Wirrina Workshops 2017

The Wirrina Bluegrass and Acoustic Roots Festival organisers were delighted to present a fantastic range of workshops led by accomplished musicians again in 2017.

Many thanks to the talented musicians who shared their skills. If there’s something you’d like to offer for the  Festival in 2018, please let us know.

Andrew Clermont playing mandolin

Mandolin with Andrew Clermont

Concert Marquee, Saturday 9.45 am

Andrew is a long-term supporter of the festival (as with many others around the country), and this year he’s offering his Crash Course to Mandolin Freedom. Come into the main marquee on Saturday morning for some of Andrew’s particular input with mandolin handling technique, ranging from pick skills to melodic interpretation. Suitable for any and all mandolin players. Mandolin 1O1—Getting off your Plateau! How to make what you play, sound like it was always meant to be there. Slotting into someone else’s genre/style, recognising and adopting their idioms and producing the appropriate accompaniment.

Mij Tanith

Harmonica with Mij Tanith

Ukulele Zone, Saturday 10am

Mij Tanith has been playing harp (blues, country, folk and sometimes jazz) for a few years now.  She occasionally perfoms with local soft rock band J.D. and the Crabs, but she can always be found jamming with friends at sessions around Adelaide.

This practical session will enable all comers— even those who have never picked up a harmonica before—to learn the basics, and actually play a few tunes.  And for those wanting to explore beyond the basics, there will be an opportunity to jam with Mij immediately after the workshop. There will be harmonicas (in the key of C) for sale for $10 on the day.

Bowen & Clare

Percussion with Bowen & Clare

Woolshed, Saturday 10 am

Philomena Carroll

Old Time Banjo with Philomena Carrol

Woolshed, Saturday 12 pm

Philomena Carroll plays guitar, banjo and sings. GIT and Rank Strangers are among her former bands and she has a long history in the Bluegrass/Old Time scene in Australia.

Dr Zot

Playing Uke with Dr Zot (aka Ian Stehlik)

Introducing Finger Style Ukulele, Ukulele Zone, Saturday 12 pm

Time to move beyond strumming the uke? This is the workshop for you. Dr Zot will take you on a journey to this exciting next stage of learning to play ukulele.

Swing Your Rhythm on Uke, Ukulele Zone, Saturday 3 pm 

Learn how to put bounce and movement into your playing — ‘Swing’ along with Dr Zot!

Dr Zot (aka Ian Stehlik) likes to teach practical skills with a view to improving and expanding student’s performance abilities. As a long time guitarist in many bands and as a solo performer in both Adelaide, Canberra and the East Coast of Australia, Ian took to the ukulele around 2000. He plays in pubs, clubs and at festivals and delights his audiences and workshop students with his wonderful musicianship and generosity. Ian knows his way around a Uke like the back of his hand; as well as being a superb musician, Ian is a long time collector, repairer and seller of vintage ukulele’s and guitars.

Workshops with Linda Rankin and Allye Sinclair

Scottiish Fiddle–techniques and style, Woolshed, Saturday 1 pm
Accompanying and arranging for all instruments, Woolshed, Sunday 1 pm

Linda and Allye bring years of musical experience to these workshops. Linda Rankin is one of Australia’s leading Scottish Fiddlers. She is the founding Director of the Adelaide Scottish Fiddle Club, has produced 6 CDs and performed and taught at Festivals here and across Australia, including the Royal Military Tattoo in Melbourne with the Shetland Fiddlers. She has recently met Allye Sinclair performing with Big String at Womadelaide, with whom she is currently collaborating. Linda is also a member of SA band Telenn Tri with whom she released an album in April of this year. Linda’s workshops allow for all levels of musicianship, are highly interactive and participants with come away with not only a tune but a deeper understanding of the Scottish Fiddling Tradition.

Allye Sinclair lives and works in Adelaide. Her work has included a diverse range of musical activities over two decades, including playing the cello with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Director of Music at Willunga Waldorf School, composing and directing four original musicals, playing piano as repetiteur for the Flinders University Choral Society, secretary and committee member of the Australian Strings Association (SA chapter), conducting Suzuki Strings workshops and leading 100 voice a’capella choir. She enjoys writing for strings and has published a number of mixed string ensemble pieces from beginner through to advanced student groups. She loves to play many styles of music and is currently absorbed in learning more about traditional Scottish fiddle music.

Ukulele workshops with Shelley Wigley and Chris Carr

Develop your rockstar rhythm hand! Ukulele Zone, Saturday 11 am

Far too often people jump in and learn lots and of chords but can’t seem to make chords sound like ‘music’. This workshop looks at developing your rhythm hand and how improving your timing is so important in turning chords into music.

Learn to Play Ukulele By Ear, Ukulele Zone, Sunday, 11 am

Playing by ear is a very valuable skill that unfortunately often gets looked down upon by some of those ‘notation readers’ who have done “proper book learnin”.  Most people don’t know this but ukuleles come pre-loaded with dozens of songs; lets shake your ukulele and see what falls out! Liberate yourself from your song sheets, open your ears and learn to hear the chord changes. Learn how songwriters write and how we can predict what chords will be coming next. Learn bight- sized bits of musical theory. Note: players of non-ukulele instruments probably won’t be shot if they enter this workshop. Playing by ear is a great skill for all of us to develop!

Chris Carr aka Sir Fez has been writing songs and playing in bands since University and was previously a member of 8 piece ukulele ensemble Ukulele Circus and is now a member of Savoir Plunk. Chris is also a well-loved Adelaide ukulele teacher and the proprietor of the Ukulele Trading Co Australia, which provides private, corporate and community ukulele workshop programs and is also an official Kala and Ohana ukulele retailer.

Shelley Wigley is a well-know identity in SA ukulele circles, as both a performer and a leader. Shelley and Chris are playing with Savoir Plunk at the festival this year—a fun loving gag cracking ukulele quintet playing Jazzy Blues. Shelley has previously run ukulele workshops at both Wirrina and the Frances Folk Gathering, and played fiddle at the very first Wirrina Bluegrass Festival in the Irish band Inisheer.


Bluegrass Banjo with Geoff Bridgland

Open Mic Tent, Sunday 9.30 am

Bring your five string and let’s talk bluegrass banjo. Regular picker or raw beginner— –all are welcome. I’’ll make sure you take a few tips and tricks home to work on. And… if you are one of the players in the festival featured bands, come and share your banjo brilliance with everyone!

Geoff Bridgland has been playing bluegrass since he was in the Black Mountain Bluegrass Boys in his garage at home in 1968. Failing to learn from their error, there have been several bands over the years and occasionally several at once. He is known around Australia for his more recent work with Old South Bluegrass Band, and now is playing with Bluegrass Junction who will be performing at the festival this year.

Trev Warner 2017

Fiddle Workshop with Trev Warner

Woolshed, Sunday 10 am

Trev is well known for his background of Bluegrass and Country fiddle and banjo. He currently plays with Bluegrass Junction who are a featured band at this years festival.


Fiddle Maintenance with Hugh Gordon

Woolshed, Sunday 11 am

Keep your fiddle in fine fettle. From setup to maintenance and repair, Hugh shows how to take care of your bowed instruments at home. As well as being a fabulous musician who has been part of making this gathering what it is, Hugh has many years experience in giving new life to the abandoned and previously unplayable. We hope that some of his magic will help us get our instruments in the best possible condition. Hugh plays with Tamarisque (Hugh Gordon, Janet Gordon and a revolving range of associates), and is seen in many sessions around festivals in Australia, when he is not building, tinkering or otherwise creating and fixing things.


Rhythm Guitar with Philomena Carroll & Paul Wookey

Woolshed, Sunday 12 pm

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