2017 in review

Musica Viva: Mara! play at the launch of the new studio

In September, Mara! were very proud to perform at the new premises that is home to Musica Viva. Sporting a beautiful new studio, with great acoustics, and a larger office space, MV has moved their headquarters from Surry Hills to Zetland, near Green Square.
With many staff and friends of Musica Viva in attendance, Llew and Mara, Paul Cutlan and Sandy Evans performed with our great friend and colleague Steve Elphick at this gala event.

Martenitsa at Sydney Sacred Music Festival

At a sold out Glebe Town Hall on September 17, Martenitsa Choir with soloist Silvia Entcheva, performed ancient and modern Bulgarian music incorporating sacred traditions and rituals, accompanied by Mara & Llew Kiek on tapan and bouzouki and Vasili Haralambous on gaida.
This was a unique coming together of three of Sydney’s leading Balkan cultural groups: Dusha Balkana’s Macedonian Dance; Koleda CFC’s Bosnian tepsia singing tradition, and Martenitsa Choir working together to showcasethe unique sacred inspired dance and music from the Balkans.
We are aiming to present this beautiful program in 2018 at Parramatta Riverside Theatres.

Mara! at Foundry 616

Mara! returned to the Foundry in Ultimo for a March 2017 show. 
Guest artist Ron Reeves joined the band on darabukka and kenjira, and played a set of Hungarian dances on the firulye, his Hungarian wooden flute. Jen Dornan led the more adventurous audience members in some Hungarian dancing!

From Sydney Morning Herald September 4 2016, reviewing our first show at the Foundry:

"....different sound-worlds kept opening up like fresh vistas on a maritime journey."

"Ultimately it is the collective imaginative responses to its influences that makes Mara! such a bright jewel in Australia's world-music crown."

Read the full review here


Mara! tours Queensland schools for Musica Viva

The Mara! band made 2 highly successful Musica Viva tours in 2017: Central Queensland and Wide Bay Burnett in June, and to Brisbane, Logan and Gold Coast regions in November. Regular schools member Tim Clarkson and bassist Dave Ellis joined Mara and Llew for these tours.
Mara! also toured schools in Sydney's Met East and Met South West regions in the latter half of the year. Sam Gill and Loretta Palmeiro shared the regular 5th chair in Sydney, with Dave Ellis and Steve Elphick covering the bass chair. Brendan Clarke (pictured) our dear friend and long term colleague, moved to Canberra mid year, and Evan Harris is currently studying in New York.
NB. There has been a change to the Musica Viva In Schools touring format for the Mara! Ensemble in 2017 and 2018.
For NSW metropolitan school shows, Mara! continue performing with their regular quintet line up.
For regional and interstate tours, Mara! now travel as a quartet.

Some unusual gigs

In November, Mara & Llew headed to Bangkok to perform at a major fundraising event in aid of South East Asian Action for Diabetes organisation A4D.

A4D is a UK based charity whose aim is to save and transform lives in South-East Asia by providing essential support to young people with Type 1 Diabetes. They have chosen to work in South East Asia because thousands of young people with Type 1 Diabetes still die every year in the region due to poor diagnosis and insufficient treatment opportunities.

In October the Blacktown Arts Centre presented the Mara! trio (Mara, Llew and Paul Cutlan) at Beats and Bites at the Blacktown Village Green, in collaboration with Create NSW.

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