Australian Bush Music and Dance
Happy 21st birthday!
Presented by Wongawilli Band & Wongawilli Colonial Dance Club Inc.
This website contains information about the activities of the Wongawilli Colonial Dance Club, Wongawilli Band and Wongawilli Colonial Dancers in the Illawarra region on the south coast of New South Wales.
The Club has presented a bush dance every Wednesday at the Wongawilli Community Hall (except over the Christmas/New Year) since 1987. There is a live band and all the dances are walked and called through. Acoustic musicians are welcome as sheet music is provided. There are a number of theme dances nights during the year as follows. Click here for directions to Wongawilli Community Hall
The band, dancers and Club celebrate 21 years. The first official performance of the Wongawilli Band was 1st August 1987 at a bush dance at the Kiama Showground Pavilion.
The band has a new lineup and CD, Australia Street, to celebrate its coming of age.
Click here for more details
New songs by Wongawilli band uploaded to Myspace website - Waltzing Matilda, Victor Podhams Click here to hear
CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS ON THE 2008 EUROPEAN TOUR by WONGAWILLI (JULY)
The Club also produces Australia's largest collection of traditional folk music and dance resources. Click here to go to the Store to view over 50 titles
Click here for more details on the 2008 Tour
Wongawilli Band in New Zealand 29 September to 14 October 2007
The band with guest musicians Tim Kendall and Johnny Spillane and a whole bunch of fun-loving music appreciators and tourists have returned from New Zealand. The tour package included air-conditioned coach, tourist attractions on the North and South Island, concert entries, breakfasts and dinners and a special souvenir tourist shirt. Click here for more details.
Click here for the full itinerary and tour details.
Click here for the band's Tour Poster and Media Information
Band returns from Denmark and Finland, July 2006
The band, in a smaller format, band, in a smaller format, performed in Europe once again in July 2006. The tour began at the Skagen Festival in Denmark and then in Finland for the Kuopio International Festival and the amazing Kaustinen Folk Music Festival.
The band was joined by other Australian bands Jigzag and Junior at Kuopio.
More details click here.
Click here for more pictures from the tour.
3rd visit to China by Wongawilli Band
The band, in a smaller format, performed at the Opening Night of the Australian Film Week in Shenzhen on Tuesday 16th May and the Australian Pavilion at the China International Cultural Industry Fair in Shenzhen from 18 - 20 May.
The band will also played at an Austrade Business Function and the True Colour Club in Shenzhen.
This will be the third visit in as many years. The previous events were the Australian Film Festival in Beijing and the Nanning International Folk Song Arts Festival.
David De Santi and Jane Brownlee launched the second volume of Australian Traditional Dance Tune at the 2006 National Folk Festival in Canberra at Easter.
This formed part of the their work as the 2004 National Library Folk Festival Fellowship winners. Jane and David spent 2 months at the Library finding 'new' old tunes.
The book has 175 tunes and includes the 51 tunes they found as part of their Fellowship and which are included on the recording, subtitled A Swag of Treasures.
Click here to buy the new Tunebook with 175 tunes
Click here to buy the CD (51 tunes)
Band off to Denmark and FInland, July 2006
The band, in a smaller format, toured in Europe once again in July 2006. The tour began at the Skagen Festival in Denmark and then they wereoff to Finland for the Kuopio International Festival and the Kaustinen Folk Music Festival. More details click here.
16th National Folk Festival Performances, 2006
The Wongawilli Band, along with the Wongawilli Colonial Dancers performed at it's 16th consecutive National Folk Festival over Easter, 13-17 April 2006.
The band and dancers presented a number of Australian and Italian theme performances including 'Our Australian Italian Wedding', Opening Dance, Launch of Australian tunebook and Italian tunebook. The band also presented a bushy Italian theme version of Joe Dolce's Shaddap You Face!
David and Jane from the band also performed with Kavisha Mazzella in presenting the music under the silent film, 'Dall' Italia All Australia'. It's a film about Italian migrants coming to Australia in the 1920s. Click here for details.
2005 China Visit, Nanning International Folk Song Arts Festival
Nanning International Folk Song Arts Festival is sponsored by Nanning Municipal People's Government, and has been successfully held for consecutive 6 years with its full-bodied ethnicity, diversity, strong sense of modern times and internatinonalism, it has also become one of the most influential cultural festivals in China. In 2004, Nanning was designated as the permenant site for China ASEAN EXPO, and the festival is held at the same time as the EXPO since 2004, which makes the festival more and more important. Every year, domestic and international elites, famous top-profile singers and art groups are invited by the Organizing Committee.
See the report from the band at the 2005 Nanning International Folk Song Arts Festival in China from David De Santi. Click here for more details on the visit and photos.
We arrived safe and tired in Nanning on Wednesday 19 in time to attend the Opening Ceremony.
What an amazing sight! Over 70,000 people were in attendance to listen to a great selection of Chinese artists and some wonderful international guests includingt the Vienna Boys Choir, a choir and band from Russia doing the Russian thing, an amazing Swedish piano player and lots more.
The theme of the concert was the presentation of the four seasons. The lights and effects and fireworks were incredible! It would be true to say that we have never experienced anything like it!
The band today travelled out to one of the outer counties of Nanning and performed to around 5,000 people in the town square. On the same concert were performers from Egypt, Italy and of course many Chinese dancers and singers. It was truly an amazing experience. The children absolutely swamped us and Sam of course!
Dave, Thursday 20 October, 2005
from hotel room in Nanning
Click here for more details on the Nanning visit and photos.
Free Sheet Music for Australian Tunes
NEW and FREE! Sheet music for 46 Australian traditional dance tunes - reels, jigs, waltzes, polkas, mazurkas, schottisches, set tunes.
Click here to go to the Acrobat PDF download page.
Click here to buy the new Tunebook with 175 tunes.
Successful European Tour for Band, June/July 2005
The band was invited to perform at a number of festivals in Denmark and Sweden including HALKAER FESTIVAL, SKAGEN FESTIVAL and the DEGERBERGA FOLK FESTIVAL.
The tour was a huge success with 27 performances over the 35 day period and over 6000 listeners.There are many invitaitions to go back.
Click here for the tour diary and photos.
Click here for the Wongawilli Tour details.
Re-release of the previous Wongawilli Band recordings
Two of the band previous recordings - After the Tradition and Australian Selection - are to be re-released in May. They can be oredered from the Australian folk music magazine CD shop - www.tradandnow.com/shopping
20 years of weekly Bush Dances
2005 marked the 20th year of a regular Wednesday night bush dances with music provided by members of the Wongawilli Band.
Over 40,000 people would have attended over that time. The dance was initially held in Dapto and now in the Wongawilli Community Hall.
The band has been led since its inception by David De Santi who still squeezes away. The sheet music is provided for the musicians.
Jane Brownlee from Wongawilli organised the 3rd Jamberoo Valley Folk Music School for fiddlers.
It was a chance to learn some Australian tunes and fiddle technique in the beautiful surrounds of Jamberoo.
Special guests, Sandy Brechin, Ronan Martin and Ewan Wilkinson from Scotland provided some extra tuition and fun.
Click here for details about the 2005 School
A future school has not been planned yet.
Page lasted updated 17 June 2008 by David De Santi
Click here to purchase Australian
folk music & dance CDs, books
over 50 titles, including all
Wongawilli Band productions
NEW WONGAWILLI CD - Australia Street
issued July 2008
18 tracks, 72 minutes of traditional, contemporary and original Australian folk songs and tunes
You can also purchase the CD, and other Wongawilli titles online from:
Redback Music, Crown Street, Wollongong
Kiama Visitors Centre, Blowhole Point
Albion Park Post Office
Friday 1 August - New Wongawilli CD - Australia Street - launch at Illawarra Folk Club, City Diggers Wollongong
Sunday 3 August - Wongawilli in concert - Mount Kembla Hotel, 2pm to 5pm
Saturday 30 August - Family Charity Bush Dance, for Oxfam Australia and 24th Illawarra Folk Festival. 6.30pm to 9pm, City Diggers Wollongong. Families $14, Adults $7
Saturday 27 September - Wongawili playing for the annual Canberra Colonial Ball
Thursday 16 October - Wongawilli at Bowral Blues and Folk night, Scottish Arms Hotel, Bowral
Sunday 19 October - one of 17 acts at Folk in the Foothills, one day folk festival, 5 venues, 25 concerts, Jamberoo Valley Lodge. Early bird tikcets $30, Go to: www.illawarrafolkclub.org.au/store for tickets
Sunday 26 October, Midday BYO Picnic, Free Concert at 1.30pm - Wongawilli Community Hall
Saturday 20 December 2008 6.30pm - Christmas Dinner Bush Dance, Albion Park Centenary Hall. Click here for details.
Weekly Bush Dance at Wongawilli
The Club has presented a bush dance every Wednesday at the Wongawilli Community Hall (except over the Christmas/New Year) since 1987. There is a live band and all the dances are walked and called through. Acoustic musicians are welcome as sheet music is provided.
There are a number of theme dances nights during the year as follows:
Wed 23 January- Pre-Australia Day bush dance from 8pm at Woonona Bulli Sports Club
Wed 27 February - Pre-St David's Day Welsh Bush Dance.
Wed 12 March - Pre-St Patrick's Day dance.
Wed 16 April - Pre-St George's English Country Dance.
Wed 23 April - Anzac Day Bush Dance.
Wed 28 May - Italian Folk Dance
Wed 23 July - Post Bastille Day French folk dance.
Wed 26 November - St Andrews Day Dance
Wed 17 December - Final Dance for 2008.
Wed 14 January 2009 - First dance for 2009 at Bulli Heritage Hotel as part of the 2009 Illawarra Folk Festival
Wed 21 January - Pre-Australia Day Bush Dance, part of the 22nd Illawarra Folk Festival, Bulli Heritage Hotel
Wed 1 April - Irish Ceili with special guests - Alan Kelly Band from Galway Ireland
Wongawilli Community Hall
Since 1990 Wongawilli Colonial Dance Club Inc has managed the Wongawilli Community Hall for the Wollongong City Council.
Bush dances are held there every Wednesday night from 8pm.
The Hall is available to hire for functions. It is 6m wide x 11m long and seat around 60 people.
Click here for details to hire the Wongawilli Community Hall
Click here for Wongawilli Community Hall Booking form (PDF format)
Where is Wongawilli? Click here.
Established in 1987, Wongawilli has played for concerts, colonial balls, dance all over Australia and since 2004 has performed in China on 3 occasions and in Denmark, Sweden, Germany, USA and Canada.
The Wongawilli band - 1996 - 2007
Click here for information on the Wongawilli Band
On tour in Europe July 2006, Click here for details
On tour in Europe June 2005, Click here for details
Click here for media photographs
Upcoming Wongawilli Band Performances
Members of the band play every week at the regular Wednesday night bush dance at Wongawilli Community Hall. Acoustic musicians are invited to join in with sheet music provided. The evening starts at 8pm and costs $2.50 and includes a light supper.
for more Wongawilli Band dates go to Myspace
Where is Wongawilli? Click here
25 to 28 January 2007 - Illawarra Folk festival at Bulli Showground. Concerts, dances, workshops, 20th Anniversary Concert. Click here for information on the festival
5-9 April - National Folk Festival, Canberra, 20th Anniversary concerts, dances. 17th continous apperance.
Saturday 1 September - Monaro Folk Society Colonial Ball, Canberra
29 September - 14 October - New Zealand Tour. Click here for more details.
Saturday 20 October - Wongawilli 20th Anniversary Bush Dance with special dancers and musician guests from Denmark - ØSTJYDSKE FOLKEDANSERE, Albion Park Centenary Hall
Sunday 21 October - Folk in the Foothills, one day folk festival at Jamberoo Valley Lodge, presented by Illawarra Folk Club. 12 other acts.
Saturday 15 December - Christmas with Wongawilli, dinner, 4 hour dance, Chistmas cheer. Albion Park Centenary Hall. Tickets 02 4236 0097.
17-20 January 2008 - 23rd Illawarra Folk Festival at Bulli, 120 acts, 200 events, 4 days of party!
25 to 29 January 2006 - Illawarra Folk festival at Bulli Showground. Concerts, dances, workshops. Click here for information on the festival.
14-17 April - National Folk Festival, Canberra, 6 performances
Fri 5 May - Graeme Murray and friends at the Illawarra Folk Club, City Diggers Wollongong
Tues 16 May - Opening of Australian Film Festival, Shenzen, China
Thu 18 to Sat 20 May - Australian Pavilion, International Cultural Industry Fair in Shenzhen China. 3 performances daily.
Thu 18 May - Austrade Business Network Function, Shenzen, China
Sat 20 May - True Colour Club Concert, 8.30pm, Shenzhen China
Thu 29 June to Sun 1 July - Skagen Festival, Denmark
Mon 2 to Sat 8 July - Kuopio International Wine Festival, Finland. Part of Australian theme. Jigzag and Junior also playing.
Sun 9 to Wed 12 July - Kaustinen Folk Music Festival, Finland. Sunday 11pm, Cafe Mondo; Monday 4.30pm Arena Concert; Wednesday 11pm, Cafe Mondo and lots of sessions!
Thu 13 July - Tomtebo Folklore Centre, Helsinki, 5pm for a concert dance.
Sat 16 December - Christmas with Wongawilli Dinner Bush Dance, Albion Park Centenary Hall.
Fri 3 to Sun 5 June 2005 - Hakaer Festival, Denmark
June 2005 - Various other gigs in Denmark, Sweden, Germany Click here for details
Sat 10 Sept 2005 - Camp Quality Fundraising Bush Dance, Centenary Hall, Albion Park
19 to 22 October 2005 - Nanning International Folk Song Arts Festival, China
17 December 2005 - Christmas with Wongawilli Dinner Dance, 3 course meal, 5 hours of dancing, Albion Park Centenary Hall.
About the Wongawilli Band, Dancers and Club
The aim of the Wongawilli Band, Wongawilli Colonial Dancers & Wongawilli Colonial Dance Club Inc. established in 1987 is to preserve, promote and perform Australia's tradition and heritage of music, song, dance, poetry and yarnspinning. The band, club and dancers are involved in recording, publishing, arranging functions and folk festivals.
The Club is based in the Illawarra region, 130km south of Sydney, New South Wales and presents a number of events including the Australian Folk Music and Dance Gathering. It was previously the Australian Folk Festival.
The Club also assists the Illawarra Folk Club with the staging of the popular Illawarra Folk Festival held at Jamberoo over the past 20 years. David De Santi, member of the Wongawilli Band, has been the Festival's director since 1996.
Click here for details on the Illawarra Folk Festival
This site includes the largest collection in Australia of Australian Traditional Music and Dance Publications & Recordings.
The word Wongawilli is aboriginal and is believed to mean place of wind or windy gully.