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Biography

Member Biographies & History of Shenanigans Band

Gary

Gary

Gary founded the group in 1980, together with two music teacher colleagues, and became band leader and administrator. He had discontinued his Science degree due to ethical concerns, and committed to music and dance education. He has been a dancer, musician and writer of children’s songs, and completed a Masters of Education in Creative Classroom Music Teaching. As a keen contradancer and caller, together with fiddler, Maggie Duncan, he created the Contradition dance club in Melbourne around 2005.

See https://www.facebook.com/Contradition

Gary produced for the Shenanigans group 10 collections of dances and music in CD format.  He plays guitar, and mandolin in the bush band  and also ethnic folk instruments including bouzouki, hurdy gurdy and Swedish bagpipes and has been secretary of a community “gypsy orchestra” (see https://www.facebook.com/orkeztra )

Merrily

Merrily

Merrily is a musician who loves to communicate with others through her music. After falling in love with the sound of the Shakuhachi at age 11, she began learning flute and has recently completed a Bachelor of Music Performance, majoring in flute. Singing is, however, her favorite mode of expression. Merrily has sung with her twin sister Ginger from a young age and has continued to sing with choirs such as Berwick Youth Choir, Exaudi Youth Choir, Gondwana Chorale and most recently Melbourne Singers of Gospel and Co-cheòl. She has travelled Europe and New Zealand with Gondwana, and has participated in festivals around Australia with all of her groups. These experiences have enabled her to share her love of many diverse types of music and singing with audiences and like-minded musos and she would love to continue to show more people the joy to be found in music.

Ginger

Ginger

Ginger began her musical journey in choirs. From Berwick Youth Choir (now Melbourne Youth Chorale) to nation-wide choirs like Gondwana, she developed a strong love for music and the community-mindedness it creates. In 2014, she discovered folk music, complex and yet unpretentious. As a founding member of Celtic group Co-cheòl, she has played at many festivals around the country and been exposed to the best of what folk music offers – warmth, joy, understanding, and connection with the people and place. Recent friendships promise to endure for a lifetime, with a feeling that anything is possible.

Terry

Terry

Terry has been a faithful friend of the Shenanigans group in recent years while Gary was recovering from a stem cell transplant. Terry has an illustrious record as a multi-instrumentalist musician and multi-dimensional circus performer in
Festivals, Schools and Corporate Events since 1982.
He currently teaches violin, recorder and keyboards
and is musical director of the Footscray Gypsies –
a 20+ piece Euro, Balkan, Klezmer, Gypsy Orchestra.

Instruments Played:
Violin, Mandolin, Recorder, Guitar, Piano,
Didgeridoo, Flute, Clarinet, Saxophones.

Has performed at:

Port Fairy Folk Festival from 1986-2016 (with a few exceptions.)
World Expo 1988
Australia Festival Istanbul. 1990.
Artist in Residence in over 10 schools every year.
Singapore Kite Festival 2013.
Corporate Function Bands, Bush Bands, Jazz Bands
Australia-wide since 1982.
Scienceworks Museum 2001-2, 2004, 2006 ,2012

Here is a link to some footage:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxddcIIsgVM.

Maggie

Maggie

Maggie is a classical violinist reborn as a traditional fiddler. She studied classical violin with Paul McDermott (former concertmaster with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra), and piano with Jos Serré. She holds an Associate Diploma from the London College of Music, and is an experienced Primary teacher with a Master of Education and a Graduate Diploma in music education from Monash University.

Maggie pursues her love of Irish, Scottish, American and Australian traditional fiddle music. She is well known as a teacher of traditional fiddle, and conducts regular fiddle workshops. In addition to her key role in Shenanigans Band, she can be found playing violin in various dance bands, sessions and concerts around Melbourne and at folk festivals.

Some recent performances include

  • Nariel Folk Festival, Vic
  • Cygnet Folk Festival, Tasmania
  • Victorian Folk Music Club Bush Dance
  • Colonial Dancers Spring Ball
  • Assumption College, Kilmore, Vic, senior students’ bush dance
  • Molly Malone Hotel, Devonport, Tas.
  • Inverloch Jazz Festival, Vic
  • Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival, NSW
  • Fiddlehead Festival, Yinnar, Vic
  • Mountain Pickers Association club night
  • Contradition Contra Dance series, Northcote & Malvern, Vic.

 

Publications and recordings include

  • Maggie Duncan and Norm Adams – Introduction to Old-Time Fiddle (2001) – book and double CD set.
  • Maggie Duncan – Chestnut Street Orchestra: Dance Tunes for Two Fiddles (2014)
  • High Times String Band – Good Time Coming  (1990); Way Down the Track (2001)
  • Appalachian Heaven String Band – In the Pines (2010); Railroadin’ &Gamblin(2011); Been All Around This World (2012)
  • Eileen McCoy – Apple Isle Fiddler (2002)
  • Shenanigans Dance Band – Folk Dances of Terra Australis
  •  John Rasmussen –  October Moon (2010)
Steve

Steve

Steve has been playing Bush music since he was a spring chicken. As well as performing with Shenanigans Band, he has played guitar, sung and called bush dances in The Moondance Band, Bush Remedy, Eucalypso, and The Warner Brothers. He also has two solo albums to his credit.

Matthew

Matthew

Matthew is an accomplished violinist who plays many and mixed styles.He is regarded by bush band players as a multi-purpose fiddler. He loves Gypsy Jazz ,Indian, Celtic and Bach with a Debussy side salad.

His musical speciality is improvisation.  He has played on many film and TV soundtracks and worked with many well-known artists in addition to many years with Shenanigans, but he can’t stand name-dropping.

Fans should note the following recommendation:- checking out a performance with Matthew is a worthy undertaking.

Ian

Ian

Ian is an amazing all-rounder with a great deal of experience in bush bands. He plays fiddle and mandolin, and also sings and plays guitar.

His tremendous talent is quietly maturing under a mantle of amiability and humility.

Cat

Cat

Catherine, until recently our youngest member, was actually a music student of Gary’s when she was 4 years old! And she has been playing music ever since, on clarinet and piano accordion, keeping street music alive in the beachside suburb of Black Rock for the last eight years with the Black Rock Street Musos, who play a range of folk and trad jazz for the passers-by. 

Cat is currently on leave, having recently given birth to her second child, but we expect more delights in future from her wonderful contributions to the group, drawing on a well built foundation of diligence and enthusiasm for the group’s dance music.

Dave

Dave

David is a veteran in both the music and the education industries, working for over 40 years in schools and in different combos, performing everything from Jazz, Blues and Celtic to Rock and Pop, mainly in Victoria. He is principally a bass guitarist but also plays 6 and 12 string guitars, ukuleles and keyboards, and sings masterfully. He has also worked in audio/production at several venues and studios.

As a composer, David has won awards in the Labour Day Song contest, the Australian Songwriters Assoc. contest and the Unisong International Song Contest (Amnesty International). He has composed music, songs and soundtracks for St Martins Youth Theatre, the Victorian Arts Council, Training Films and music courses. He has worked as a staff writer and arranger for Bushfire Press, Melbourne-based International Performing Arts Publishers. He is currently co-writing a musical drama for performance.

Since 2006, after retiring as a classroom teacher, he has continued to work in Education as a producer of school musicals, whilst also performing in small combos in a variety of genres at venues around Melbourne and Victoria and at ukulele and world music festivals in country Victoria, NSW and Queensland.

In 2006, David set up a recording studio in the Dandenong Ranges and has conducted many recording projects over the last 11 years including producing and arranging albums and demos not only for himself and invited musicians, but also for up-and-coming young singer-songwriters.

Micah

Micah

Micah, Gary’s youngest son, has not surprisingly, developed a passion for playing music. But what kind of music? His interests grow before your very eyes like a fresh young bamboo sprout.

In the process of completing his year 12 in music at the Northern College of Arts and Technology, he created a neo-punk band called “Pique”, and won a recording contract to produce an EP (see ShenanigansMusic.com.au for all our artists CDs) which features stirring and feisty renditions of his original lyrics and musical compositions.

Now less than a year later, whilst waitering in the Horn of Africa  restaurant he has gleaned influences from a band that plays “Ethiopean Hip-Hop/Jazz”, he is about to debut a new band which can be loosely defined as playing “jazz and reggae” and has also taken up tenor saxophone, and permacultural/horticultural design. He is one to watch.

Tony

Tony

Multi instrumentalist, arranger and recording artist AJ Leonard is one of Australia’s pioneer ukulele players and is considered to be among the best in this world.

A “Baby-boomer”, AJ spent his formative years (in the early sixties) in America and returned to Australia in time for the British beat invasion and the coming of age of Australian pop and rock. His desire to emulate his heroes led him to trade in his father’s tennis racket for a real guitar, the first step toward self-expression and a future in showbiz. A few years later, an interest in string instruments led him to mandolin, ukulele and bouzouki, closely followed by piano. 

AJ has drawn inspiration from the qualities of these instruments to create a pipeline of creativity, expressing his unique slant on songwriting and composition.

Meanwhile his talent on goals and 12 string guitar is an essential ingredient in Shenanigans band dance events.