History, music and migration come together in Mara! Big Band’s new 60-minute musical suite, Zashto? or Why? in Bulgarian. It is the experience of migration to Australia over each wave of migration in the past 230+ years.

Through the stories of three women who arrived in Australia at very different times in our history, we investigate the migration experience of many in our community and we pose the question Zashto?. The protagonists are a young female convict who was arrested in Ireland at the age of 16 and transported in 1803, a Bulgarian migrant and an Iranian refugee. The libretto is drawn from poetry and texts written by or about them in their native languages (Irish Gaelic, Bulgarian and Farsi) giving a window into their experiences of displacement, hope, longing, despair and resignation in their struggle to forge a new life in this ‘lucky country’. 

This dynamite 13-piece ensemble sits between the Eastern European Gypsy brass band and jazz big band traditions. A line-up of Australian jazz and world music royalty – on woodwinds Sandy Evans, Paul Cutlan and Andrew Robson, on brass James Greening and Sam Golding, with a killer rhythm section in Steve Elphick, Llew Kiek, Gary Daley and Jess Ciampa and stunning vocals from Silvia Entcheva, Jenny Dornan, Jarnie Birmingham and Mara Kiek. 


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