Well, another National Folk Festival has come and gone – and I thought I’d share some of my personal highlights. Firstly it was great to meet up with so many old friends from interstate – including most of the former Mucky Duck members who I played with in the early-mid 1980s.

I got to a number of concerts in between music sessions in the Session Bar.

Vin Garbutt – I last saw him in 1980 in Perth Western Australia and he has just got better over the years – more political edge to his songs, and hilarious repartee. I bought his CD “Plugged” just because it had “Man of the Earth” on it.

Danish band Faerd played some great traditional Danish music and Swedish polskas… the combination of Peter Uhrlbrand’s fiddle playing (also lively in the Session bar!) with Eskil Romme’s saxaphone and Jens Ulsvand’s bouzouki was stunning

The Session Bar proved popular and I had some great sessions with Bob McInnes, Scott and Louisa Wise, and Chris Duncan

And Butch Hooper and I played at the Merry Muse to a great audience – really responsive and ready to party!

The Genticorum concerts were wonderful – I love the fiddle player’s foot percussion and the trio’s great harmonies. But one thing puzzles me… are all Quebec folk songs about food and sex or some combination of the two? I loved the story about the fiddle’s time out in the winery, slinking back home to its case after a night on the town with a ukelele :-D and how when the fiddler picked it up again, he was playing tunes even he didn’t know and at twice the pace!

Trouble in the Kitchen started in Canberra a few years ago and have gone from strength to strength. I love the new direction they are taking their music. The tune “The Darkroom Fiddler” is on my must learn list. And I bought the last copy of their CD. My apologies for the poor photo quality.

Other highlights were David LaMotte and Liz Frencham – David’s guitar work was fantastic

I ran into “Gurdy Girl” Jane Ruckert playing a nyckelharpa – a kind of Swedish bowed hurdy gurdy – and we swapped instruments for a play – she on my hardingfele (eight-string Norwegian fiddle) and me on the nyckelharpa. Suffice to say I have increased my respect for nyckelharpa players – but what an awesome sound!

And speaking of amazing instruments, I saw this hurdy gurdy in the session bar

The sessions were terrific

And after trying one of David Guscott’s violins I decided that I needed an octave violin – so I bought some octave strings for my electric fiddle and mmmm love that sound! – You’ll hear more of that on our website soon!

And I have a heap of tunes to learn :-)


Well folks – the National Folk Festival is on again right now – and you will be able to catch me in the Session Bar tomorrow from early til late :-)

I might even bring along my pochette… it’ll be a good test of its volume!

For those who haven’t been before, this is what the Session Bar looks and sounds like

What an amazing festival!! This one has to have been the best yet – The only downside was that my attempts at moblogging failed dismally, so here are my highlights of the festival – after the event.

a most unusual instrument

Key highlights were some great concerts – Martin Pearson’s satyrical recitation of the Lord of the Rings trilogy in two parts… Dingo’s Breakfast – especially the “Original Goon Show”; Nancy Kerr – an amazing fiddle player (My apologies Nancy if my anti-session caused you grief); Jane Brownlea’s band; the Wise Family Band (Scott Wise made my hardanger fiddle); and many more.

Other highlights included our ‘Anti-Session in the session bar – where we welcomed bodhran players and squeeze boxes, performed random stand-ups during the tunes, and then topped it off with literal musical chairs – getting up and wandering around and sitting down randomly where other musicians had been sitting – it was a no-frown celtic music session. Yes it was loud and raucous but everyone had a big grin and a laugh – after all music is all about enjoyment and never mind the odd random notes! Many came up afterwards and said it was the best session they’d ever played in – high praise indeed.


Other highlights included a couple of one-to-one sessions with Jane Brownlea – an awesome fiddle player; sessioning with Louisa Wise, Scott Wise and Jane Brownlea; performing a concert spot with the venerable Billy Moran – an Irish accordionist from Melbourne in his nineties and still going strong! Also jamming with some cayjun fiddlers; lots of guinness and sessioning until six AM most mornings.

jerry and Billy

One of the biggest surprises was finding another hardangerfiddle (hardingfele) – a genuine Norwegian eight string fiddle of the type mine was modelled on. So we played some Scandinavian tunes – and had the very great pleasure of Dave deHugaard joining in – and suggesting we all ge together for a spot of Scandinavian music at the next National Folk Festival.

hardanger fiddle

dueling hardangers
Dueling hardangers!

My own performances with Will-o-the-Wisp circus street performers (stilt walkers and associated characters) went very well and received a lot of attention throughout the festival – especially when we invaded the Session Bar!

Jerry and Julz - stilts

And finally, the many friends I caught up with from many years ago from Perth, Western Australia, and from Adelaide – along with the many new friends I met and the many new friends I haven’t met yet :-)

It was exhausting, but exhilarating!

jerry flaked

The Festival flu I came home with was a small price to pay!


Well, recording is coming along – very happy with the results so far. Here are a couple of images from our preliminary recording session live at the National Folk Festival in Canberra, Australia:

Full Circle Band in concert

and a more intense moment :-)

Full Circle Band in concert

Jerry (Canberra, Australia)


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