the uniqueness of the South Gippsland coast. Acclaimed artist, Kutcha Edwards has worked with Amanda and the twenty students to create a school anthem and celebration song in Boon Wurrung. The sharing of this amazing journey will be performed at the Shearwater Festival.
Patrice Muthaymiles Mahoney
Patrice Muthaymiles Mahoney is a Kamilaroi, Anewan and Dunghatti artist and is a printmaker, sculptor, weaver, drawer and painter. She works in hebel, clay, kelp, reed, wire, raffia, oils, acrylic and ink. Patrice expresses herself through motifs and symbols and is deeply inspired by connection to place. Patrice has a Bachelor in Art and Design and is currently completing a Master of Fine Art at Federation University in Gippsland. Art is a central part of her life. Her hope is that her art educates, sparks conversations and expresses the fullness of what it means to be alive. Patrice has played a significant role in the Shearwater Festival every year.
Camille Monet is a community development artist who specialises in visual art and decorative earthenware ceramics using underglazes and ceramic sculptures fired using the raku technique. She played an active role in Shearwater Festival 2014 to develop bamboo sculptures for the Shearwater Street Parade. Camille graduated with honours in fine arts from Griffith University in Queensland, going on to major in ceramics at RMIT in Victoria where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1997. After working as a pottery teacher, where she taught students from age 3 to 80, and directing an annual Children’s Art Carnival, she began devoting full time to her art. She has exhibited in Melbourne, Queensland and on Phillip Island.
Rachel Mounsey is a multimedia photographer and performance artist based in Mallacoota. Rachel’s photographic work explores the journey of the human spirit. Rachel explores her subjects using a wide range of alternative photographic techniques including film and wet plate collodian. Rachel has worked teaching and directing performance with both children and adults in Spain, Holland and Australia. Elements of the performance include clowning, puppetry and mask making. Rachel is currently the Educational leader at the Mallacoota Pre-school. Her teaching practice emerges children in all facets of the arts.
Ron Murray is a Wamba Wamba man and is a highly regarded didgeridoo player, story-teller, mediator, communicator and wood sculptor. He works in prisons, schools, at public forums and at festivals. In his work, he builds bridges of awareness between Indigenous and Western cultures and fosters a sense of pride in Aboriginal people. Ron has completed a Master of Arts in cross-cultural education through the Arts.
Padma Newsome is an internationally acclaimed performer, composer, musical director, and community artist. He is resident in Mallacoota, Australia. He was trained at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, The University of Adelaide, and Yale University. He has recorded with and performed with numerous ensembles including Clogs. The Australian Chamber Orchestra, The National, and Daniel Helin. His recent work includes a record with clarinetist, Sue Newsome and composer Ross Edwards, a record with American composer Sarah Kirkland Snider, and an EP with the Mallacoota Community Choir.
Nathan’s great-grandfather was Mannalaganna, chief of the Troowolway clan and of the whole of the North East Tasmanian indigenous peoples. Since the 1830’s, Nathan’s family have been known as the Maynards. Nathan has 17 years’ experience as a dancer in schools and communities. His play ‘The Season’, developed with Dramaturge Peter Matheson and supported by Tasmania Performs was presented at the 2015 Yellamundie Festival in Sydney. Nathan was the recipient of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Artist of the Year Award in 2006 and 2013.
Mandy Nicholson is a multifacted artist from the heartland of Melbourne. Mandy belongs to the Wurundjeri-willam (Woiwurrung language) clan of the Kulin Nation. Mandy has practised visual art since 1994 and studied Koorie art and design at RMIT University in Bundoora and Monash University. Primarily a painter, Mandy also produces ceramics, carvings, murals, prints, designs and children's clothing. In addition to creating her own works, Mandy has also been a contributor to large-scale public artworks including the Manchester and Melbourne Commonwealth Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies, Common Ground at Birrarung Marr and Kirrip Wurrung Biik through the Wyndham City Council.
Anthony (ToK) Norris
Anthony (ToK) Norris is a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist and plays trumpet, flugel-horn, guitar, keyboards. He is a composer, producer, engineer, teacher with 35 years in the Australian and International music industry. He has 10 years' experience of teaching Sound Production at Melbourne's RMIT University. For 14 years, he has been the Owner/Operator of ToKwerX Mixing and Mastering facility. ToK has recorded and performed with local and international artists for over 30 years, including 12 years touring with the Black Sorrows. He has worked extensively with members of the Australian Indigenous community. He has received multiple awards from collaborative work including: ARIA, AFI, Platinum & Gold Records.
Bruce Pascoe is an award-winning Australian writer, editor and anthologist. He has a Bunurong and Tasmanian heritage. He has worked as a teacher, farmer, fisherman, barman, farm fence contractor, lecturer, Aboriginal language researcher, archeological site worker and book editor. He has written 27 books including a loosely linked series of 5 novels and won the Fellowship of Australian Writers' Literature Award in 1999. His novel, Fog, won the Prime Minister’s award in 2013. His stories have won 10 national competitions and been published in 6 languages and 9 countries. With Lyn Harwood he published Australian fiction, non-fiction and poetry for 17 years. Over the last few years much of Bruce’s work has involved research into indigenous history, indigenous language revival and being Secretary of the local Aboriginal Corporation. Bruce and Lyn now live by the Genoa River in Far East Gippsland.
Aunty Dr Doris Paton
Aunty Doris Paton is a highly respected Gunnai/Monaro Ngarigo woman who has worked in education for over 25 years. She is also a leader in the field of the recovery and restoration of Aboriginal languages. She completed a PhD in which she is used quilt-making as a narrative tool. Doris speaks language from both Gunai and Monaro Ngarigo, and has been teaching language in context within the community to children and adults for over 15 years.Doris has been a long serving member and program worker of the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages (VACL). In 2010, Doris was the recipient of Parks Victoria Regional Achiever Award for outstanding regional achiever from across the State of Victoria.
Paul is an Aboriginal man from the Gunnai and Monaro tribes of south eastern Australia. As Executive Officer of the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages, Paul is helping to support over 30 Aboriginal languages in Victoria. VACL is very strong in developing and producing new resources for community programs, training in linguistics and is involved with Government departments in the Victoria towards the development of language policy and curriculum. Paul is also highly experienced and skilled in liaising, setting up, running and participating in committees, Advisory Boards and Reference Groups for various functions. Paul also has extensive Aboriginal community networks around many areas in Victoria and has a very good understanding of the issues that face communities in reviving of their local languages.
Santha Press works as a music and movement facilitator, performer, composer, musical director, lecturer in voice, performance and community music leadership, community artist and arts manager/coordinator. She has an extensive and eclectic history of performing, performance making, facilitating and organising musical and theatrical processes, stage, event and arts project management. Santha and her partner Kofi Kunkpe initiated The YarraYigba Project in Kofi's hometown of Anlo-Afiadenyigba. Working with the local youth cultural group Babashiko, Kofi and Santha shared skills in dancing, drumming and singing while members of the group taught their traditional dances.
Uncle Herb Patten
Uncle Herb Patten is a Gunnai elder and one of Australia’s most well-known gumleaf players. He is an accomplished singer and guitarist and has been playing music professionally since the 1960s. He has conducted cultural awareness and gumleaf playing workshops for many years. He has completed a Master of Arts exploring Aboriginal Heritage through Gumleaf Music.
Rachel Ramberg is a First Nation visual storyteller from USA and a journalism graduate from the University of Colorado Boulder. She specialises in Broadcast Production and her technical and creative skills are in photography, videography and audio. She loves wildlife and helping tell their stories to raise awareness about the natural world. She is interested in visual storytelling through photography and videography to facilitate reconnection with nature.
A jazz pianist and teacher/author, Steve Sedergreen has made a vital and indelible imprint on the Australian jazz scene over the past 25 years and has acted as a mentor and teacher to countless young jazz musicians. Deep Listening has been an integral part of Steve’s approach to performance, composition and education for a number of years. It is a concept that he has investigated through his postgraduate research and in his collaborations with Indigenous musicians and visual artists both in Australia and internationally. There is a natural synergy between this aspect of Indigenous culture and Steve’s background as a jazz improvisor.
Lamine Sonko was born in Senegal, West Africa into a family of griots known as culture keepers. Lamine’s family are well known musically and highly respected internationally. Now living in Melbourne, Australia - and a part of the West African Diaspora, Lamine is motivated by a desire to experiment in this space between the traditional and the contemporary in ways that develop new forms of musical collaboration and exchange. This is underpinned by a larger aim to develop communities of musicians from the African, Australian, American and European continents, working to build a space in which a spirit of togetherness for a better future can be experienced through the unyielding force of music and dance.
Aunty Fay Stewart-Muir
Aunty Fay Stewart-Muir is an Elder and Traditional Owner of Boon Wurrung Country. She is the senior linguist at the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages in Melbourne, Fay is working with her own Boon wurrung language, recording and putting language into the data base for future and present generations. She presents language related workshops to community members who are reclaiming their languages, as well as universities and TAFEs that are interested in understanding the many and challenging aspects of language reclamation. She also goes out to schools to educate the students about language and culture and teach language.
Dr Cora Voyageur
Cora Voyageur is a Dene woman from the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation at Fort Chipewyan, Alberta Canada. Her research interests explore the Aboriginal experience in Canada including: leadership employment, community and economic development, women’s issues, and health. She is has published 40 academic papers and has written more than 30 commissioned research reports
Monica Weightman is a singer/songwriter from North Queensland now based in Melbourne. She grew up in Townsville, influenced by her Islander father Ray and with the musical genes of her Scottish-English-Italian mother. She is a highly gifted singer, song-writer and guitarist and the combination of Monica's unique husky vocal with her highly accomplished guitar skills is impressive. She is committed to working with young and disadvantaged members of the community.
Rory Wood-Ingram is a secondary teacher at Mallacoota P-12 College. His subject areas are English, History, Drama and Philosophy. He has a long-standing interest in theatre and performance and is passionate about the natural environment. He lives in Mallacoota with his family.