Nice Verdes play South American style music. They play combinations of Cuban tres, accordions, guitar, harmonica and vocals. The duo usually split their time between Canada and Australia but are by necessity based in Adelaide this year. Nice Verdes are Sally Miller and Jesse Hamilton. Nice Verdes began performing together in 2003, and have always been on some kind of adventure in search of new inspiration and music ever since. Their music is a sunny and uplifting mixture of originals and traditional folk music from Cuba, Colombia and beyond. Inspired musically by their travels around the world, they defy genres to create their own indie world folk. Over the years the duo have been on the road in Australia and Canada playing numerous venues and festivals. In Australia festival highlights include Cygnet, Wallaby Creek, Nannup and Illawarra, and in Canada, Kispiox , Arts Wells, Robson Valley, Edge of the World and Quadrapalooza. They were also invited in 2017 to perform in Valledupar, Colombia at the UNESCO declared festival ‘Encuentro Vallenato Femenino’. They have also completed tours of Europe and New Zealand and played cafes and bars on the streets of Latin America. Nice Verdes have released four original albums, Succulence (2008), Brontosaurus (2014), Bouquet of Birds (2016), and Feet in the Ocean (2020).They have always been drawn to collaborating with artists from all countries and they enjoy most of all the parties and festivals that celebrate a strong sense of community and equality in diversity. We are excited to have them join us at Wirrina this year!
Monz Matsumoto was born in a small village in Japan and started to learn Bluegrass banjo from the age of 15. In 1987 Joined the legendary Japanese folk group The Natarshar Seven. He also studied Carnatic (South Indian Classical music) rhythm theory and singing at Chennai, India. In 2002 he moved to Australia, and soon won the 2003 1st Prize for musicianship at the Francis Folk Gathering. As a regular performer at the Tamworth Country Music Festival, he has performed at Andrew Clermont’s Supper Club, Pete Denahy’s Bluegrass Breakfast Show and The Pigs’ shows. In 2007 his 2nd album, Banjo Moon, was nominated for album of the year by South Australia Folk Federation. In 2008 he was runner up in the Tamworth Bluegrass Banjo Championship. Monz tours regularly with Sydney based Hillbilly Po, and The Pigs, performing at many festivals including Tamworth, the Port Fairy Folk Festival, the Gympie Muster and the Blue Mountains Music Festival. He also regularly tours with Pete Denahy. These days living in Tasmania, he plays with the alternative bluegrass band Voicestrings, performing at MONA museum and the Cygnet Folk Festival. Monz is a regular recording artist for various musicians including John Williamson and The Borderers. He’s booked his ticket from Tassie and we have our fingers crossed that the borders stay open!
Monz will be joined on stage by Cloudy Davey, a singer/songwriter based in the Barossa Valley. Described as a singer with both sweetness and grit, Cloudy has shared her love of song all over the country, lending her warm tones in many collaborations. A musical bond that spans almost twenty years brings Cloudy back together with her dear friend Montz Matsumoto, where she relishes the blending of voices to add extra colour to Montz’s earthy and rich palette of sound.
The Borderers are back! For around 22 years Jim Patterson and Denise Alex Alexander have electrified audiences across Australia and the world with their fusion of Celtic rock, zydeco, African, folk, gospel and whatever style of music that happens to take their fancy. Jim and Alex are renowned for their unbelievably high-energy shows. Lead singer, Alex, was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and came to Australia in 1987, whilst Jim was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and arrived in Australia on Christmas Eve 1993. They’ve recorded with African, Indian and American soul and gospel singers, performed at WOMAD in England, and entertained huge crowds in Melbourne’s Federation Square, Adelaide’s Skyshow, Byron Bay’s Blues & Roots Festival, Port Fairy’s Folk Festival, and the famous Skagen Festival in Denmark. The Borderers have been voted Best World Music act at the Musicoz Awards and Best Gospel song at the Independent Music Awards in the USA. They have also just been voted S.A.’s Best Band and their last double album Tales of Love & Loss was the winner of the Best Album of the Year. Their brand new Double album Caledonia Man and the Celtic Journey DVD will simply blow you away! Their song writing just gets better and better with every release and this will take you on a brand new journey. They are a much-loved and sought-after act and we are lucky to have them back at Wirrina in 2020 .
Mae Napier-Traeger (fiddle/vocalist) and Gage Stead (multi-instrument/vocalist) are Miss Ohio. They radiate a warmth and intimacy through genre-bending material, hauntingly beautiful vocal harmonies and instrumental skill. Having immersed themselves in the music of the Americas and anchored by a deep love of folk tradition, Miss Ohio will captivate you with an honest musicality that will take you on a journey through life, death and the space in between.
The Memphis Suns are a three piece traditional Rockabilly band playing popular Rockabilly tunes. They’ve released an EP Make My Night, a single As I Am , and a full album released in 2018, Old Fashioned Fool, all originals available on Spotify, and iTunes. They are receiving rave reviews in Slap That Bass, the UK Rockabilly magazine in 2018-19. Their album Old Fashioned Fool is getting radio air play out of Tennessee on syndicated radio. They’ve performed alongside Gina Haley (Bill Haley’s Daughter) Linda Gail Lewis (Jerry Lee Lewis’s sister) as a support. They have played to crowds of over 30,000 at Adelaide city events. Additionally, they have performed at many national music festivals in Australia, as well as being asked to tour Belgium and Holland. Traditional Rockabilly never sounded better!
Adelaide-based Bluegrass Junction are back to wow us with their wonderful instrumental and vocal skills! Bluegrass Junction comprises musicians who share a lifetime’s passion for straight old-fashioned bluegrass music. Trevor Warner fronts the band as a superb Bluegrass fiddler. He is a Hall of Fame inductee and three times Australian Bluegrass banjo champion. Trevor is complemented by Geoff Bridgland on banjo and John Bridgland on mandolin. It’s all tightly held together by Stephen Loss on bass fiddle. Their voices combine to get that ‘high, lonesome sound’ that characterises traditional Bluegrass. Formed in 1997, but with most members playing Bluegrass for 30 years or so, the band has an extensive repertoire. Nick Cawthorne, who normally plays brilliant bluegrass guitar, will unfortunately not be able to play this year.
Adelaide’s very own Crooked Road join us at Wirrina. A bluegrass-oriented band, Crooked Road play harmony-driven originals and a few pieces by their favourite musicians. Bluegrass, folk, country, gospel—their influences all come out in their music. In their long history with bluegrass in Australia and New Zealand, Crooked Road’s members have individually toured and recorded many albums. Songs about trains, whisky, death, relativity, love, despair, roadkill, rain and lost car keys. Over time, and with different bands the members of Crooked Road have made 13 albums, many TV and radio shows and several national and international tours.
Crooked Road are:
Phill Parker—guitar and vocals
Andrew Hook—vocals, mandolin and guitar
Dave Taylor— vocals, double bass and guitar
Leonard Cohen— vocals and dobro.
The Cherry Pickers are always popular on the Wirrina stage. A contemporary bluegrass band, they play your favourite tunes from today and back in the day. Coupled with their love of traditional tunes and their original songs, the Cherry Pickers make for an exciting and refreshing bluegrass experience. They appear regularly around Adelaide and have played at many festivals around the country including the National Bluegrass Festival, Mountain Grass, the Kelly Country Pick, JamGrass, the Fleurieu Folk Festival, Healesville Festival, Cullulleraine, Groundwater, Dorrigo Folk Festival and the Wirinna Bluegrass Festival. In 2016, the Cherry Pickers toured the US including playing at AmericaFest in Nashville Tennessee.
The Cherry Pickers are:
Mark Bandick: guitar, vocals
Lou Evangelistis: mandolin, vocals
Paul Cooper: banjo, vocals
Gage Stead: bass, vocals
Mae Napier-Traeger: fiddle, vocals
Rob Cooper: dobro, vocals
Emlyn & Jodie O’Regan with Matthew Lykos and Amber Evans
Concert: Emlyn and Jodie O’Regan have come back from two years in Nashville Tennessee with stories to share. On their adventures they played renaissance music with a lutinist, wrote for and sang in a southern church choir, jammed in a room filled with mountain dulcimer players and sang old style harmonies in an accapella quartet. Now they’re home, they’d love to share some of the music they found and made on their travels in Music City. Emlyn and Jodie are thrilled to be joined by singers Matthew Lykos and (as long as she can get here from Qld) Amber Evans to present the quartet pieces.
Emlyn and Jodie O’Regan have arranged and performed a range of acappella roots and celtic folk songs at festivals and workshops around Australia. They both have a background in choral and classical music and are often sought after to run festival choirs and singing sessions.
An alumnus of The Elder Conservatorium of Music, multi award winning Matthew Lykos combines his formal training with the life-embracing experience of his lifelong participation in the folk music community to weave performances of great richness and extraordinary beauty and energy.
Amber Evans is a vocalist, composer and conductor based in New York and Brisbane. Amber has premiered over thirty new vocal works and became well-versed in modern contemporary classic works of the last few decades. She has a Masters in vocal performance from the Manhattan School of Music and a choral conducting degree at University of Cambridge.
Ned Wright grew up in the 60’s and 70’s in Salisbury North, SA. His three guitar playing brothers were listening to Jim Kweskin, Ry Cooder, Blood Sweat and Tears, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Asleep at the Wheel, Commander Cody, and David Bromberg. Their influence encouraged him to make his own music. Ned learned finger-style techniques from Australian guitarist Tim Rickards as a teenager, and then honed his skills from listening to Doc Watson, Ry Cooder, and Merle Travis. Ned has played in a variety of bands; blues, western swing, Afro-Cuban, pub rock, folky, often as the bass player. He loves ‘story songs’—songs that paint a picture. His musical influences include John Prine, Warren Zevon, Jerry Jeff Walker, Neil Young, and more recently, Tim O’Brien.