2020 Showcasing Artists
Folk singer and pop punk poet Alana Wilkinson is turning heads with her debut release and a string of high profile shows showcasing her wit, humour and social commentary. Combining delicate melodies with disarmingly insightful vignettes about the human condition, Wilkinson is a smiling assassin. She engages audiences with revealing and hilarious stories and songs accompanied by guitar and uke and the theatrical delivery that serves her so well.
- Hamlyn Heights, Victoria, Australia
Albi & the Wolves
Albi & The Wolves are a alternative Americana trio that create a huge sound using only an acoustic guitar, electric violin, double bass, and their three voices. The band is renowned for their great stage presence and dynamic shows that they have evolved by touring extensively in New Zealand and abroad. Their songwriting stands out too as the band won the Best Folk Artist TUI at the 2018 New Zealand Music Awards. Chris Dent (The proud albino front man Albi), Pascal Roggen, and Micheal Young’s individuality shines through the music to make something compelling, uplifting, soulful and fun.
- Sandringham, Auckland, New Zealand
Wergaia/Wemba Wemba woman, Alice Skye released her latest single, produced by Jen Cloher, Oct 2019 via Bad Apples Music (Island Records /Universal Music). , the track marks her first since signing with the prolific indigenous label. The album rolling out in 2020. Packed with fire moulded in tender vocals Alice’s raw musicality continues to turn heads. Alice’s debut album clocked over 1 million Spotify streams and was critically acclaimed. With world success firmly in her sights, Alice and her band, the King twins showcase in New Orleans at the FAI Conference and will return to the US in March for SXSW.
- Collingwood, Victoria, Australia
Allara is a Yorta Yorta, musician, composer, filmmaker, and involved in the climate justice movement. Using a double bass and loop station at the core, she is inspired by ancient oral traditions and is a natural storyteller based in Melbourne. Allara harnesses hard-hitting spoken word taking the listener on a journey reflecting cultural, spiritual and environmental empowerment. Gently lulling audiences into a united chorus of unadorned melodies, her sound is unique and soul- stirring.
- Preston, Victoria, Australia
Since Angie Hudson’s debut EP ‘opens’ Angie has received triple J play and has been praised by roots n all presenter Nkechi Anele ‘Angie’s ability to break your heart with her voice is out of control’. Her sound has been compared to; Norah Jones and Emily King with an introspective songwriting approach similar to Gillian Welch. 2019 saw Angie play a string of shows in EU / UK then returning for an Australian spring tour, showcasing in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. In recent months, Angie has been busy writing and recording, new releases coming soon.
- Byron Bay, NSW, Australia
Ash & Sara
Ash and Sara released their debut EP “Going Out Clothes” in July 2018. What began as a lighthearted collaboration between two mates (one into country, one into folk) has taken on a life of its own. Their music sits in that sweet spot where folk and country meet and their harmonies call to mind the synergy of all the great duet partnerships. These two consumate singer/songwriters and their bare bones approach to music making have been snapped up by festivals including QMF, The Planting, Bello Winter Fest, Mullumfest, Dorrigo F&B and the incredible Festival of Small Halls Spring Tour 2019.
- Goonengerry, New South Wales, Australia
Yorta Yorta singer/songwriter Benny Walker is the real deal. He’s got the lot; the voice, the songs, the showmanship and the looks to kill. His love songs and epic tales are mixed with passion for people, the land, summer vibes and deep grooves that reach the soul. Said to possess one of the best voices in Australia, Benny Walker never fails to take you on a emotionally driven sonic journey.
- Collingwood, Victoria, Australia
Charm of Finches
Charm of Finches are Melbourne’s award-winning sister duo Mabel and Ivy Windred-Wornes. They create haunting folk anchored in transporting vocal harmonies and emotionally affecting songwriting. Their 2019 genre-defying sophomore album ‘Your Company’ explores themes of love and grief, a melancholia made sublimely beautiful by ethereal vocal harmonies and spacious string arrangements: chamber folk at it’s most intimate. Their 2018 single The Bridge won the duo category of the Blue and Roots Radio International Song Contest and at ages 20 and 17 the duo are already festival veterans in Australia.
- Northcote, Melbourne, Australia
Cooper Lower is an Australian singer/songwriter and acoustic guitar virtuoso. In 2019, this 21 year old made an extraordinary first impression on the Australian festival scene with stunning performances at Port Fairy Folk Festival and Queenscliff Music Festival; pioneered by his mesmerising guitar work, meticulous storytelling, singalongs, guitar tutorials and an incredibly humble stage presence. One reviewer recently wrote: “A slither of genius embodies the nomad Cooper Lower. An exquisite live performance pioneered by soaring vocal highs, sombre lows and a seamless symphony of percussive guitar and melody. Brilliant, articulate, perceptive – go see this young player!” (Danial Naqvi, UK)
- Warrnambool, Victoria, Australia
Eleanor McEvoy is one of Ireland’s foremost songwriters. She is the composer and co-performer of “A Woman’s Heart” the title track for the best-selling Irish album in Irish history. In May 2019 it was voted in the TOP 10 of Ireland’s Favourite Folk Songs, most recently used in the award-winning sitcom “Derry Girls”. Eleanor began her career as a session musician in Dublin, playing for numerous recording artists including U2, Sinead O’Connor and Mary Black and 5 years with the Dublin National Symphony Orchestra. Her canon of work spans fifteen albums, she is the chair of the board of IMRO.
ARIA nominated, multi-award winning singer-songwriter Emily Wurramara is a proud Wannandilyakwa woman from Groote Eylandt in the Northern Territory. Using her music as a tool to share her culture, language and life experiences, Emily wins audiences over with her humble narrative, soulful voice and honest story-telling.
- New Farm, Queensland, Australia
Fenn Wilson’s stunning vocals and mesmerising stage presence shows a depth of talent which belies his young age, think George Ezra with Nick Cave’s early songbook. Unleashing his debut album onto the world in October 2019 the Jury is in with AIR making it feature album of the week and critics reaching for superlatives.
- Collingwood, Victoria, Australia
Gina Williams & Guy Ghouse
Winner; Best Indigenous Act – 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018 – WA Music Industry (WAMi) Awards, as well as WA of the year for 2017 and 2018 WA Women’s hall of fame. Gina Williams is a rare act who connects deeply with audiences through guitar brilliance and breathtaking voice. That magical moment when a hush falls over the room; and it’s even more special when it’s in a rare language. There are less than 400 speakers left of Noongar language. With the blessings of elders and community, Gina and Guy will take you on an incredible, unforgettable journey
- Mundaring, Western Australia, Australia
Hat Fitz and Cara
Hat Fitz and Cara can in no way be mistaken for a dainty duo. They are festival favourites throughout Australia and over seas. A striking pair who seldom fail to deliver an electric live performance. Their sound is seeped in a unique combination of hill-style Gospel, Folk blues and stripped down to guitar and vintage drums, embellishing impeccable Rootsy originals with soulful vocals reminiscent of a time forgotten. Album 5, ‘Hand It Over’ is a unique sound that these two have created themselves, packed with a modern punch that cannot be denied once seen live.
- Cootharaba, Queensland, Australia
Born in the desert city of Santa Fe, New Mexico and raised in the mountains of Southern New Zealand, Holly Arrowsmith is a strong forerunner in New Zealand’s current folk revivalist movement. At just 26 years old, Arrowsmith has toured both hemispheres with her powerful solo performance and authentic stage presence. She has supported Sixto Rodriguez, Willie Watson, CW Stoneking, Jessica Pratt, Nadia Reid and Tiny Ruins. Her debut ‘For The Weary Traveller’ received the ‘TUI Folk Album of 2016′ and she was recently awarded the APRA ‘Country Song of the Year’ 2019 for her powerful track ‘Slow Train Creek’.
- Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand
John Smith has built a reputation as one of the UK’s finest guitarists and songwriters. Raised by the Devon seaside and making his bones in the bars and clubs of Liverpool, John has released five albums with over 30 million Spotify streams. He has played to audiences across the world in living rooms, festival tents and sold-out concert halls. He is a genuine folksinger, an inquisitive truth-seeker, devoted song interpreter, and enchanting writer. Steeped in the lineage of British-folk, taking his cue from Richard Thompson and John Martyn, Smith has evolved a transatlantic blend of fingerstyle and slide guitar techniques.
- Frome, United Kingdom
Kee’ahn is a proud 22-year-old Kuku Yalanji, Jirrbal and Torres Strait Islander woman who ventured from her home of Townsville, to pursue her dream in Birraranga (Melbourne). With a name coming from the Wik people, meaning to dance, to sing, to create, Kee’ahn aims to honour her name and ancestors through her soulful music weaving lush melodies and words reminiscent of heartbreak and healing. Since moving to Birraranga, Kee'ahn has performed with and featured on DRMNGNOW's single: “Ancestors”, and added an impressive number of performance credits to her name. These include performing in DRMNGNOW band with Neil Morris at Golden Plains, St Kilda Festival, BIGSOUND, Splendour In The Grass Forum, and Dark Mofo.
Liz Stringer is one of Australia’s most admired and versatile songwriters and instrumentalists. A venerated guitarist and vocalist, her notoriously powerful live performances and melodically rich, story-based songs have earned her a unique place among the most important Australian songwriters of the modern era. 2019 saw the release of collaborative project Dyson Stringer Cloher’s self-titled debut album through Melbourne’s Milk! Records to wide media acclaim and a sold-out headline tour and Stringer was honoured at Woodford Folk Festival 2019/20 as an ’emerging legend of Australian song’ with a dedicated performance of selections from her back catalogue by her musical peers.
- Coburg North, Victoria, Australia
Māmā Mihirangi & the Māreikura
“A powerful show of stunning contemporary Māori music, dance, instruments, language, stories and costumes. The queen of loops is back in force after a break from touring and this new show is her best yet”. Songlines Magazine 2019. A fierce all-female Māori world-roots production showcasing the virtues of feminine power and inspiring cultural identity. Ancient chants, intricate harmonies, traditional & contemporary instruments, beats & bass, by internationally renowned artist/activist, Mihirangi. Her lyrics celebrate Indigenous values, lore and customs and the show feature’s contemporary Māori dancers, women’s haka, Māori weaponry and martial arts. An inclusive, informative and inspiring cultural performance.
- Whenuapai, Waitakere, New Zealand
Marcia has sustained a diverse career as a performer/singer-songwriter and music educator. Marcia’s music is located in her family background and her experiences in music-making with indigenous communities in Ireland and Australia. She was the first Australian female artist to feature on, A Woman’s Heart- a decade on, with her song, Poison Tree, singing with renowned Irish singer, Mary Black and is included in Mary’s latest CD Orchestrated. Marcia has released five solo albums including one recorded in Ireland Burning in the Rain and one in Nashville, Nashville Sessions. Her most recent album is Everything Reminds Me.
- Belmont, Victoria, Australia
Dancing between rhythmic cello lines, powerfully vulnerable vocals and heart-tugging harmonies, Monique Clare is an award-winning cellist and singer-songwriter. Since breaking out as a solo artist in 2017, her songwriting has become increasingly daring and potent, with hard-hitting lyrics and an unconventional brand of classical-folk-pop cello. Her diverse career so far has included teaching cello in Afghanistan, hosting mountaintop sunrise concerts, playing cello with Eminem and touring internationally as part of The Maes.
- Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Ned Kelly: a Multimedia Event
Ned Kelly is a stellar multimedia event encapsulating the life and times of the notorious bushranger. It is powerful, engaging and historically accurate, where the music and stories transport the audience to key moments in history. Ashley Davies, one of Australia’s finest composers collaborated with the late Ian Jones, historian and author, to create this outstanding production. He has since collaborated with Derek Guille to reinvigorate the production featuring a live narration and some of Australia’s finest musicians: Michelle Lewitt, Monique DiMattina, Rosie Westbrook and Shannon Bourne. This is an evocative retelling of the life of Australia’s best-known folk legend.
- Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Ngiyampaa man and First Nations singer-songwriter Pirritu’s music is gentle, honest and melodic, enticing you into the depths of his personal journey, to sing you a story of sadness, love and hope. Pirritu will release his debut album in 2020.
- Reservoir, Australia
Robert K Champion moves audiences with his haunting guitar music and compelling stories of life, love and loss. With guitar in hand and a cup of tea always by his side, Robert’s skilful storytelling warms audiences. A Gubrun, Kokatha and Mirning man now living and making music in Narrm (Melbourne), Robert’s performances are unique moments of song and storytelling, enthralling audiences with their warmth, poignancy and humour. A legendary guitar player, Robert moves between contemporary folktales and country ballads. He is joined by the finest country-folk musicians as, together, they weave striking melodies with captivating tales.
- Werribee, Victoria, Australia
Saije is a multi-instrumental folk duo whose soulful harmonies, dynamic guitar-lines and percussive breakdowns breathe life into heartfelt stories. Their song writing typically encourages connection to self, to the earth and to each other, inviting you on a journey from the depths of ancient forests to bustling French markets, weaving threads of Celtic and French gypsy flavours into their songs along the way. They have uplifted audiences at a number of Australia’s festival gems; including WOODFORD FOLK FESTIVAL, CYGNET FOLK FESTIVAL, and the NATIONAL FOLK FESTIVAL where they received the Folk Alliance Australia ‘Young Artist of the Year Award 2019-2020’.
- Bellingen, NSW, Australia
For 40 years Shane Howard has established himself as one of Australia’s most influential writers and singers, admired and respected for his integrity and commitment. Howard’s songs created a new map of Australia. From the red heart, where he penned his anthemic ‘Solid Rock’, to the wilds of Tasmania that gave birth to ‘Let the Franklin Flow’, he’s created a uniquely Australian voice. His songs dig down into what it means to be a modern Australian. They also reach across the globe and champion the cause of the common people, the environment and the injustices of colonisation.
- Port Fairy, Victoria, Australia
Introspective and playful, bilingual singer-songwriter STAV. continues her small-town story of migration with soaring melodies and bursts of rhythmic fire. Blurring the lines between singing and spoken word, she has a compelling ability to tell a story in song. With Isaac Gunnoo on double bass and harmonies, and Maddison Carter on drums.
- Brunswick East, Victoria, Australia
The East Pointers
Musically complex and technically brilliant, on ‘Yours to Break’, though the core remains Celtic, fiddle tunes are grounded in rumbling bass lines, a dirty Americana exploration turns on a dime into a lighthearted guitar feature with flamenco palmas, and vocal numbers are perfect pop songs or tributes to those they love. Redefining the ever-evolving genre of modern folk with Billboard-worthy pop hooks, deep groove, trance-like trad breakdowns and three-part harmonies, musical trailblazers musical trailblazers Tim Chaisson (vocals/fiddle/percussion), Koady Chaisson (banjo/tenor guitar/moog) and Jake Charron (guitar/keyboards) light a path for a new generation of music lovers who don’t care for labels.
- Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada
The Jellyman’s Daughter
Scottish duo The Jellyman’s Daughter lands squarely in the middle of an intriguing crossroads between bluegrass, post-rock, folk and soul, managing at the same time to sound not a whole lot like any of those genres. Emily and Graham write their songs together with a focus on doing something new, mixing their intimate vocal harmonies with wild and visceral cello, driving guitar and sweet mandolin, often complimented brilliantly by banjo (Jamie Francis) and double bass (Herbie Loening).
- Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Multi-award-winning Melbourne contemporary folk outfit, The Maes (formerly The Mae Trio) is the brainchild of sisters Maggie and Elsie Rigby. Touring in Australia and overseas, audiences are moved by their striking songwriting, intricate instrumental arrangements, and stunning vocal harmonies. Find all that and more on their gorgeous new self-titled album.
- Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia
This Way North
It’s easy to forget that This Way North is a two-piece band. Creating an expansive sound that transfixes the audience. The two talented musicians play with more passion and energy than a 10-piece band. Winners of The Age/Music Victoria awards for regional act of the year 2018, This Way North are enjoying life on the road, and having released 2 EPs and toured Australia, Canada and New Zealand this act is at home on the festival stage. This Way North drum up a contagious euphoria, big, rhythmic, spacious and saturated with summer, they invite you to let loose.
- Yackandandah, Victoria, Australia
Will Kimbrough’s music is deeply rooted in old school country, gospel, traditional blues, American folk and roots music. He last graced these shores playing with Emmylou Harris’ Red Dirt touring band. He’s a songwriter, — a sharp-eyed observer of humanity who notes every detail and spares nothing in his analysis. His prowess as a multi-instrumentalist is legendary and in 2004 he was named as the Americana Music Association Instrumentalist of the Year; a huge accolade from his peers, which is reflected by the demands on his time as a session player, record producer and touring musician.
- Nashville, Tennessee, United States