My life is music. In my early 20s, having studied the cello at Sydney Conservatorium, I found my lifelong passion, the viola da gamba or gamba. This beautiful instrument has been at the core of my life for 35 years.
During this time I have performed across Australia and around the world. I also have a passion for jazz. Five years ago I bought Australia’s only electric viola da gamba. Since then I have worked with some of Australia’s finest jazz musicians to create a whole new repertoire for this unique instrument – so like the acoustic viola da gamba and yet so different!
The band is: Matt Keegan (sax), Matt McMahon (piano), Susie Bishop (voice), Siebe Pogson (bass), Finn Ryan (drums) and myself, Jenny Eriksson. All the music we are recording is written by band members!
Our band, Elysian Fields, has been performing together several years now. We are ready to record. Our vision is to create Australia’s first CD of electric gamba music with every piece composed by Australians.
The electric viola da gamba creates a new, vibrant future for my instrument, allowing more recent, (and louder) instruments like the piano, saxophones and percussion to blend with the unique texture and articulation of the 7-string viola.
We are creating a new sound world. I also believe deeply that new Australian creative works matter. Although much of my life has been dedicated to the early music, I have already commissioned and created some 2 hours of great new semi-improvised music for the electric gamba which we are ready to share with the world.
Donations will be used to cover to the costs of CD recording and production: hiring a studio with a good grand piano, paying a sound engineer and producer, CD design and printing. I intend to also make the recording available for download. A modest proportion of the budget is set aside to pay the musicians, all of whom are elite, freelance jazz and improvised music artists. I will not receive any payment of any kind myself.