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Fig Night 28 August 2015

Duets (Ainsley & Steve Apirana)
Fiona Boyes
Brad Johns band
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Duets combines the voices of Steve and Ainsley, the guitar expertise of Steve and the occasional whistle and flute from Ainsley.

We play regularly in cafes, halls, churches, prisons, schools, and at house concerts, traveling anywhere we are invited. Depending on the requirements of the venue and of the audience we sing a variety of covers and a selection of our own music from six albums recorded over the last twenty five years.

Steve Apirana is one of the finest gospel musicians currently working in Australasia. He is a gifted communicator, highly skilled guitarist and vocalist, with an extraordinary sense of humour. Specialising in blues and gospel, he has played alongside Daddy Cool, Black Sabbath, Split Ends, Osibisa, Fairport Convention and Average White Band, as part of the seventies band Butler. He was one of The Velvettes, sixties spoof rock band from Christchurch and has toured solo for more than twenty years as far afield as the UK, USA, and Europe. Steve captivates audiences in a way that very few can. His honesty, self - depreciating humour and excellent musicianship has audiences totally absorbed. He has released four albums over the many years of his career, the latest, This Wretched Man, in November 2011.

Ainsley is known for her performances with Steve but is herself a singer and songwriter. She recorded her first album, Autumn in 2001 and has just released a new album – Cappuccinos and Vanilla Squares. Our aim is to encourage and uplift. Our stories and songs tell of thirty years as musicians on the road, thirty years of marriage and all the triumphs and struggles we have met along the way.

Australian Blues guitarist and singer, Fiona Boyes, has been variously described by reviewers as a ‘musical anomaly’, ‘Bonnie Raitt’s evil twin’, or simply as ‘scaring the hell out of me’.   How did this fair-haired gal become an internationally recognised and awarded recording and touring artist?   How did she come to be the first woman and non-American to win the International Blues Challenge in Memphis?   Why did some of the great Mississippi Delta and Chicago blues giants, such as the late Pinetop Perkins and Hubert Sumlin, choose to describe her as one of the best women guitar players since Memphis Minnie, record on her albums, and share stages with her at international Blues festivals?   How does it come about that the Mayor of Clarksdale, Mississippi, birthplace of the Blues, should present Fiona with the ‘Key To The City’, recognising her as an Aussie ambassador of the Blues?

The answer lays partly in Fiona’s striking and original talent; she writes, sings and plays just about anything in the Blues realm with passion and authenticity.   It is also her immersion in the wide musical and historical traditions that make up the Blues and her deep love of the art-form itself.

Fiona has been recording and performing internationally for more than 25 years, building a career that has taken her to major festivals and stages in Australia, New Zealand, North America and Europe.   A veteran recording artist with 13 releases, 6 international award winning albums, 4 successive Blues Music Award nominations in 4 different categories, 15 Australian Blues awards, as well as a string of accolades in the folk, jazz, and Americana scene, Fiona has carved out a well deserved reputation as a guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and band leader.

Equally at home on acoustic or electric guitars, her repertoire is like a Blues travelogue.   Listen to her play and you’ll hear pre-war Delta slide, wailing laments, single chord Mississippi Hills grooves, intricate and beautiful Piedmont finger picking, rollicking New Orleans barrelhouse, greasy Memphis soul, driving classic Chicago sounds, the country stylings of Texas swing, and the uptown sounds of the West Coast.

Constantly touring, Fiona divides her time between Australia, Nth America, and Europe.   Her home-away-from home is Portland, Oregon, as she follows the Festival seasons in both hemispheres.   When she’s back in Australia, Fiona lives in Gippsland with her husband Steve, a social activist and Anglican priest, and between them they share the joys of five children and eight grandchildren.

'I ain't never heard a woman finger-pick a guitar like that since Memphis Minnie. She's the best gal guitar player I heard in more than 35 years.'
- Delta pianist & Blues Hall of Fame legend 'Pinetop' Perkins


With a successful music career spanning over 20 years, Brad Johns has worked with many of Australia's finest musicians such as Tommy Emmanuel, Phil Emmanuel, Jackie Orszaczky, Doug Williams, Craig Calhoun, Rex Goh, Kevin Bennett, Kirk L'Orange, Lee Kernaghan, Ian Moss and members of bands including 'Moving Pictures' and '1927'.

Brad is also well known from his years as frontman for The Nevilles - the resident band for the Channel 9 Footy Show.

As a singer and guitarist, his talents are highly regarded by both his musical peers and venue managers alike. Playing solo gigs around the Sydney pub/club scene has earned Brad the reputation of being a 'Musician's Musician'. Known as 'The Walking Jukebox', crowds love testing his ability to play almost any song on request.

Brad has the ability to read an audience and play to their age and tastes. His aim is to always keep the audience entertained and wanting more.



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