Reshaping the hammers of my Beale piano
I started to learn piano when I was six, and we lived in London. When I was seven we moved, and the lessons stopped. There was a gap until we settled in Hampshire. The third piece of big furniture my mother bought, after beds and a dining set, was a second-hand upright piano for me.… Continue reading
Sophie Van Aerde
In 2008 Dr. Sophie Van Aerde arrived in Sabah from France. Two weeks later, I arrived in Sabah from England. We soon formed a violin-piano duo called Klasik Elastik. Here, Sophie talks about the French education programme which helped her musical talent flourish in the most natural way. [Excerpt from: Funk, Joanna. SabahSongs: Contemporary Music… Continue reading
The man who brought Chinese orchestra to Sabah
My friend Yap Keng Vui translated all the conversations with Teo Seng Chong, and I have so much to thank him for. Teo Seng Chong arrived in Sabah in 1986 at the invitation of Tshung Tsin Secondary School (TTSS), to bring Chinese orchestral music into Sabah. He is now Head of Music at TTSS, and… Continue reading
Ethnomusicology scholars pick up my book!
Ethnomusicology scholars have picked up my book SabahSongs: Contemporary Music In Sabah. 😀 The 5th symposium of the International Council of Traditional Music study group on Performing Arts Of South East Asia (PASEA) held their event in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah from 16-22 July 2018. Thank you Yap KV for showing me these lovely photos. Yap… Continue reading
Teaching In The Scenic Rim
When I first arrived in Australia, watching television was an obvious way to learn about life here. I loved Landline, with all its moving stories about rural life, entrepreneurship and survival. As I become a piano teacher in the Scenic Rim, I feel very privileged to be stepping into this world, albeit in an oblique… Continue reading
I bought a Beale piano!
In April, I bought an upright piano! After moving around the world for decades with different digital pianos, I’m finally settled enough to own this big old, magical wooden box with 1,200 moving parts. Now, I am home. I drove all over Brisbane and the Gold Coast checking out pianos advertised on Gumtree. When I… Continue reading
Harvey Blues, guitarist
I want to tell you about my friend Harvey. He’s a wonderful blues guitarist. He lives the life, and is a great guy. I met him three years ago at Music Express music school in Norton Street. The tutors had their own studios. As manager, I went through them each week to dust and clean.… Continue reading
In a different light
I usually teach a couple of students in this street when it is already dark. Yesterday I was there earlier. It took my breath away to turn the corner and see this, at dusk. Continue reading
Heart and Spirit: Orchestra Corda Spiritus
What do you call a bunch of guys who play with heart and spirit? Director Stephen Wu said the orchestra’s name came about in the mid ’90’s. “I was the head string teacher at Haileybury in Melbourne, while Joanna (Fairs-Wu, violinist) was teaching at Sophia Mundi. We used to get a bunch of freelancers to… Continue reading
Joanna is British Australian. Her early career was in financial news in London. That ended in 2008. Joanna moved to Sabah, her parents’ birthplace, where she wrote a blog about musicians, which became a book. Joanna came to Australia in 2012 and started this blog — her second. These days, she writes mostly about music, her garden, and trips to Sabah. Oh, and Wookie the Havanese.
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