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Reports and Photos 2008

November Club Night

photo: Joe and Kamala

The hall was extra full for our last night of the year, as this was the first performance of the Newport Community Choir. Add the choir and their family and friends to our usual crowd and you have a very crowded hall! We squeezed them in and got on with the music. There were lots of singalongs including Those Were The Days and Country Roads, which got the whole room singing and playing along.. Greg J delved into his huge repertoire of songs and gave us When I Was a Boy by Dar Williams. Then it was time for the Newport Community Choir to get up and sing in front of an audience for the first time. There were a few nervous faces - the choir has only been rehearsing for 7 weeks and many of the singers haven't sung in a choir before - but they pulled that extra bit of energy out of the box and sang beautifully. Alan (the choir conductor) got the whole audience singing along with Haida, a lively Israeli 2-part round, which was a fantastic way to finish the bracket.

There were quite a few first-time performers along with the regulars; Joe and Kamala gave us some lovely harmonies on a couple of songs, and then there was Adelaide with her blue guitar and Bill and Kim also with a couple of songs. Greg H and Gerry as usual mellowed the evening out with their wonderful finger-picking style. Now that the piano in the hall has been tuned the pianists can have a go, and young Harry obliged with a classical piece and a jazz/blues impro with a few other musos joining in. Harry is obviously another rising Newport talent! Dave as usual gave us a classic poem...just can't remember which one it was... and Anthony also suprised us with an impromtu poetry recitation. Another great night and we look forward to another year of music in 2009.


October Club Night

Photo: Anne
Anne E Stewart from the Storytelling Guild

Alan kicked things off with an old Harry Belafonte calypso number, Coconut Woman. Then Bruce got a request for "the caravan song" and obliged with My House Has Wheels. Gerry gave us an old favourite Would You Like to Play the Guitar, a reflection on a musician's life to the tune of Would You Like to Swing on a Star. After a few songs from Simon, Rick and Suzette (a bit light on detail this month, no notes...) it was over to the storytellers from the Storytelling Guild. Anne told us a wonderful story - several stories intertwined really - about East Timor, and Imelda confused (and delighted) us by not telling a story at all but singing a couple of songs. Dave also gave us a story - The Darling River by Henry Lawson. Then the string quartet launched into a couple of classical pieces. Remarkably this time there were actually only 4 string players in the quartet, although Lyn did join in on the recorder. Steve played the world's largest cello, which looked remarkably like his old double-bass.

After the break the Bush Orchestra fired up with a bracket of old favourite tunes, one song led to another and before we know it, it was time for The Parting Glass and home. It was great to blend two of the oldest forms of entertainment - music and storytelling - in this unique evening.

September Club Night

Last Friday was another top night of music in Newport. As always there was good mixture of the new and the old, the folk and the classics, and a few stories thrown in to boot. The night started off with Ukulele Lady Shirley Billing & friends performing Limehouse Blues and the Autumn Leaves. The folk club has been a lovely place for musos to meet up with others with complementary skills and interests. The Dahl Sisters (Alison, Llyn and Rick...?) have been playing together for a while and they did a set starting off with Captain Byng. Then Danny (voice) and Phillipa (on newly tuned piano), who hadn’t met before, teamed up for a stirring rendition of Jerusalem – the chorus almost literally lifted the roof as everybody who knew the words joined in and sang as one – marvellous. I can see that this tune will get an airing regularly, and Danny and Phillipa might be able to find others from the classical repertoire that will go down just as well. In the classics vein, the Newport String Orchestra blooded a couple of new members (Richard and Steve) to perform one of the Brandenburgs and the very famous Queen of Sheba and then showed their versatility by leaping into a set of Australian folk tunes and inviting everyone with an instrument to join in.

Photo: Gerry

The mix of styles kept coming as Adelaide and friends lead their rendition of Pete Murray’s Opportunity. Anthony sang 30s tune The Very Thought of You, Alan led everyone in an African call-and-response song, and then Jackie got everyone to participate in her new song – The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and Greg and Bernadette sang Wild Mountain Thyme. A very eclectic selection of music for Newporters. What else? Bruce sang Too Much Fun and then told us that his House Has Wheels. Danny was accompanied by his son Ryan on drums and he sang A Farmer’s Lament. Jackie had the hall entranced with her tale of The Shark at Brighton Beach. Ted told us about his Paul McCartney guitar and then played it – Deep Creek Turnaround and Deep River Blues. Gerry (pictured) played Blue Moon in that lovely swing style and Rob played the Dire Straits number Romeo and Juliet. There were lots more songs but by this stage it was time for our big chocolate birthday cake and a cup of tea, and lots of meeting new people and finding about musical and life interests.

After the break Christine, who was leading the night, decided that as it was our 4th birthday we could stay up late (till 11.30!!) so there was lots more music to be shared. Mary-Anne, Greg, and Greg and Greg all played and sang, Jules did the Angels classic Am I ever Gonna See Your Face Again without the echo, and Adelaide got us singing the Monty Python classic Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. And there was more... By the time we did leave the hall it was clear that people are still enjoying coming together for the monthly sessions. It is always fun to meet new people, and a different crowd always changes the night – it seems unlikely that the night will become mundane as there is such a different feel each night, and a different range of songs (even though some old favourites are emerging as we build our traditions). Well done to Christine for running the night and we all look forward to next month’s session, when in addition to the music we will have some storytelling with Anne E Stewart from the Storytellers Guild.

Newport Bush Orchestra in Harmony

The Newport Bush Orchestra took part in the first 'Harmony in Hobsons Bay' concert at the Williamstown Town Hall on Sunday September 13. The event, organised by Willin Wimmin was a great success and involved a good cross section of the local community. The Bush Orchestra played in the foyer to welcome people as they came in to the TOwn Hall, and this created a lovely warm atmosphere and old world charm to the afternoon. During the program the NBO performed the Kerry Dance, with singers Maryanne and Danny O'Connell, and then got the whole audience involved in the show with a rousing rendition of Waltzing Matilda.

The NBO sounded fantastic - well done to the group and many thanks to Greg O'Leary for all of the work he has put in to developing their skills and repertoire. After the show everyone tucked into an old fashioned afternoon tea complete with scones, jam and cream. It was a lovely day. The NBO are back to work tonight in preparation for a busy schedule of playing at Echuca at a festival, back to the Willy Town Hall to celebrate a 20 year association between Hobsons Bay Council and the Japanese city of Anjo (home of Toyota) and then up to entertain the folk of Colbinabbin for the annual country dance. This is a busy program for the NBO - hard to imagine that the are just 2 and a half years old.

Photo: Newport Bush Orchestra


August Club Night

A few people remarked that it seemed "too early" in the month for Folk Club - the 22nd is the earliest date the fourth Friday in the month can possibly be! Michael missed it altogether; calling Steve from overseas on Friday morning, he mentioned in passing that he was looking forward to Folk Club next week!
Anyway, Alan stepped into the breach and took over MC duties, and soon the place was alive with music as usual. (Where has the time gone since then? It was over a week ago now and my notes are a bit scrappy, so this will be brief. ) Greg O gave us a calypso classic Seven Skeletons Found in the Yard by The Lord Executor, part of the fascinating tradition of Trinidadian Calypso (More info from Wikipedia). Christine and Leonie have obviously been putting in some practice and gave us a beautiful rendition of Leonard Cohen's The Captain.

Photo: August club night

Mary had recently been to a Bluegrass Festival so she led us in a couple of bluegrass numbers (everyone loves the singalongs). Dave departed from his usual poetry style to tell us an old "tall story" titled The Bullock Drover; part of another long-standing tradition - the great Australian liar! The Bush Orchestra were in fine form with a bracket of dance tunes and NFFC newcomer Simon finished off the night in style with his own composition Big Adventure in the Desert. The song includes a very effective "echo" in the chorus, with everyone else singing along. Four simple notes so we picked it up straight away, but what a lovely sound with thirty voices! A fine ending to another great night of music.

July Club Night

There were lots of new faces and most of them I didn't manage to put names to, so there are a few anonymice in this report. Sometimes the simplest song gets the biggest response. One of our newcomers launched into Skye Boat Song on a tiny piano accordion and soon had everybody singing and playing along – a wonderful sound. Another newcomer, Marilla, brought along a beautiful harp, which was quite a surprise, and played a lovely Breton song. Neil as usual came up with a good old singalong Lachlan Tigers and Michael gave us a local flavour with Billy Miller and Gary Adams’ song Footscray. It was good to see Jules back again and hear another one of her originals Made You Smile and later a powerful rendition of Peggy Lee’s You Give Me Fever.

Ted showed us his finger-pickin’ style once again with St Jude’s Rag. He pointed out that St Jude is the patron saint of lost causes, not sure why! Lyn often seems to come along with eccentric and very funny songs, and tonight was no exception as she launched into Bloody Rotten Audience, a swipe at pretentious folksingers written by Tony Miles.Then we took an excursion into classical music land with the famous string quartet – formerly nine members but now down to five. They played pieces by Handel and  Bach and then accompanied Danny on an Irish song Minstrel Boy. A couple of sad songs followed – Jackies whaling song (from the whale’s point of view) and then Maryanne with Nobody’s Moggy Now…well some people thought it was sad. Dave picked up the mood with an old favourite poem Mulga Bill’s Bicycle and then it was time for a bit of swing with Michael, Greg and Steve on Lady Be Good and Dark Eyes. After a bit of persuasion Liz fired up the piano accordion and played Peggy O’Neil, accompanied by the Bush Orchestra and just about everyone else. To finish off the first half of the evening Alan got everyone singing a gospel round If You Wanna Get To Heaven, which sounded fantastic.

Photo: group

After the break the fiddlers took over and played a rollicking set of old favourites – Rita Baker’s Polka, The Drover's Dream and a few others. When there are only 2 or 3 chords everyone can join in and I think we had 6 or 7 guitars going at one point, not to mention tin whistles, piano accordions and ukuleles. How could I get this far in an NFFC report without mentioning the ukuleles? Alison showed the flag with Blue Suede Shoes and Greg O gave us a bit of on-the-run musical tutoring, emphasising that the louder instruments should “stop bloody playing” at certain points to allow quieter instruments like the uke to be heard. Alan finished things off at 11pm with the traditional Parting Glass.

In the break and afterwards we were able to revisit the recent Festival with a computer slideshow of wonderful photos taken by local photographer Kevin Dunn. A great night with lots of new faces - we hope to see them back again, and hear some more new songs too!

photo: harp

Newport Fiddle and Folk Festival

(See the full Festival program)


A great start to the Festival with an open mike night at the Junction Hotel. We launched straight into a few of the favourite dance tunes on fiddles, guitar and double-bass, then JJ took the stage with a couple of country classics. There were lots of familiar faces and quite a few new ones too. The big room at the back of the Junction really started to fill up and the bar staff got busy. Suzette again wowed us with her powerful voice and Tony Leonard gave us a virtuoso performance on the ukulele(see pic below). Relaxed atmosphere, great music and the chance to catch up with old friends - too good!

Photo: Tony Leonard


The day kicked off with musos in the park and on the streets at 9am. Soon Sisters DAL were gathering a crowd in Mason St and Ted, Wendy, Rob and the gang were drawing them into the park. At 11 the focus moved to the Substation where the great natural reverb complemented the lovely sound of the world's largest string quartet - 9 musicians! Tenor Danny had the audience spellbound as his wonderful voice filled the whole building. Willin Wimmin also took advantage of the acoustics with their beautiful harmonies and eclectic repertoire.

During the afternoon the crowd was spread out over a number of venues - the ukuleles had an enthusiastic crowd at the Bowling Club, Wendy and Don were into the laid-back ballads at the RSL when I dropped in and over at the Junction Hotel Simon and the crew were fiddlin' up a storm. The Tea Dance had a small but enthusiastic group of dancers who thoroughly enjoyed dancing to the live music provided by the band put together for the occasion by Greg O'Leary.

Then after a bit of a break it was into the Bush Dance at 7:30. Neil and the Newport Bush Orchestra were absolutely 'on fire', getting the dancers going right from the word go with the good old Brown Jug Polka, then moving onto Strip the Willow, the Circassian Circle and lots of other dances whose names I've forgotten. The Newport Bush Orchestra was very impressive, looking and sounding like a truly focussed and professional band - a credit to all the musos and the leadership of Greg O'Leary. Special credit must go to Neil who called all the dances and sang as well! See below for photos.


Normally quiet Paine Reserve was already buzzing with market stalls (thanks to Therese from Outlets for making it all happen) when the musos started off at about 10am. Young violinist Sarah who wowed the crowd at the Junction yesterday (see video) and the Bush Dance last night did it again this morning, mixing it with the 2 Gregs, Michael and Brendan. Her accomplished and energetic style drew a big crowd. We hope to see Sarah at future NFFC events.

About 30 people turned up for the Gospel Singing session at 11:00 and were soon raising the roof with a couple of good old gospel songs - If You Want to Get to Heaven and Shut the Door. With Alan showing the way, in an hour they had the second song going with four-part harmony and a tricky second chorus with some fancy part singing. Well done to all the singers! Then it was the line dancers' turn. Many were obviously 'old hands' but there were plenty of newcomers giving it a go too. A line-up of local performers kept things going until 2:00 when the Men With Beards took the stage for the grand finale. Lou Hesterman, Greg Rough and Greg O'Leary do indeed all have beards. They also happen to be great musicians and share a repertoire of great songs - there's a special magic when such experienced musicians just launch into a song, knowing it and each other so well they can improvise, take the solos and just 'fake it' without missing a beat. Maryanne (oops, no beard) joined them for a couple of songs, her voice blending beautifully with their music. The second guest artist, Brad (no beard again!) raised the excitement level - and the volume - as he fired up his Scots bagpipes for a bracket of traditional Scottish tunes. Then Brad amazed us all by getting out another set of pipes - this time the Uilleann pipes. These pipes come from Ireland and are quite different from the better-known Scottish pipes, with a gentler and more mellow tone. After a couple more beautiful tunes, and then a couple more due to popular demand, finally we wound up, cleaned the hall and retired to the RSL, where Don Gula appeared to have been playing double bass for the entire weekend! Don has done an amazing job of putting together two afternoons and evenings of music at the RSL.

It was a huge weekend and showed that we have plenty of talent in Newport and surrounding suburbs to put together a top-quality weekend festival - and that there's enough interest in folk music to bring performers and audience in from all over Melbourne and even further afield. In many ways this was a unique event as it was truly a community festival with lots of community links and support from our local council, traders and community organisations such as the Elderly Citizens' Centre. It's also rare in that we were brave enough to hold it in the middle of winter (the weather was kind to us) and also that we were able to make all the events free. When you can just walk into your local community arts centre, pub or RSL, listen to great music played by local performers (well, with a few guests from 'over the river')...and then walk around from venue to venue for a whole weekend of diverse music, dancing, storytelling and more, we reckon that's quite an achievement. We're already talking about next year!

Thanks to Hobsons Bay City Council and the Newport Traders Association. Their funding support made it possible for us to make this a free festival. Thanks also to Therese McKenney-Campbell from Outlets Neighbourhood House for her continued support and especially for organising the Farmers Market. Are we allowed to call Therese our Fairy Godmother on the internet? Oops, I just did!


June Club Night

A brief report this month as we are busy gearing up for the Festival next weekend. As Michael is hard at work in foreign lands, Alan took over as host for the evening. His main challenge was giving everyone a go, as there were so many singers and musos ready and willing to perform! A group of singers who attended Steven Zammit's singing workshop 2 weeks ago kicked things off by performing the song Steven taught them (Lean On Me) and then Neil really got us going with Down the Castlereagh. Of course the ukulele crew were not backward in coming forward and we heard High Hopes from Jackie and Ukulele Heaven from Lyn, Jackie and Danny.

NFFC newcomer Suzette wowed us with her superb singing voice on Emmylou Harris' song Michelangelo and later Leonard Cohen's classic Hallelujah. Then it was time for the Newort Bush Orchestra to give us a taste of the dance tunes they'll be playing at the Bush Dance next Saturday night. This was remarkable night in that Mary was the only fiddler present! Mary rose to the challenge and gathered the NBO together for the Brown Jug Polka, Drovers Dream, Athol Highlanders and a string of other dance tunes. They are sounding great!

Dave gave us The Play, CJ Dennis' classic about a street larrikin who takes his girlfriend to see Romeo and Juliet. This one just gets better every time you hear it, especially with Dave's spirited and dramatic recitation.

Danny seemed to determined to demonstrate that, as Gail says, "There is nowhere the ukulele can't go". Over the course of the night he gave the Rolling Stones' Brown Sugar, (ably assisted by Greg J), Hold Me Now by the Thompson Twins, and Kiss by Prince!

So many great performances...Jackie told a story that held the whole audience spellbound, Gail sang an original, My Dog Has Fleas (in-joke there for uke players), we had an extended 12-bar blues jam (Q: What does it say on a blues singer's tombstone? A: "I didn't wake up this morning."), Ted gave us a lovely version of My Grandfather's Clock, and Rob D wrapped things up beautifully at about 11 with I Would Rather Have Your Love. Another great night and we're all looking forward to a whole weekend of music at the Festival next weekend!

Overseas Visitor

Liz Jones with NFFC musosThe NFFC is one place where travelling musos come when they are in Melbourne. Last week Liz Jones from Ashlands in Oregon US found the folk club on the web and was keen to get together with some locals for a jam. Sure enough a couple of likely lads (Michael, Simon, Bruce, and Rob pictured with Greg behind the lens) found their way over to Anderson St for a session. Liz is singer, songwriter and guitarist who has recently established a band (Dandelion Jo) and wanted the chance to have a session while she has been over in Australia with her husband and family on a work trip. It didn't take long to find a couple of songs that bridged the gap between the two countries and off we went for a lovely night of some old favourites and some new (to the locals) songs. A bottle or two of the local brew seemed to add another dimension to the conviviality and before we knew it Friday had made way for the start of another day. It was a lovely session and Liz was able to take away a few Australian songs on her mp3 to play on the trip home - and maybe perform back in Oregon while we will see if we can bring Wagon Wheels into the Newport repertoire. Really nice to meet you Liz and if ever we are in Oregon we will come over and say g'day.

Workshop Series

Reports coming in from the workshop series indicate they have been very successful. Here are a few pics and we hope to bring you reports on all the workshops soon.

Gypsy Guitar

photo:guitar workshopThe NFFC's first workshop was a gypsy guitar session with Dave Krycer. Dave, pictured left with Brendan Shearson, Doug Bailey and Rob Dawson, is a passionate enthusiast of all things gypsy and django ("Django is the Man!") and this translated into an inspiring session where the group worked on 'le pompe' (a pump action strumming style that gives the definitive django style), pick technique (very interesting to find out how hard a plectrum can become before it resembles a piece of metal) and of course applying these techniques to the tunes. The group, who included Michael behind the camera, came to the session with a set of gypsy style tunes and then left with the desire to learn some more authentic gypsy numbers. Cesar's Swing, Lulu's Swing and David are now firmly established as part of the Newport Dygpsy Djangos repertoire and the group, who gets together each Friday morning for a 2 hour session, has almost got 'le pompe' down pat. It was a great workshop - many thanks to Dave - and was just the spark that was needed to focus the group on the key gypsy essentials.


Photo: Uke workshopThe Ukulele workshop was led by Anthony Leonard, an extraordinary uke player who demonstrated what could be done with this versatile little instrument – everything from Blues, Jazz, Hawaiian to Hard Rock.
The afternoon attracted 12 participants from all corners of Victoria, in fact one of our friends from Colbinabbin travelled 175km to attend. As happens in workshops there was a range of experience within the group, which created lots of interaction throughout the afternoon.In addition to the variety of sounds the Ukulele can produce, the instrument comes in a range of different shapes, sizes and designs – and they were all there on the day. 
Anthony gave us a popular piece to learn, Ukulele Heaven. We made our way through the tune, many of us learning chord shapes we didn’t know existed.  After several hours, we managed to perform the piece as a group – a sensational sound and achievement.  Anthony then gave us a number of instrumental exercises and turnarounds to practice - again with lots of interesting new chords shapes and sounds.  The workshop was inspirational and of course it’s always great fun learning and playing with fellow ukers.

The P.A. and You

Photo: PA workshop


Workshop leader Don Gula explains to Christine and Greg what all those buttons and faders actually do, while Rob and the gang give them some sound to work with in the background.

"You're the Voice"

Photo: Individual work
Individual work on breath and posture

Fourteen people turned up on a chilly June afternoon for the voice workshop with Steven Zammit. From the word go it was evident that singing is Steven's passion and we got straight down to the source of the voice - breath. Steven worked intensively with us on how singers breathe for maximum control and power, giving us a whole new understanding of how our breathing works. He introduced us to that wonderful set of muscles that all of us use but few are aware of - the diaphragm.
For some of us learning to breathe in a different way was a challenge, and quite a few 'a-ha!' moments were apparent as he went round the circle working with each person. The voice, as Steven says, is a musical instrument and needs to be understood and respected as such. When all fourteen musical instruments were warmed up, powered up and in tune, Steven let us loose on a song - Bill Withers' classic Lean On Me.

For the second half of the workshop we worked on this song in four-part harmony. Once we had learned the song, Steven took us to the next stage of musicianship - beyond just 'singing along' to a fully-focused performance. That meant hard work - concentrating, anticipating the next vocal phrase, staying aware of breath and posture, keeping the melody clear even though the person next to you is singing a different tune.

Photo: singing workshop
Harmony singing - Lean On Me

With his keen ear for what's working and what's not, Steven kept driving us to fine-tune our harmonies and timing and the result was fantastic - the hall echoed with fourteen voices singing as one. A great afternoon and we hope to hear some of these newly enhanced voice on the NFFC stage soon!

May Club Night

Photo: Greg with Kamel Ngoni

We started off with a good old singalong, Those Were the Days, followed by Greg J with an amazing instrument called a Kamel Ngoni. It's a 10-string harp from Mali in West Africa that uses a gourd as a resonator. Its pentatonic tuning makes for a quite 'other-worldly' sound - and one that also suits the blues, as Greg demonstrated with a Leadbelly song.

Photo: JulesLyn, Alison and Dharma got together for a rendition of Pay Me My Money Down which also got plenty of others singing and playing along. This led into a string of very impressive solo performances; Bruce with I Wish We Had Our Time Again, Simon with Deep River Blues, newcomer Jules with an original song, Rob D with Neil Young's classic Helpless, and Brendan with On the Sunny Side of the Street.

Then Greg and Mary picked up their fiddles and launched into When Irish Eyes are Smiling and Skye Boat Song. The fiddlers had a good workout later on too when the Newport Bush Orchestra played Rita Baker, Railway Hotel and a few other tunes from their repertoire.

Dave as usual made sure the poets were not forgotten with Henry Lawson's dramatic (and unfinished) poem Eureka.

Photo: Bill with Singing Treholipee Bill brought along another novelty ukelele, this time a Singing Treholipee. The story goes that the reason the instrument's head is so bizarrely elongated is so that you can stick it in the sand while surfing and the tuning pegs won't get gritty! It sure was a night for unusual instruments.

Neil gave us The Button Pusher, a satire on nuclear war, the swing musos certainly swung with Lady Be Good and Rob D returned with I Would Rather Have Your Love, accompanying himself on the banjo. And then before we knew it, it was eleven o'clock and time for The Parting Glass. Another great night of music and convivial company!


April Club Night

With this event taking place on ANZAC Day, the tragedy of war was on our minds and quite a few songs carried this theme through the night. Alan kicked things off with Eric Bogle's And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda, and later in the evening Rick followed up with Eric's other great song of war No Man's Land. These two songs would have to be amongst the most powerful and compassionate songs ever written about the horror and futility of war. Dharma gave another perspective with Mothers, Daughters, Wives, Judy Small's wonderful song about the often-forgotten sacrifices made by women in wartime... well the song is about more than that, see the lyrics.

It wasn't all 'doom and gloom' by any means. Bill livened things up with Dream a Little Dream of Me on the uke, Danny gave us a uke version of Live and Let Die, Moira's sister (sorry, forgot her name) got us all singing along with Donna Donna and Hallelujah (the lyric sheets helped a lot). Neil sang a rollicking song dedicated to the potency of a certain type of cider called Johnny Jump-up. Greg O gave us a rare solo fiddle treat - a beautiful Irish air called The Coolin, which he then segued into The Wedding of Lachlan McGraw. And there was poetry too, the Australian classics The Lights of Cobb and Co and Mulga Bill's Bicycle from Dave and The Ballad of Cowheel Lou from Danny. There was plenty more too, see the video below.


Bill playing the Polk-a-Lay-Lee

The prize for most unusual instrument of this - or any other - night would have to go to Bill for his Polk-a-Lay-Lee. It's a bizarre novelty ukulele from the 1960s (see photo). Have a look also at Bill's YouTube video. Bill and Greg J between them got through 3 Warren Zevon songs over the course of the night - is this a record? Stay tuned, Bill has a Singing Treholipee on order too!

Then there was Rob's superb jazz version of Waltzing Matilda, Simon with his "foreign language" song (actually Scottish dialect) and Leonie with Dance Me to the End of Love and Moondance, before the traditional Parting Glass at about 11:00, finishing only with a few plugs for coming events - the Saturday music workshops over the next few weeks and of course the Newport Fiddle and Folk Festival on 4,5 and 6 July.

See you next month!

March Club Night

There were lots of singers and musos ready and willing to perform so it was one or two songs each and then on to the next person. I'm writing this a week later so things are a bit hazy but Suanna and Moira gave us a beautiful Ashokan Farewell on the fiddles with lots of other instruments joining in, Greg H as usual obliged with a lovely instrumental piece, Christine and Jackie kept the ukulele flag flying with a bracket of songs, Danny sang - what else? - Danny Boy in his superb tenor voice, and there were many more.

Alan started a bit of a bushranger theme with Streets of Forbes, a song about the notorious Ben Hall, carried on by Dave with the Banjo Paterson poem How Gilbert Died. (John Gilbert, Ben Hall and others are said to have carried out Australia's largest ever gold robbery, at Eugowra in 1862.)

NFFC newcomer Brendan sang a couple of songs and also provided a few guitar solos through the night, as did Greg and Michael. Neil got us all singing along with the chorus of...whatever that song was...and right through the evening people seemed to be choosing songs that everyone knew, so there was lots of joining in. Another great evening at the NFFC!

Brendan Ukulele crew

Christine Maryanne

Bush Dance

The Bush Dance was great fun, with lots of dancers despite the heat and a wonderful time had by all. See videos below.




February Club Night

Another great night of music with lots of familiar faces and a few new ones too. Our guests of honour were John and Glenice all the way from Colbinabbin; a few of us have stayed with them on our visits to Colbo so it was great to see them down here in Newport.

Lucky there was plenty of room inside the circle of chairs as a few of us couldn't stay sitting down when the Heel and Toe Polka was played and soon there were dancers everywhere!

...and more dancing!

Rob giving the 5-string banjo a tickle

Colbinabbin Australia Day

Once again the city met the bush at Colbinabbin with Newport musos getting together with the locals for a musical afternoon (and evening!) at the Colbinabbin Hotel. See below for videos and full report.

The fifth annual Australia Day Celebrations in Colbinabbin was a hoot - bigger and better than the previous 4 years with more performers, more people and a lot longer session. THat's the summary - now what actually happened? We got to Colbo about 2.00 and there was about 5 people in the pub - not a great omen on what was a hot country day. What else to do but try the Guinness that Bernie had on tap - a beautiful drop to get things going. Soon enough there was Alan and Greg, Steve and Suanna , Christine and Leonie with instruments and it was on.

We started off with a few fiddle tunes and like the pied piper, the music seemed to attract more and more people. We had a couple of brackets - Uncle Derm did Danny Boy and Paddy McGinty's Goat, and the Irish Washerwoman on the mouth-organ, Brian Scanlan was good for a few Irish songs (Athen Rye and Galway Bay) and local musos Tony Spezzica, Paul Stewart and Maurice Frawley got up and did a set of Maurice's songs. Then Greg, Suanna Steve and Michael did a few swing tunes (I Can't Give You Anything But Love and others) and they were joined by Georgina and Uncle Derm who did a few more and then Alison joined in with vocals and uke. There was a real good vibe, the crowd seemed to be growing and it seemed like a good time was had by all when we called it a day at 5.30. Of course there were a few more songs from Uncle Derm and then we finished the show - though we did say that seeing the PA was still working anyone was free to get up and play.

Well this was an offer too good to refuse and so we had whole other show start up - there was still a bit in the Guinness keg and so the musos were able to keep their stamina up. To cut a long story short the crowd stayed till about 8.30 (after eating pizzas delivered from Rochester) and different combinations of the players kept going untill just after 11! A couple of pieces were rehearsed, a few were played with music on stands and the rest were all improvised.

I think Greg got the prize for playing the longest (about 90% of the 8 hours that was played) and so when he retired his hand (and his whole body) was just about done in. Simon Dew, who had spent most of the afternoon sipping the local brew and enjoying the music, got into the spirit of things later and so he was still singing and playing after most (including the hosts) had retired. It was a great night and a group who were enjoying the local hospitality with John and Glenys got up the next morning and had another decent session after breakfast and a morning coffee. A good trip indeed and we look forward to Australia Day next year.

2007 Annual Report

Full report on our activities in 2007 and looking forward to 2008.

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