Cygnet Folk Festival

On Friday 8th January the festival hosts masterclasses from some of the most qualified teachers of their craft:
11am to 3.30pm Friday 8th January - $60 full price or $50 earlybird booked online.

Georgian Songs with Nino Tsitsishvili and Joseph Jordania

Nino Tsitishvili is an Australian–Georgian ethnomusicologist, researcher, writer, music teacher, and choir leader. She studied at the Tbilisi State Conservatoire in Georgia but gained her PhD at Monash Uni after she came to Australia in 1995. She has held positions at Monash Uni and Melbourne Uni and teaches Georgian choir songs at Melbourne Polytechnic.

Recently she has been leading the Melbourne Georgian Choir in preparation for concerts in Australia and Georgia. Nino is also a rock music aficionado. She has added Georgian spice to some pop and rock favourites. 

Joseph Jordania is an Australian-Georgian ethnomusicologist and evolutionary musicologist and professor.

He is an Honorary Fellow of the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music at the University of Melbourne and the Head of the Foreign Department of the International Research Centre for Traditional Polyphony at Tbilisi State Conservatory.

He is known for his model of the origins of human choral singing in the wide context of human evolution and was one of founders of the International Research Centre for Traditional Polyphony in Georgia. He is a fine guitarist, an expert on the Beatles and loves nothing more than singing with friends. 

Joseph has broad academic interests including the study of worldwide distribution of choral polyphonic traditions, origins of choral singing, and the cross-cultural prevalence of stuttering and dyslexia. His primary expertise is Georgian and Caucasian traditional music and vocal polyphony. He has had five books published, including “Why do People Sing? Music in Human Evolution" (Logos, 2011)

Fiddle tunes from East Coast Canada with Tim Chaisson from The East Pointers

As one of the famous PEI ‘Chaisson family’, Tim is a multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter who has been part of his family’s Celtic ensembles practically since he was born!

He has also amassed an impressive number of awards and accolades, including COCA Emerging Artist of the Year and Music PEI Touring Artist of the Year in 2012, on top of being chosen as Musical Director for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s highly-publicized Royal Visit to PEI in 2011.

Nominated for four East Coast Music Awards in 2013, including Entertainer of the Year, Chaisson recently celebrated his first ECMA win for Roots/Traditional Solo Artist of the Year.

An extremely gifted performer, Chaisson has always shone brightest from the stage.   And regardless of whether he’s joined by a full band or simply his fiddle, guitar, or mandolin, Chaisson makes his craft look absolutely effortless – the mark of a true artist.

This masterclass will focus on repertoire and technique from PEI and Cape Breton, looking at tunes new and old; with various ornamentation. Learn an old tune from PEI or a new tune from The East Pointers. Suited for fiddle players of a more advanced skill level, very comfortable playing tunes at full-speed, and learning quickly by ear.

Gypsy Jazz Guitar with Jon Delany from La Mauvaise Réputation

Jon Delaney is known as one of Australia's most talented gypsy jazz guitarists. He began his performance career in 1994, and has gone on to perform all over Australia in his Jon Delaney Trio and as a sideman with countless other acts. He graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts in 2005, and alongside his performance schedule, teaches guitar at a tertiary level.

He spent 2008 playing in and around Berlin, and has also performed in the United Kingdom and Canada. In 2011 he travelled to Belgium to study with manouche legend Fapy Lafertin.

Embodying Stories with Niki na Meadhra

Niki na Meadhra is a professional storyteller, theatre artist and Creative Director of Hearth Tales. Her storytelling practice emerged at Abbotsford Convent, where she hosted Enchanted Evening, a night of traditional tales and A Night with Mother Nyx, stories exploring the dark side of the Feminine. Niki has 30 years’ experience in storytelling, acting, directing and Arts education. She performs in corporate, educational and community settings.

Passionate about her Irish ancestry, abundant in potent legends and folklore, she powerfully engages audiences of all ages in stories with wisdom and joy.

In this storytelling workshop we will;  Explore, with expert guidance and feedback, skills in both contemporary & traditional oral storytelling. Take away activities, skills & resources that you can apply in your classroom, organisation or storytelling practice.

Niki has worked as an actor, director and storyteller for 30 years and has taught performing arts for over 25 years in settings including Melbourne and Deakin Universities, and University High School. 

Her storytelling practice, Hearth Tales, began in the Abbotsford Convent Arts Precinct, where she hosted Enchanted Evening: A Night of Traditional Stories, for two years.

Alexander Technique with Sheila Hale

Musicians, singers, dancers and actors have long been at the forefront of those benefiting from the Alexander Technique.  This fact is not surprising in view of the many benefits it offers:  regained natural grace and poise, injury prevention, a greater awareness and control of the mind/body, a truly free and supportive breath, and the means to realize one's full creative and performance potential.

The Alexander Technique is a form of embodied mindfulness incorporating an integration of postural support, movement and the breath.  It is also of great benefit to athletes, trades persons, people with injuries and those in sedentary jobs who work with phones and computers.

This masterclass will be primarily experiential and active.  Sheila will introduce some basic Alexander principles, and you will practise applying them to various activities. As she teaches using her hands to guide, there will be the opportunity to experience a new lightness and freedom in movement.

Participants will gain a knowledge of some of the tools and skills available to bring about a positive change and to explore a new way of being in the world.



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