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| BNE May/June 2017



atie Noonan is one of Queensland’s

most versatile and prolific performers.

Already this year she has appeared

alongside the Queensland Ballet as part

of their contemporary dance production


, released a new album,

Songs of the

Latin Skies

, with long-time friend and world-

class guitarist Karin Schaupp which they are

performing live across the country until June

and, in between, she has been travelling the

state engaging communities to find their

voice for the Queensland Music Festival

which stages events year round but kicks off

an official program from 7 July.

Fortunately Noonan relishes a challenge

and exploring new and different genres

of music has taken her from the success

of indie pop band George, which she

formed with her brother Tyrone 20 years

ago, to collaborations with jazz musicians,

orchestras, contemporary songwriters and

with Schaupp for a series of hits that include

an EP of British folk songs, an album of

mixed genre Australian and New Zealand

songs and now

Songs of the Latin Skies


once again is a mix of musical styles, from

classical, ancient opera and jazz. Noonan has

described the latest album as their best work

together yet and critics have agreed, one

calling it a “meltingly laid-back album that

would soothe the most furrowed brow”.

While Noonan is well and truly in

the spotlight alongside Schaupp on their

current tour, she says she will be taking a less

starring role in Queensland Music Festival.

While she has played an active role behind

the scenes for the last 18 months as the

festival’s artistic director, she will make only

occasional “surprise” appearances at selected

events, including flash mob choirs planned

for pop-up performances, ‘You’re the Voice’,

a mass choral event planned for South Bank

Parklands to sing for change and at one of

the world premiere concerts.

“I deliberately didn’t program myself

because it’s not about me. It’s about

Queensland and I’ve been lucky enough

to benefit from Queensland Music Festival

myself (Noonan has appeared as a guest at

past festivals) and now it’s time for others to

have that opportunity,” she says.

Indeed, Noonan believes that anyone who

can talk can sing and this is at the heart of

her vision for this year’s festival.

“We can all use our voices as a vehicle for

good and as a vehicle for change so we will

have a very large scale community choral

event inspiring people to sing out about the

domestic violence crisis in our cities and sing

together for change. Women are also often

under-represented at a lot of music festivals

so I have tried to address the inequity and

make sure there are lots of women on the

bill. We also have initiated a big education

and mentoring campaign to inform and

empower women to help them find their

voice as singer/songwriters.”

Katie Noonan and Karin Schaupp perform

Songs of the Latin Skies

on 20 May at

Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith

University, South Brisbane. Tickets $49.90

each plus fees at


Queensland Music Festival is on 7-30 July.



These musicians

bare their souls

and reveal their

passions in live

performances that

range from indie

pop to legendary

rock and more that

defies definition.

Take a seat and be

captivated in the



The Brisbane-based artist also known as

Hannah Shepherd has just released her

first album

Hard to Sleep, Easy to Dream

, in

collaboration with muso besties Tom Iansek

(Pieater) and Emma Louise. With singles

‘Not A Fighter’ and ‘Move Me’ already on-air

favourites, she hits the road to play them

live, stopping at Black Bear Lodge, Fortitude

Valley on 27 May. Tickets from $20.95 plus

fees, see


Led Zeppelin may have lasted only 12 years

as one of the world’s greatest rock bands

but their music has been a 30-year career

for the Adelaide-based Zep Boys who bring

classics such as ‘Stairway to Heaven’, ‘Whole

Lotta Love’ and ‘Kashmir’ to life in their live

performance, accompanied by more than

30 musicians and singers. On 9 June at Lyric

Theatre, QPAC, South Brisbane. Tickets

from $109 plus fees, see



Multi-awarding winning Katie Noonan thrives on a musical

challenge and, in addition to her own performances, programs a

widely inclusive Queensland Music Festival

Image: Cybele Malinowski