Meet the String Family!
A family of classically trained string players on the road full time from 2016 through 2018, bringing music to people around Australia. Featuring 2 cellos, 2 violins, voice and percussion they incorporate their unique story of life on the road as Australian musical gypsies with toe tapping celtic, folk, world and classical crossover music. On their musical journey they have received numerous awards for performance and songwriting including
New Australian Celtic Talent of the Year
Australian Celtic Song of the Year
Australian National Busking Champions
Whilst we are not the first family who have hit the road to travel full time around Australia, we are a little different in a number of ways. Our Australia Tour had no fixed end date for nearly three years, until an amazing gig came up at Paronella Park in Far North Queensland, where we have the opportunity to create a world class show at the nightly light show on the castles. This engagement starts in May 2019 and continues until 31st October 2019. Whilst on tour, we had no home base and our itinerary changed regularly as gigs and opportunities came up. And significantly, The String Family is a multi award winning musical group, who perform and busk together initially to fund our journey, and now as a way of life!
The String Family Members
Joel (Dad) & Heath (at age 14, 2017) on Cello
Sarah (Mum) & Ashleigh (at age 13, 2016) on Violin
Are you really a family?
YES! Mum (Sarah) and Dad (Joel) met when they were children, competing against each other in the Wollongong Eisteddfod. They have been duet partners ever since and now their children have joined them to form a string quartet. The String Family won the 2015-16 Australian National Busking Championships and 1st place in ANBC Southeast QLD 2016. We were awarded 2nd place in the Illawarra Folk Festival APRA/ AMCOS songwriters competition 2017 with our latest track “The Journey”, and the same song won “Song of the Year” in the 2017 Australian Celtic Music Awards, along with “Best new celtic talent”. In the Moss Vale Battle of the Bands 2016 comp, we placed 2nd. Since starting on our journey, we have been covered by many media outlets and featured in print, online, on the radio and on TV.
Where are you from / based?
We are originally from the Illawarra, just south of Sydney in NSW, Australia. Our family heritage goes back to the early days of colonisation and before that, Ireland and Wales. I mention this as we are often asked if we are from Israel, or from Greece, or from a multitude of other European countries because of some of the music that we play!
Where is your home?
From 2016-2018 we aren’t actually based anywhere, so our home is our 23 foot caravan. 2019-2020 will see us living in Far North Queensland for our work at Paronella Park. Eventually we hope to settle back near our families, but at this stage we don’t know when that will be.
What do you do? What type of music?
All classically trained, our genre is classical crossover. This is a genre of music that starts with classically trained musicians who take popular, folk, rock and other modern style of music, and perform it on instruments normally found in an Orchestra, not in a rock or pop band! Whilst we do also perform music from the classical genre, we aim to make fine music accessible and this often starts with music that is already popular – thus, classical crossover.
You can check out some of our favourite music here that includes Cold Play, the Charlie Daniel’s Band, Leonard Cohen, Monte, Secret Garden, Rolf Lovlan, Jay Ungar and our very own Sarah Moir. In addition to what we have recorded, we play music by Queen & Abba, crowd favourites Zorba’s Dance, Hava Nagila and Cotten Eye Joe as well as tear jerkers like “Somewhere over the rainbow”. Being classically trained, we can read music and arrange music, and are adding to our repertoire regularly.
Our performances however are not simply musical performances, they can also be described as a ‘show’. In a classical style performance, the performers enter the stage area, perform, the audience claps and appreciates the music, and the performers exit. We do so much more! We entertain our audiences with loads of interaction – dancing, singing, audience participation. Importantly, we also incorporate the telling of our story as traveling musicians on a crazy adventure.
Can you perform at my..?
Yes! As long as we are somewhere in the general vicinity and we can work within your budget. The String Family are available for corporate events, cruises, festivals, concerts, parties, and weddings. When traveling, we often put on an impromptu performance in the caravan park that we are staying at, in the camp kitchen (happy hour works best!) and sell our CDs and spread cheer and goodwill through our music as well as meet new friends at the same time.
Please check our itinerary to see where we have plans to be which will make your planning easier.
Do you charge for performing, and if so, how much?
It’s a common misconception that musicians don’t charge. Maybe because musicians do it for love, and possibly because they don’t eat, drink or have a home or any other expenses. We are often asked to perform free of charge for charity events and other fundraisers.
It IS true that occasionally, we are able to perform free of charge if the right situation arises. For example The String Family played for the kittens at the RSPCA in Wacol, QLD. However this is generally not the case as we DO eat, and we DO have to pay for our food and other expenses! I know, it seems unfair to us too 🙂 We even asked Toyota Australia for a car to tow our caravan, and they agreed, but we had to pay for it like everyone else! Whilst some musicians are offended at being asked to play for free, we are not so sensitive. However, we will most likely say no and offer to play in exchange for payment.
We have to quote for each job individually. Many factors that determine expenses are variable such as travel, accommodation, preparation time, presentation and equipment requirements and costuming. Please contact us with details of your event or enquiry, and we can hopefully work something out. We ARE able to fly in and out for a gig, although we have to use carriers that allow violins on board and have a good reputation for looking after our instruments in the hold.
Can you just give me an indication of how much it might cost?
Unfortunately, we really do need to quote for each enquiry separately. Our spreadsheet tells us what we need to charge based on all the variables. We can sometimes offer special rates for fundraiser and charity events.
Performance in Schools are available for a low per child rate (minimums apply). Workshops, festivals and other types of bookings are worked out based on whether or not we can make it work.
Please contact us for a quote or for any enquiries. We would love to hear from you!
Living The Dream! Our 2016-2018 Australia Tour
In February 2016, The String Family set out on the road on a national concert and busking tour. We started with no bookings and no plan, trusting that our 20 years of Joel running a small business and with Sarah’s vast experience as a professional entertainer would see us becoming a well known and successful tour. Whilst many of our engagements were booked well in advance, we often had no immediate bookings. So we jumped on the road, found somewhere new, and did some busking and selling of CD’s whilst we got to know the locals and the land.
We were ‘living the dream’ in our caravan, and whilst many of our travelling companions are our much loved grey nomads, there are increasingly more younger families on the road. It’s a wonderful experience, and one that more and more families and couples are finding great pleasure and satisfaction in. We recommend it 100%. It will challenge and enrich you and your family.
Our tow vehicle is a 2015 200 series Toyota Landcruiser (V8 Diesel, Twin Turbo, 4.5L, 195KW). Our caravan is a 2015 23 foot Jayco Whitehawke, imported from the US and converted to AU specifications. This includes a third door, Australian wiring and upgraded suspension and tires.
Heath and Ashleigh did a combination of distance education and home schooling. They were both enrolled in distance education, at the Karabar Distance Education Centre in Queanbeyan. An amazing public school of the highest quality!
We may do another shorter tour in the future, so if you have a place in mind for us, please do get in touch!
We are also put together music videos around Australia in the different places that we visited. Be sure to check the “video” tab to see them!