Reclaiming lost Australian cultural territory Bush Gothic perform tales of Australia's dark history re-told. Songs of criminal women and convict men, treachery and transportation have been dragged out of the songbooks, ripped apart, then lovingly put back together as a reminder that our history never leaves us.
It was 2009 when Australian artist Jenny M. Thomas began a series of urban bush band sessions – gigs where every week a new crop of musicians would join her ‘bush band’ and improvise through a playlist of traditional Australian songs. Out of this series she picked only the bravest musicians to form her band, named after the system which transported convicts to Australian penal colonies. Initially known simply as ‘The System’. With Dan Witton on double bass, Chris Lewis on Drumkit and Jenny on fiddle-singing and piano, their first gig was a live-to-air broadcast on ABC Radio National’s ‘The Music Show’.
Since the release of their album ‘Bush Gothic’ in August 2011 they have toured Australia twice, secured a residency at the legendary Bennetts Lane Jazz Club and received widespread radio airplay. UK magazine fRoots included a track from Bush Gothic on their 2012 compilation album and publications in the UK and Australia have published rave reviews of their recording and live gigs.
Mona Foma, Brunswick Music Festival, Castlemaine State Festival, Adelaide Fringe Festival, Cygnet Folk Festival, National Folk Festival, Turning Wave Festival, Majors Creek Folk Festival, Darebin Music Feast.
Master of the rare art of singing and playing the fiddle at the same time, Jenny M. Thomas has had many musical adventures including rollerskating backwards whilst playing violin for Circus Oz, playing a Norwegian Hardanger solo with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra for the Lord of The Rings premiere, a solo concert series in Europe performing Indian classical violin plus a European tour with chamber- pop band ‘Naked Raven’. The release of her album “Farewell To Old England Forever” astonished the Australian folk scene with its collection of “Extraordinary, even revolutionary traditional Australian Folk songs” (The Canberra Times), winning a prestigious Golden Fiddle Award, inclusion in the Melbourne Herald Sun’s top ten CD picks for 2006 and rated as one of the four best CD's of 2006 by ABC Radio National’s ‘The Music Show’.
Festival Appearances include: Tanz and Folk Fest Germany, Villa Celimontana Jazz Festival Rome, Sidmouth Folk Festival UK, North American Folk Alliance Conference Memphis. Port Fairy Folk Festival Aus, Woodford Folk Festival AUS, National Folk Festival AUS. Mona Foma, Brunswick Music Festival, Castlemaine State Festival, Adelaide Fringe Festival, Cygnet Folk Festival, National Folk Festival, Turning Wave Festival, Majors Creek Folk Festival, Darebin Music Feast.
As a percussionist with a particular interest in the many textural and timbral possibilities of the drum kit, Chris Lewis brings a broad palate of musical eclecticism to Bush Gothic. He was the musical director for the world famous Circus Oz from 1998-2002 and again in 2009-2010,touring regularly throughout Europe, U.S. and Asia and Australia. In addition he has composed and performed, for many other Theatre /Circus Companies such as, Chamber Made Opera , Flying Fruit Fly Circus , Legs on the Wall , NICA & Dislocate . He is a regular on the Melbourne improvised music scene performing with many bands including, “Bohjass” , “SHOL quartet” and “Tim Pledgers Product” and continues to exercise his showbiz chops with seasoned cabaret rockers Fire & Theft .
Dan Witton has worked as a musician and theatre performer in a range of theatre companies and music ensembles. Work includes the State Opera of SA, Australian Opera, State Theatre Co SA, Circus Oz, ABC Television, Belvoir St Theatre, Strange Fruit, The Blue Grassy Knoll, Cosmo Cosmolino, The Urban Dream Capsule, Chamber Made Opera, Polyglot Theatre, Jumpleads, The Spooky Men's Chorale, Meow Meow and desoxy Theatre