The Real Australian Tradition
Rob Willis, Olya Willis and Graham Seal play Australian traditional music. Drawing from the rich folklore they have collected and researched their performances and presentations have delighted audiences at folk festivals and community events across the country and internationally.
Showcasing a range of instruments including ‘squeezebox’ (concertina), ‘windjammer’ (accordion), guitar, ukelele, dulcimer and ‘tin sandwich’ (harmonica), they recreate sounds and songs from the sugarbag traditions of work, war, pioneering, leisure, struggle, hardship and humour. Their down-to-earth music echoes the hand-made traditions of the Australian people, past and present, including bush, country, minstrel, goldfields, migrant, ‘ailan’, saltwater as well as some contemporary compositions in those styles.
Independently and together Rob, Olya and Graham have travelled the land in search of living traditions and researched the roots of those traditions. Their collections, performances, recordings and writings has been acknowledged through many awards and featured in national and state collections, on record and radio.
Graham is a musician, award-winning songwriter and best-selling author. He was Australia’s first Professor of Folklore and maintains an ongoing interest in researching folk tradition, heritage and history.
Rob and Olya Willis are leading documenters of folklore and oral history. They have worked with the National Library of Australia for many years and the Willis collection is one of the most extensive of the Library’s holdings. Their wide experience playing the authentic folk heritage they have unearthed is the basis of Verandah Music.
Recent and appearances include: National Folk Festival; Cygnet Folk Festival; Fairbridge Music Festival; Illawarra Folk Festival; ABC Radio National and Regional; National Library of Australia.