ARTIST 163

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Bushwahzee is a Melbourne institution, an enduring band of musicians, and possibly one of the very few Australiana groups working full time. The band has seen many changes since its first gig at the Organ factory in Clifton Hill in 1981, but the current line up is Paul Jenkins – original Bushwahzee member, ex-school teacher, and dance caller extraordinaire, Felix Meagher – fiddle player, song writer and composer of musicals, and Ewen Baker – guitarist previously from Irish bands The Ploughboys and The Wren Boys.
Bushwahzee specialises in performing songs and dances that get their audiences involved. The band is equally happy in playing at tables in restaurants and encouraging people to sing along, as it is calling bush dances for everyone to get up and have a go. Their arrangements of Australian folk song have parts especially composed so that most people can very easily join in.Typical events the band plays at are weddings, birthday parties, re-unions, work place celebrations, outdoor, get togethers, sports nights and in schools.
The band has wide variety in its play list. The list features many of the well known Aussie traditional and contemporary songs and dances, a selection of songs from the 1960s, and any number of Irish songs and tunes. The band members have also written a number of songs and dances – The GI\’day Song, The Lagerphone Song, Convicts Wanna Dance, The Twelve Bar Barn Dance, The Road To Port Fairy, The Evening Star, Dancing Town, The Chain Gang Boogie, and The Country and Western Singer. The permanent three piece line-up is often complimented by other musicians. Louis Hesterman from The Gundaguys regularly joins band as a fourth and bass playing member, and recently Maity Swallow (ex-Cobbers) brought along his accordion to make the band a five-piece. To assist with work in schools the band regularly invites Jan Wozitsky (ex-Bushwackers), Mike McCabe (also from Hard Tack) and Peter Daffy (ex-Ploughboys). .
Bushwahzee has recently released a new CD entitled Say GI\’day. The album is the culmination of the bandI\’s work developing songs and dances for primary school aged children. The album features a new song composed by Lou Hesterman and Felix Meagher called the Puffing Billy Song. Bushwahzee also has released a cassette album Folk Song Parade (a collection of traditional Aussie songs), and a CD The Discreet Charm of Bushwahzee. Also in the pipeline for 2002 is a new CD, Dance Happens.

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