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Fig Night 27 March 2015

Ed Wells
Gleny Rae Virus & the Playboys
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20 year old Sydneysider Ed Wells has recently found himself making an impression in both the UK and his homeland of Australia. The young singer/songwriter spent much of 2014 in the UK, performing a number of showcase gigs, including a spot on stage at the world famous Troubadour Club in London where Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Paul Simon, Elvis Costello and Adele have all performed.

It has been a formative and inspiring period for Ed, whose time growing up between London, Hong Kong and Sydney has further helped shaped his song-writing and musical style. Ed combines a dark, yet powerful voice with highly accomplished piano skills and a level of songwriting skill and maturity that belies his age.

He describes his style as an eclectic mix of alternative folk/soul/pop with musical influences such as Jeff Buckley, Ben Howard, Vance Joy and Matt Corby. Australia’s respected The AU Review described him as a husky voiced piano man par excellence…(with) a voice that would melt butter (April 2014).

After attracting attention from several labels in the UK, Ed returns to Australia in early 2015 to release his new single ‘Sparrow and Seed’, accompanied by some select East Coast shows. ‘Sparrow and Seed’ is from Ed’s upcoming first long-play release, slated for release in mid-2015. Smart, accomplished and quite beautiful, the single gives you an indication of the many talents of this promising young artist.


Swing not bling, grease not dust, laughter not tears, beer not whiskey, two step not boot scooting.

Gleny Rae Virus and her Playboys – Dougie Bull (bullfiddle) and Robbie Long (guitar and mandolin) - are taking a leaf from the book of Ray Charles by experimenting with modern sounds within an old genre. Each performance starts with hillbilly swing then moves seamlessly through gypsy jazz, bluegrass, western and blues. Add a good dose of cheeky innuendo and some tales from Gleny's western NSW upbringing, and you have an entertaining package of hillbilly swing music from Newcastle via Austin Texas!




The music of ARABESK follows many paths at any one time. Like a river it is fed from many different tributaries to form the whole, drawing upon strong jazz influences... Django Reinhardt, Wes Montgomery, Eastern European Gypsy/Classical music, upon a backdrop of heavily African and Arabic influenced rhythms. At any moment it will swing hard, only to drop into a thick funk pumped bassline, all the while the violin floating above it. The drums hammer and thunder beats reminiscent of Motown, Blue Note and Afro Cuban jazz.

Past performance highlights include top billing at the Takatsuki Jazz Festival in Japan, performing at the Sydney Fringe and Blue Mountain festivals and winning Best Instrumental Track at the Australian Songwriters Association Awards.

With a wealth of musical experience it is little wonder ARABESK are such a powerhouse of invention and innovation, fused with constant hypnotic rhythms and laced with the lushness of violins and guitars, their music has been likened to a series of “conversations across the ages” where all kinds of traditions converge into a modern day celebration of intoxicating global grooves. ARABESK bring their own brand of original Australian world music that never fails to thrill the soul with every performance.

"Four cheeky men in hats is how a female friend described the band Arabesk, in concert at the Mitchell Conservatorium of Music in Bathurst last Friday night. Cheeky would not be a term I would use for an all male band but it does describe this group pretty well. Excellent musicianship with lots of movement bordering on acrobatics from violinist Veren Grigorov.

Four very talented, wordly experienced musicians delivered their style of European gypsy soul. The set started with a classic 3/4 time gypsy waltz which put us all on the runway and ready for take off, and take off we did…the band took us on a rollercoaster ride with their music, soaring high before levelling off and then diving over the rooftops with a drumming duel between drummer Calvin Welch and Rob Shannon playing dharabuka (small steel drum). Arabesk  is based in Sydney and was formed by Veren Grigorov (violin) and Rob Shannon (guitar) in 2003 and includes bassist James Haselwood and Michigan born drummer Calvin Welch.

Veren’s violin gave us an inspired gypsy soul sound and Welch’s powerful jazz drumming helped the band take on a style of their own."   Bill Browne. Mitchell Conservatorium



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