40th Port Fairy Folk Festival Maton Artist of the Year.
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'Wicked Game'. The voice Season 5, 2016, Australia.
You Bring The Sun Out.
Nashville Sessions EP. Recorded in Nashville, 2015.Released at the 40th Port Fairy Folk Festival, March 2016 where Marcia was named Artist of the Year.
Marcia Howard sings 'Fields of
Gold on the Voice Australia, Season 5
This is my version of Bob Dylan's song Forever Young, playing with my brothers Shane and Damian Howard as the Howard Family opening the 40th Port Folk Festival in our home Country of South West Victoria. The theme of the Festival was 'Forever Young'. I released my recorded version of the song on my Nashville Sessions EP at the festival with my band.
Marcia Howard, proudly launches her EP, Nashville Sessions recently recorded in Nashville on the 40th anniversary of the Port Fairy Festival. Marcia attended the first Festival as a teenager in 1976 and has performed at the festival many times over the years.
The EP features Marcia’s beautiful vocals and her thoughtfully crafted lyrics. The four tracks of tasteful and soulful country rock were recorded in Nashville at Beaird’s Music Studio with an ensemble of seasoned instrumentalists. The result is a classic Nashville country sound, and the combined results shape up to be unique, personal, and befitting such Australian rock royalty.
Local legends lend their vocal talents on the songs. Her brothers Shane Howard & Damian Howard and Goanna colleague Rose Bygrave contribute wonderful backing vocals. Marcia will also be performing with the local legendary Howard family over the weekend.
Marcia hails from the South West of Victoria and from the reknowned local musical Howard family. Marcia was a member of the triple Aria Award winning Goanna Band, alongside her brother, founding member, Shane Howard and Rose Bygrave. She has sung with some of the world’s best musicians including; James Taylor, Carlos Santana and collaborated with Ireland’s Mary Black, Australia’s Bart Willoughby and America’s Tim O’Brien to name a few. Her new CD was recently recorded and written while performing in England, Ireland and America this year. In 2015 Marcia completed her Research Master’s Education thesis at Monash University in Melbourne, Holy wells to Waterholes, belonging to place through song.
“A most talented singer and songwriter” Eric Bogle.
Bevely Hills Los Angeles, singing at the Bel Air Hotel, with the House Band.
Holywells to Waterholes, belonging through song.
This book and CD on song writing, written by Marcia, is located in her family background and her experiences in music making with indigenous communities in Ireland and Australia. The work encourages others to connect in relation to their own ancestors and the land that they build their lives upon.
The five songs that the research is based upon were written by Marcia and recorded by her in her home studio. The songs are beautiful and relate to the political, to family and to place. The lyrics are emotive and the harmonies together with her voice and the different instruments evoke wonderful images for the listener. The mixing and recording process has been an additional task of the production of the thesis that Marcia has mastered. She has expressed her heritage and responses to injustices through her talent as a beautiful music maker. This is a very important thesis. A wonderful, enlightening and stimulating set of songs and stories.
Dr Nerissa Albon ( Monash University).
Available on ITunes. Distributed by the Groove merchants and online: http://www.marciahoward.com.au
Marcia Howard, Nashville Sessions EP, 2016.
Marce Howard & Rose Bygrave, Pearl, 2011. Engineered & Produced by
Rose Bygrave & Marcia Howard mixed by Anthony Norris.
Butterfly. 2000. Marcia Howard. Recorded In Melbourne, Produced by Marcia Howard. Engineered by Siri Metsar. Newmarket Music.
Burning in the Rain. 2004, Marcia Howard. (Recorded in Dublin and Donegal, Ireland. Produced & Engineered by Steve Cooney). Newmarket Music.
Damian & Marcia Howard and the Ploughboys Live DVD, 2008, European Tour. Produced by Damian Howard.
Goanna, Spirit Returns, 1997. Big Heart Productions. Produced and Engineered by Shane Howard.
Goanna, Oceania. (1985, Distributed by W.E.A. Produced by Billy Payne).
Goanna, Spirit of Place. (1983, W.E.A. Produced by Trevor Lucas).
C.Ds /DVD that features Marcia:
Mary Black Live. 2002. CD/CVD. Recorded in Dublin at the Olympia Theatre.
Kelly Clan Reunion. My great friend, Irish harpist, Laoise Kelly's CD Launch of Kelly tunes at Matt Malloy's Pub in Westport, County Mayo, Ireland, 2015. RTE. TV
Marcia & Band will launch her Nashville Sessions EP at the Port Fairy Folk Festival, 2016, March 12th, Stage 5. 7.30 pm.
Sunday. March 13th, Stage 6. 9.30 PM.
40TH Anniversary Celebration Concert. 8 PM. Stage 3.
Women in Song. Sunday Stage 3. 10 am.
Peaks and Valleys, Stage 5. 12 noon Sunday.
The Howard Family.
Damian, Shane & Marcia Howard. Stage 3
Port Fairy Festival 7.45 Friday, March 11th.
Marcia Howard – 2016 Port Fairy Folk Festival Artist of the Year
“One of the most charismatic, gentle, spiritual musicians Australia has ever produced.” (Cliff Ellery)
Having grown up in this district, Marcia is no stranger to Port Fairy and the surrounding area. Marcia’s ancestors emigrated from Ireland in the 1850s and settled a few miles out the road at Yambuk. Her mother, Teresa Madden, was born and raised in Port Fairy. Growing up as the third youngest of a large musical family, Marcia was born with music in her veins and the special gift of a beautiful voice. With her mother and family, she performed at many local weddings, funerals, fundraising and community events. “My ear for songs, together with what was musically appropriate for different social ceremonial situations developed early. My love of harmony has always been very strong; harmony was a way I could clearly hear and identify my own voice amid the voices of my five brothers and sister.” (Marcia Howard)
When Marcia finished school she “stepped onto Highway One” and moved to Melbourne to begin tertiary study. As a young tertiary student, she began singing at the legendary Emu Bottom Homestead before joining her brother, Shane, in the highly successful triple Aria award-winning band, Goanna. At this time, she also met her life-long friend, supporter and musical collaborator, Rose Bygrave. “Rock’n’ roll in the early 80s was a very masculine era in music. You played in sweaty beer barns all over Australia. In the early 80s, there were very few female guitarists, singer-songwriters, recording engineers, managers or technicians in the Australian music industry. However, the band Goanna gave me the confidence and opportunity to write some songs that I performed and recorded.” (Marcia Howard)
Following her time with Goanna, Marcia pursued a solo career composing, recording and performing at numerous festivals, venues and theatres around Australia and across the world, including numerous appearances over the years at her beloved Port Fairy Folk Festival. Throughout this time she has continued to generously support many musicians around the country with her vocal skills, harmonies and musicianship. In the late 1990s, Marcia returned ‘home’ to Port Fairy to raise her young family and run a Bed & Breakfast called ‘Hanley House’ which is located only 100 m from the front gates of the festival on Sackville Street. All the while continuing to perform, write and record her own songs.
Throughout her career to date, Marcia has worked with some of the world’s best musicians including Mary Black, Carlos Santana, Bob Dylan, Brian Kennedy, James Taylor, Peter Allen, Hothouse Flowers and the Chieftains to name a few.
Marcia was the first Australian female artist to feature on the highly-respected CD series A Woman’s Heart, A Decade On with her song, Poison Tree, singing with Mary Black along with other artists on the CD including Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, Sinead O’Connor and The Corrs. Her song, Angel Full of Grace, featured on the successful long-running ABC TV series, Sea Change.
Marcia has recorded three highly acclaimed solo CDs – Butterfly, Burning in The Rain and her latest release, The Nashville Sessions. In 2011, she released a CD with her musical colleague, Rose Bygrave, titled Pearl.
On her first solo CD, Butterfly, Marcia collaborated with respected Gunditjmara elder, Patricia Clark, to record the beautiful lullaby Vulla Vunnah Nah which was a rare opportunity to document in song a local, indigenous language of this region.
In 1997 Marcia and the band, Goanna was asked to perform her song Sorry which was her heartfelt lament for members of the Stolen Generations. She performed this song at Canberra’s Parliament House in 1997 when the enquiry into the Stolen Generation Report, Bringing Them Home was released, bringing to light the inhumanity and damage of these past Government policies inflicted on Indigenous children, their families and communities.
Over the past seventeen years, Marcia has combined performing and recording with work as a Music Educator in many local schools, combining her industry recording, songwriting and business skills teaching students Performing Arts. Last year she completed her Masters of Education thesis, Holy Wells to Waterholes: Belonging to Place Through Song, at Monash University, where she explores the issues of belonging to place through the medium of songwriting. “As a songwriter, I enter the liminal space of the song in order to put myself in the emplaced world of the song. It is not an easy thing to do, to share your vulnerabilities both personally and musically as a songwriter, but over the years, I found music to be a refuge, a place I could go when I didn’t feel understood. I found that when I sang or played music that could truly express what I was feeling and in that sharing of songs was a connection with people, recognition of shared stories that other people identified with as a collective experience.” (Marcia Howard)
“Divine singing, clever songwriting and a lifetime's stagecraft, in unforgettable performances.” (Nick Charles).
“Playing on stage, writing songs and expressing how I feel, or playing an instrument or humming a tune is the most comfortable place for me to be. Songs are conduits for me, the connection to expressing my emotions, and a way for me to connect with others and share life experiences, which is ultimately a good thing. Songs are just emotions and experiences and sounds coming together in sung form”. (Marcia Howard)
It is with great pleasure that I acknowledge Marcia as this year’s Artist of the Year. This award is recognition of her generous contribution and support to many independent, local musicians and artists; her songwriting, musicianship and stagecraft; her ongoing quest to sing out for justice; her persistence and strength as a role model for all female musicians in this country; and, her beautiful, generous and giving spirit to audiences around the world.
I congratulate Marcia mindful of our deceased parents, Leo and Teresa Howard, who would be delighted that she has received this award. Over this weekend, they will be watching on with pride and clapping loudly from the great audience above. From all of her siblings – we are proud of our beautiful sister.
The Irish poet, John O’Donohue, once wrote “One of the most beautiful gifts in the world is the gift of encouragement. When someone encourages you, that person helps you over a threshold you might otherwise never have crossed on your own.” Throughout her musical career, there are many musicians and audiences that Marcia has helped cross over the threshold. We thank her for this gift. Long may it continue and let the music play on!
Goanna Triple Aria Award winner, Marcia Howard, has just returned from recording her latest CD, in Nashville, penned and recorded in the past year while performing in England, Ireland and America. During her career of over thirty years Marcia has mesmerized audiences with her beautiful voice, and skill as a musician and songwriter. She has performed and recorded with some of the world’s best, including Carlos Santana, Mary Black, Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Hothouse Flowers and Nashville ace, Tim O’Brien.
In 1997 Marcia and Goanna were asked to perform her song Sorry at Canberra’s Parliament House to coincide with the release of the
Bringing Them Home Report, which brought to light the inhumanity and damage of these past Government policies.
Her song, Angel Full of Grace, from Goanna’s Spirit Returns was used in the successful Australian, TV series, Sea change.
In 2000 Marcia released her first solo CD Butterfly.
Marcia Howard's first solo release 'Butterfly' represented a long awaited solo debut from one of Australia's best-loved female voices. Renowned for her stunning vocal harmony work with her brother Shane Howard and Rose Bygrave in the legendary band Goanna. Beat Magazine.
In 2002, Marcia was invited to open for Mary Black at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin in 2002 and began recording her album Burning in the Rain, in Ireland, released in 2004. She was the first Australian female artist to feature on; A woman’ s heart a decade on, with her song, Poison Tree, singing with renowned Irish singer, Mary Black. Emmy Lou Harris, Dolly Parton, Sinead O’Connor and the Corrs also feature on this album.
Marcia was touring Ireland with Mary Black when Nashville bluegrass aces Tim O'Brien and Jeff White fronted in Dublin. Producer Steve Cooney enlisted the duo to play fiddle and mandolin and sing on a disc that also boasted Black and a brace of Irish musicians. It’ s that beatific hybrid of folk, country and Irish music that makes this one of those joyous sleepers of the year. Howard, like the best writers, bares her soul...one of the best female CD’s of the last 10 years. Dave Dawson, Nu Country.
In 2008 Marcia toured Ireland with her brother Damian Howard and their band with a Musical they had written, Ireland to Island about their immigrant Irish ancestors journey to Australia told through narration, images and songs and presented in theatres throughout Ireland.
Marcia has sung, toured, recorded and performed with many Australian Indigenous and non-indigenous performers and her harmony vocals feature on many artists’ albums recorded in Australia over the past thirty years. Marcia has experience as an accompanist pianist and vocal director for productions. She also performs with her brothers, Shane Howard (Goanna) & Damian Howard (Ploughboys) as the Howard Family, and long time former Goanna musical colleague, Rose Bygrave, Marcia and Rose recorded an album together, Pearl, in 2011.
“Divine singing, clever song writing and a lifetime's stage craft, in unforgettable performances. Songs range from pristine ballads to roof raising potboilers” (Nick Charles-Rhythms Magazine). ‘Both ladies are blessed with crystalline voices, perfect enunciation and impeccable harmony singing skills, which makes for optimum blending of their voices when they converge. -Truly outstanding.' Tony Hillier. Rhythms Magazine, 2011.
Over the past seventeen years Marcia has combined performing and recording with work as a Music Educator, combining her
industry recording, song writing and business skills teaching students studying Performing Arts. She has recently completed her Research Masters Thesis, ‘Holy wells to Waterholes. Belonging through song’, at Monash University, Melbourne. Her book and CD examine her song writing processes and a sense of belonging to ‘place’ through song. Marcia performs regularly at Festivals and Concerts and incorporates vocal Master class workshops which she teaches as a part of the Music Performance Degree, Collarts, Melbourne.
‘One of the most charismatic, gentle, spiritual musicians Australia has ever produced.’ (Cliff Ellery.)
Marcia Howard. The Warrnambool Standard. March 2016.
Maton. Port Fairy Folk Festival, Artist of the Year.
Brief introduction about yourself
I grew up on the banks of the Merri River in Dennington, near Warrnambool in South West Victoria, Gunditjmara Land.
My Irish ancestors settled here in the 1850s, so I have a deep connection to this Country. It has shaped my identity and influenced me musically. I am one of seven children – my mother Teresa Madden, or Terry as she was known, was a local Port Fairy girl.
My parents were a great team and my father Leo worked at the Nestles factory, Dennington. He was a great supporter of our musical ventures. I am one of seven children and we are a musical family.
My mother was a local radio identity hosting radio programs on Warrnambool’s 3YB during the war years. As a singer and musician, Mum passed on her gift of music and performance to us all. ...Growing up we were always in rehearsal for a community performance or family gathering. In 1981 I joined my brother Shane’s band Goanna, and we toured nationally for many years. I then toured in his bands and worked on most of his solo CDs. We recorded our third Goanna CD, Spirit Returns in 1998 and performed this concert at Hamer Hall in Melbourne with the Pigram Brothers, Judith Durham, Bart Willoughby and great musical friends we had made over the years.
The music continued over the years, joining my brother Damian on various stages with his band the Ploughboys and his solo projects and CDs and tours to Festivals in Denmark and Ireland with our band and performing our show, Ireland to Island, at Festivals and Theatres across Ireland.
My music has taken me to many places – here and in Ireland where great stories and songs were shared. These tales and tunes have found there way into the heart of what I do as a songwriter.
What are you most looking forward to about performing at the Port Fairy Folk Festival?
This year has special significance- not only is it the 40th anniversary of this enduring folk festival, but to be named Artist of the Year, is such an honour. So I am really looking forward to celebrating at the Folkie this year – in my home Country with an amazing line up of artists from across the globe. I am also really looking forward to showcasing my new work, Nashville Sessions EP– honed in the great musical home of Nashville – recorded with Nashville musicians.
Local musician Richard Tankard, Isaac Barter, Shannon Bourne and Jason Stonehouse, will join me at my shows over the weekend and some very special guests.
I will be singing some long time favourites as well.
What are your expectations of the event?
Port Fairy is always an inspiration - I love the experience of connecting with audiences through the music- the greatest communicator of spirit in my book, and to play alongside amazing musicians and guests across the week- end – in some of the themed concerts this year will be a highlight – with artists I have known and admired over many years.
This year, to be performing with my brothers Shane and Damian as the Howard family will be a highlight; we have a strong tradition of performing as family and singing and playing together.
With Shane and Damian we have performed at Tamworth many times as the Howard Family. More recently we came together to mark the 160th Anniversary of the Eureka Stockade at MADE Museum of Democracy in Ballarat. This has a special resonance for us, as our Great Grandparents were involved in the battle at Eureka.
I look forward to my son Liam Gubbin’s joining me on stage over the weekend to play and sing and my daughter Virginia is a great supporter who will be helping me with the CD sales.
Have you been before, if so what do you love about Port Fairy?
Yes, I was at the first festival as a teenager. I have sung at many festivals over the years launching my own albums and performing with many different artists as a singer and musician.
I have just completed my Research Masters in Education, ‘Holy Wells to Waterholes’ that explores my connection to place and belonging through song. The thesis is a compilation of songs I recorded in my home studio and written text about the politics of location and how song connects us to place and to indigenous dreaming. My mother was born in Port Fairy.
Which performers are you most looking forward to seeing at the festival?
The festival is a great place to catch up with good friends – so I am looking forward to playing with and seeing my friend Mary Black. Mary and I have collaborated in the past, and I recorded my song Poison Tree on the collaborative project – A Woman’s Heart. A Decade On, featuring Dolly Parton, Sinead O'Connor and Emmy Lou Harris among others.
I am also looking forward to meeting up again with Mary Black’s daughter, Roison O. I caught Roisin and her band play in Dublin last year and she is a great young artist and singer songwriter.
And as always there are some new acts that I have heard so many good things about – that I will try to get to see.
Describe your music in five words?
My Music and Song writing has been described as -
Evocative, political, moving, soul driven melodic sounding songs with divine harmonies.
What/ who is the biggest influence on your music?
My mother and father and family.
What are you working on at the moment?
Last year I spent time writing and recording while performing in England, Ireland and all over the USA. This included recording in Nashville with great Nashville players. The harmonies were recorded in Australia with Shane & Damian Howard and my long time musical colleague, Rose Bygrave. As I said I am launching my EP Nashville Sessions - here at the Port Fairy Folk Festival. At the moment, I am currently completing my new LP ‘Where I Want To Be’.
At what age did you decide to become a musician and what was the inspiration behind it?
I was on TV singing with my family at age 5. I always sang with my mum and brothers. I studied music at school and learnt piano, guitar and singing. I performed as a teenager at school and concerts and community events playing my guitar and singing. So it has always been part of my life.
What is your performance highlight/ favourite performing moment so far? And why?
Opening for Mary Black at The Olympia Theatre over five nights in Dublin in 2002.
Port Fairy -
When Mary Black first performed at the Festival in 1995.
Mary and her band stayed at our house, Hanley House in Sackville St. Port Fairy. We had a great session in the house. People were coming in through the windows, as it was a lock down!
Jamie Mc Kew was there and sang his song about the Moyne River, as was Russell Clarke our neighbour, a great Festival committeeman. My mother and father were there, Chris Healy and my brother Shane, Pat Crowley on my piano, and Declan Sinnott on guitar. My mother had learnt singing from Mrs Hanley in that house when she was an eight-year-old girl and Jamie had given my first Mary Black album. It was something to remember!
Great times in that house, with so many great musicians, Guy Clarke and Rory McLeod staying and playing over many Festivals. I also remember Campbell the swaggie would stay out the back every year and setting up a Fringe stage with my brother Damian under the Moreton bay Fig Tree on the front lawn at Hanley House for artists to perform.
What is your favourite concert or festival experience as a patron?
The very first festival at the Rotundah in the Gardens was special with lots of people playing whistles and wearing fair isle jumpers!! The world had found us! And the year when Uncle Henry Banjo Clarke and my brother Shane Howard did the first 'Welcome to Country' at the festival. That was a moving and historic moment.
It will be sad this year to see Jamie McKew retire as Festival Director after 38 years! He has done an incredible job over the years. I have known Jamie all my life. Our grandmothers and mothers were friends here in Port Fairy. He will be missed but his legacy lives on. May Port Fairy Folk Festival and its orchestrator Jamie Mc Kew stay Forever Young.
What was the first album you purchased?
Joni Mitchell, ‘Ladies of the Canyon’.
Who was the first concert/ artist you ever saw live?
Maria Muldare - American folk-blues singer who was part of the American folk music revival in the early 1960s. She recorded the 1974 hit song "Midnight at the Oasis". Also Billy T and Jackson Browne.
Recording my new album with Nashville players. Nashville June 2015.
‘Two of the most charismatic, gentle, spiritual musicians Australia has ever produced.’ (Cliff Ellery).
"Melodic, socially conscious, beautifully harmonised".
Damita Lamont, Launceston Advocate.
Wednesday October 15, 2014
Duo to feature Goanna tracks in Sheffield show.
By Damita Lamont. Launceston, Tasmania.
Members of 1980s folk-rock band Goanna, Rose Bygrave and Marcia Howard, will perform in Sheffield on Saturday.
Members of the award-winning band Goanna - Rose Bygrave and Marcia Howard - are still creating wonderful music.
The Australian band was in its prime in the 1980s and won three Arias - best new album, best new single and best band - and two of its members show no signs of slowing.
The duo will perform a dinner-show at Mountain Mumma at Sheffield tomorrow at 6.30pm.
"People will hear a lot of similarities to Goanna, mostly with the harmonies, and Marcia and I were two thirds of those harmonies," Bygrave said.
MARCIA HOWARD & ROSE BYGRAVE
Beginning in the triple Aria Award winning Goanna, for over 30 years Rose Bygrave & Marce Howard have mesmerized audiences with their musical strength, fearless politics and tender hearts. Their solo CD's have achieved high praise, and they have shared stages with some of the worlds most loved musicians, including Ireland’s Mary Black, and America’s James Taylor. They combine- ‘divine singing, clever song writing and a lifetime's stage craft’, (Nick Charles- Rhythms) in unforgettable performances. Songs range from pristine ballads to roof raising pot-boilers.
"Our music [as a duo] is melodic, has a social conscience, is a lot about how we live.
"We will play some of our songs from Goanna too."
Bygrave said the duo came to fame during an interesting time for female musicians.
"When we started there were few female performers in rock bands," she said.
"It has been a wonderful journey."
When the band finished the duo pursued their own interests, both releasing solo albums, but remained good friends and continued to work together on smaller projects.
They joined forces together in 2011 when they released their CD Pearl.
Bart Willoughby, We Still Live On CD Launch. Melbourne Town Hall. Indigenous Festival, 2014
Goanna Dangerous Dancing. This clip was on the ABC's Rage program the other night. The second single from Goanna's second album, Oceania, 1985. Written by Marcia's brother, Shane Howard. Circus Oz feature in the film clip at St Kilda Beach, Melbourne.
Subway, New York, 2015
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