Artist info

Genre

Indie, Roots


band members

Bec Matthews Solo--- and ----- Bec Matthews and the Kora Collective, featuring: Bec Matthews-kora, kamelngoni Richie Brain- guitars Pin Rada-lyra King Marong-percussion Aminata Doumbia-vo


Influences

Tiddas, Oumou Sangare, King Marong


Bio

BEC MATTHEWS Singer, songwriter, composer, musician From her early beginnings as a classical pianist, Bec Matthews has travelled a diverse and cosmopolitan musical path which has lead to her current status as one of Australia’s most talented and charming players of the kora (21 string West African Harp). Bec’s musical repertoire also includes the kamelngoni (West African hunter’s harp) and bolong (African gourd bass) along with trumpet, guitar, assorted percussion and voice. As an artist who crosses musical and cultural boundaries, Bec fuses her own original music with influences from traditional West African, Middle Eastern and World Fusion music. Her original songs and music reflect Bec’s personal journey and worldview, echoing her extensive studies with West African musical masters and travels through remote Australia and elsewhere. Working closely with Gambian artist King Marong, Bec has been a dynamic and pivotal member of the Melbourne-based ‘Safara Music School’ which enjoys a reputation for its uplifting and community-minded spirit. As a part of this project Bec has been involved in numerous exciting collaborations incorporating art and music, including drum making, drumming and dance, African story telling and interactive performance. Staying true to Bec’s passion for community arts, Bec is a regular performer and workshop co-facilitator at numerous Australian festivals including Woodford Music Festival, Port Fairy Folk Festival, Perth International Festival, Meredith Music Festival and the Warrnambool Children’s Festival. No stranger to international stages, Bec has performed and conducted workshops in Canada and the UK, and has also enjoyed several musical residencies in The Gambia, West Africa. Bec’s graceful talents on and understanding of the kora and at least 3 other traditional West African instruments have been nurtured by great masters and troupes such as the Guinean cultural drum and dance ensemble ‘Fatala’, Bamako based kamelngoni master Adama Sidube and the BBC world music award nominee Juldeh Camara. In 2007 Bec enjoyed a 6 month residency playing trumpet with Gambian based pan-African band “Lolo Lulu” (5 Star Band), on many occasions playing for the President of the Gambia. Currently Bec manages Melbourne-based artist King Marong and several of his performance groups including the long established ‘Safara’ and the recently formed ‘One Africa’. Bec also performs with and manages the afro-fusion outfit ‘Afro Mandinko’. In 2006 Afro Mandinko was the successful recipient of an Arts Victoria grant which facilitated the recording of their debut self titled album. Launched in Feb 2008, the album has been widely praised in reviews, enjoying airplay on radio stations including PBS and RRR as well as JJJ, and was presented as a feature album in Feb 2008 by Lucky Oceans on Radio National. Afro Mandinko continue to feature as a dynamic crowd pleaser at many Australian music festivals and are currently planning a national tour to promote their album. “Bec Matthews is a charming entertainer, recently captivating her audience with her very personal and intimate performance at Eltham World Harmonies where she talked the audience through her stunning collection of koras and their beautiful 'other-worldly' sounds while playing delicate melodies interspersed with sparkling runs. Bec also displayed her skills on guitar and trumpet, layering harmonies in loops as she played a unique and eclectic mix of traditional African and her own contemporary material with a very melodic but powerful voice (she abandoned the microphone altogether for most of the set). Bec‘s passion for her African music shines through as she plays as one with the kora” Angela Davies, Eltham World Harmonies Bec’s most recent project is her band ‘Kora Collective’, a melting pot of textural improvisation and music from near and far. This unique assembly of accomplished musicians features the rare talents of globally inspired multi-instrumentalists Pin Rada (sarangi, lyra), King Marong (percussion), Richie Brain (guitars), Martin Tucker (flute, bolong) and vocalist Aminata Doumbia. Having recently performed as part of the Arts Centre’s ‘Mix it up’ Program supporting Kora great ‘Toumani Diabate’, Bec Matthews and the Kora Collective captivated their audience with a selection of lush sound-scapes, contemporary beats and original and traditional songs. Bec Matthews: http://www.myspace.com/becmatthewskora Afro Mandinko Website: www.afromandinko.com King Marong Website: www.kingmarong.com One Africa Website: www.oneafrica.com.au Contact: rebecca.matthews@rocketmail.com