Composer and musician
What is your musical background?
I’m largely self-taught – I loved songs in harmony from a young age; The Beatles, the Everly Brothers, Manhattan Transfer were all on high rotation. For a number of years I performed with a cappella group Blindman’s Holiday which sang folk songs from around the world. In 2009 – 2010 I held the National Folk Fellowship (with the National Library of Australia) and used that time to arrange songs unearthed from the Oral History and Folklore archive for a massed choir project. I have been greatly inspired by the work of Frankie Armstrong (UK) and the Natural Voice Network who declare that singing is our birthright. I’m driven to make it possible for others to find their voice and create, through singing, connections with each other, with culture and the earth. Lately I’ve discovered that I enjoy performing my own songs in venues around Sydney and at folk festivals around the country. I also love singing with my vocal trio Strawberry Thieves and working with many community choirs.
What is your advice to singers performing your works?
Know why you are singing the song. Sing it with intent. Remember that by singing we are carrying stories through the ages and we are also filling the air with beauty. Enjoy the magic of singing in harmony with other people – there’s no other experience to match that!
Songs by Christina:
What are your favourite pieces you’ve composed?
My favourite piece is always the last one I’ve finished! I’m also pleased with my song “Let There Be Peace” (SATB). I almost feel as though it created itself. I wrote it intentionally leaving space for people to add their own verses as needed. It’s been sung by choirs all over the place – at gatherings, concerts, memorials, rallies, conferences … people have told me the harmonies have lifted them and the song has allowed them to release some those sentiments difficult to articulate in times of trouble. The song has been translated into Tetum and Portugese and was sung in 2017 in the main square in Dili to commemorate the 20th anniversary of democratic elections in East Timor.