"The Bridge Project"
At the interface between the three major Abrahamic religions, Christianity, Islam and Judaism, conflict has reigned for centuries. There have been few if any enduring times when adherents to these faiths lived together harmoniously. Much violence has been committed in the name of each of the Gods worshiped. Yet the beauty of people whose birthright was within each of these faiths is also undeniable. What could be if and when people originating from these beginnings could get together in the spirit of creative endeavor rather than on the battlefield?
Three did: Ittai Shaked from Israel is a Jew by birth, Umit Ceyhan from Turkey but now a refugee living in France is a Moslem by birth, Andy Busuttil originally from Malta but now an Australian Citizen is a Catholic Christian by birth. The music contained within the experience and influences of each one was brought together and the union generated a set of compositions and arrangements that are unique and beautiful. Proof that we can as a race get together in harmony and melody. This was the birth of The Bridge Project. Their CD ‘Three Waves Under The Bridge’ was recorded over the Internet at a time when none of them had met face to face. The whole album can be heard here on Soundcloud:http://www.
One of the tracks ‘Agladikca’ is unique Globally in that the first verse is sung in Turkish and the second in Hebrew. This was done during the time when Turkey and Israel were in conflict over the convoys to the Palestinian Territories from Turkey. The Bridge Project’s intent was to show that ordinary people have a great desire for peace and unity.
Two of the members, Andy and Ittai, have since met in Israel to launch the album. Now Umit and Andy will meet in Queensland to launch the album with Tunji Beier who has a Jewish heritage, Nawres Al Freh, an Iraqi living in Australia, Bertie McMahon and John Robinson. Bilge Ozgun will join them for a special treat of Turkish songs. Bilge will perform with Umit who is both a beautiful singer and strings player. They will play music from the Turkish traditions in a very special and engaging way. Tamara Taylor, well known for her dance performances and her leading role in the BAMEDAM and MEDAM camps will also be dancing with The Project.
The instruments represented on stage will be baglama, duduk, rabab, violin, clarinet, alto sax, various Linsey Pollak woodwinds, Irish whistles, oud, Balkan tambura, fretless bass, citern, tavil, kanjira, zarb, jaws harps, darabuka and the magnificent voices of Umit and Andy.
Skorba March 2013
Andy Busuttil, John Robinson, Bertie McMahon and Llew Kiek combine to bring you an exotic Mediterranean musical mosaic that transports you back to the sacred temples of Ancient Malta, a peaceful and extraordinarily advanced civilization. This spine tingling concert consist of spirit reviving vocals, heart pulsing percussion, awesome wind instruments combined with an arsenal of plucked strings. Thier first CD is Called Temples of Devotion. The band have new songs and instrumentals to please long term fans and the release of their new CD is Imminent. Skorba have played at many of Australias favourite music Festivals including the National Folk Festival & Blue Mountains Music Festival. The music of Skorba creates a rare atmoshere that stays with you for days to come.
Listen to the beauty of contemporary instruments such as the clarinet or Irish bouzouki, at other times the Balkan tamboura, Middle Eastern lute or the wooden saxophone, the flageolet and fretless bass, the darabuka, frame drum or the Turkish shawm but always Andy Busuttil’s soaring and majestic Maltese vocals that reach deep into your heart.
"I first encountered the passionate and remarkable sound of Skorba at the opening concert of the 2007 National Folk Festival in Canberra. The group transcends typical musical boundaries and seemed to get right inside me - extremely moving melodies, hypnotic rhythms and a doorway into not just the multi-faceted culture of Malta but a timeless and far-reaching musical tapestry. I knew Andy Busuttil could play extraordinary percussion but nothing prepared me for his beautiful singing - truly transporting and evocative beyond words."
Andy is a percussionist and vocalist of renown. Add to it his remarkable skills with a wide variety of wind instruments and the true picture of his flexibility and diversity of musical expression become apparent.
Andy was born in Kenya of Maltese parents. His cultural interests reflect the influences on his homeland of Malta. The tiny Archipelago which has been host to many cultures from around the Mediterranean, Europe, Asia Minor and the Balkans has soaked him in its history and is reflected in his music.
"While multiculturalism implies difference, transculturalism sings of the bridging between our cultures in such a way as to point to the origins with respect and, at the same time, to show what happens when cultures merge into a single entity. Transculturalism in Australian music is that beauty which comes about through this interaction between cultural backgrounds in a way that is uniquely our own." Andy
Since studying ethnomusicology under Michael Atherton and Kim Poole, as well as Turkish music with Sabahattin Agdagcik and his Turkish orchestra based in Sydney, John has performed in many cross cultural music projects ranging from Macedonian folk dance to orchestral suites, and music theatre.
John is a respected multi instrumentalist and music teacher. Specialising in the performance of Turkish and Arabic forms of music, John has performed cross-cultural music around Australia for the past 12 years at many of the nations arts and music festivals with groups and musicians such as Paul Jarman, Linsey Pollak, Mara Kiek, Renaissance Players, and Skorba.
(Also giving a workshop at Katoomba, Bathurst & Rylstone)
Plays a variety of stringed instruments including guitar, bass, ukulele, cittern, Irish bouzouki and mandolin. He is also a composer and arranger, specialising in interpreting traditional music styles for more contemporary instrumentations.
Bertie has performed in cross cultural bands for 20 years, including Latin American, Celtic, Spanish Sephardic, Middle Eastern and Balkan groups, and currently performs with Maltese/Meditteranean group Skorba. He studied Irish traditional music in Ireland in 2002.
Bertie has taught music extensively, from childhood music programs to instrument tuition and workshops. The workshops proposed for this project would be an excellent way to share some of our musical skills and passion, and enable participants to discover new connections and develop their own musical skills in new ways.
Contemporary arrangement and accompaniment for 'non-Western' music styles:
Traditional music from cultures the world over, such as from Middle Eastern, Balkan, Spanish, Latin, Celtic are often presented in more contemporary formats. 'Western' instruments, such as guitar and bass, may be used, with more dynamic and harmonic arrangements of traditional material.
This workshop would explore arrangement and sympathetic accompaniment skills for traditional music. It would include modal tunings and scales, harmonic embellishment, improvisation and dynamics.
(Also giving a workshop at Katoomba, Bathurst & Rylstone)
Llew is one of Australia’s foremost ethnic and medieval plucked string players, and has performed on acoustic and electric guitars, gittern, mandora, chittara, baglama, oud, bozouki, tambura and ukelele as well as midi keyboards and programming with several groups including his ARIA award-winning ensemble Mara! in 22 countries. Llew is also a distinguished record producer, composer and arranger with an extensive discography that includes theatre and motion picture soundtracks (“Babe: Pig in the City”, "Wog Boy 2", “Passion”, “Soft Fruit”, “Three Dollars” and the IMAX feature “Equus”), plus 6 ARIA nominations for CDs he has performed on or produced.
Llew is co-director of Sydney's Bulgarian style choir Martenitsa along side Mara Kiek and he has performed concerts in Australia and overseas with artists from Macedonia, Iran, Syria, Tibet, China, Bulgaria, India, Brittany, Turkey, Italy, Palestine, Israel, Chile, Taiwan and Iraq. While Llew has also produced, composed or recorded with many of these musicians, the main focus of his studies has been the music of Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
I give my wholehearted support to the Music of the World project. This is a well-conceived brief and proposes activities in the region west of the Blue Mountains. I have performed in Bathurst and on several occasions (including the Inland Sea of Sound festival ), and also in Rylstone a couple of years ago at a 40th birthday party, and I am aware of the thriving folk and world music scene in the region. The partnerships that are involved in this project and the quality of the musicians, who are among the finest in the world music arena in Australia, augur well for its success. Meg Benson is fast becoming one of the region's most enthusiastic promoters and organisers, with several events to her credit, and I commend the project unreservedly. Llew
Asymetric rhythms for all players
This workshop focuses on the "broken rhythms" of Balkan and middle eastern traditional music, with particular focus on accompaniment patterns, strumming styles and beat groupings. Ideal for plucked string players, but enlightening for all levels and instruments.