Monday, July 25, 2011

Lyrebird! A book from the heart.

Twelve years ago I visited the Healesville Sanctuary with my family and we were held captive by 'Nova' the resident male lyrebird. He danced and sang at our feet as if his life depended on it. And I suppose it does. Well ... the survival of his genes depends on his performance skills as it is through his singing and dancing he persuades a female to mate with him.

Since that time, and like a new convert, I have wanted to tell the world about this magical bird. And so now ... years later, I am doing just that.

I work very slowly - each word is polished, each sentence sounded. You can't write about a musician without attending to the musicality of your own language. The text for a picture book is almost done but I needed to visit Nova one more time and revisit the mountain home of the bird I'm writing about.

We drove up the Black Spur Road and turned down Archeron Way. Lyrebirds scuttled in front of the car. Every time we stopped and switched off the engine we could hear their full-throated singing. The Mountain Ash, the tallest flowering trees in the world, disappeared into the cloud and at times we found ourselves in a monochrome scene.

We called into Healesville and visited Nova. He was dancing when we arrived. When his keeper entered the enclosure with a bucket of wriggling food, he strode impressively passed us before taking to a branch and resuming his singing.

I'm counting the days until I can share with you my new book but in the meatime if you would like to hear a Lyrebird story and enjoy some archival footage of the first Lyrebird recorded and broadcast on the wirless click here.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Bernard Caleo: Melbourne Writer's Festival. 1 September 2011

Ted Smith's Kamishibai is off to the Melbourne Writer's Festival.

Ted, if you have been following the story, is my mate from the Newport Folk Club. Ted made this beautiful Kamishibai theatre to further my practice and to grow the storytelling scene in Melbourne.

Kamishibai, or 'paper theatre', is an old Japanese form of visual storytelling using beautiful illustrations and skilful narrative techniques.

Here's Bernard Caleo respectfully borrowing the Kamishibai for his presentation at Readings, No 4 in a series of talks and stories : What it is?
Details: Readings July 25

And then in September you can see him at the Melbourne Writer's Festival. In this session, Bernard Caleo will present kamishibai tales and share with the audience how to make and perform kamishibai back at school.
Details: Melbourne Writers Festival September 1

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Workshops for Child Care workers

How does one teach confidence and repertoire?

Well after a bit of a chat about storytelling we brainstormed as many rhymes and chants as we could remember and one at a time participants took to the chair and shared their knowledge.

Sitting on cushions and with the perspective of a small child we clapped, nodded and stomped away 2 hours.

As facilitator I was challenged keeping up with the pace and taking notes.

Several of the participants were new to this centre and fearless in their willingness to have a go.

To an outsider we must have looked quite nutty but there is no doubt in my mind that PD days like this are a fabulous time to refresh and expand.

These workers are passing on some of the oldest pieces of our oral culture and adding new bits on the way.

My head felt like it had been in the washing machine when it was all over!!!

WORDS WORDS WORDS. Newport Folk Festival 2011

It was my happy task to organise and co host with Greg Jenkins, WORDS WORDS WORDS 2011 for the Newport Folk Festival.

This was the fourth festival - a celebration of music, dance, spoken word and visual art - a truly embracing event.

Three writers groups were represented in the throng - Western Union, Newport and TISSG (The Incredibly Supportive Songwriters Group) as well as individuals with no group associations.

Gerry Nelson attended to the music - warming the room and making our guests welcome. This year Gerry invited Tiffany Ball to join him and together they are known as the G and T.

We enjoyed presentations fromm children's
authors - Claire Saxby and Lee Fox. Pictured here is Lee
reading from her latest Ella Kazoo Will Not Go To Sleep illustrated by Cathy Wilcox.

We had Michael Reynolds step up to the mic. Michael has hosted Passionate Tongues Poetry every fortnight in Brunswick for nearly 12 years. He also is a photographer for poetry and music events, has published a book of poetry in 2008 and received the Sandy McLeod Award in 2009 for services to Melbourne poetry.

Michael has been a supporter of WORDS since the beginning advising and guiding us.

There were so many who contributed to make
this event a happening thang - too many to mention. But I have to share these beautiful pics of James Howard
(Henry Lawson). James brought a tear to our eyes with a piece about drinking - being drunk in fact.

And finally my mate Dave Davies. Dave is a regular reciter of verse and prose at Folk Club events and no Festival would be complete without him.

Michael Reynolds kindly took these photos with my pocket digital - his beautiful camera was out of action. Thankyou Michael. The Pic of Mike was supplied by Claire Saxby


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