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Bush Music - Australia's Traditional Folk Music - Songs, Music and Dances

Latest NEWS

All the arrangements of Bush Tunes in Parts used with the National Folk Festival Bush Orchestra 2012-2017 are now available for download and viewing.

David's collation of Old (and Not So Old ) Bush Songs has been made available on this web site as a series of web pages that can be downloaded as pdfs or as abc files (which can be edited eg to change key with a program such as ABCExplorer)

PLUS the start of a collection of recently composed tunes in the traditional style entitled The Continuing Tradition. Other tunes are welcomed (especially in abc format). The format is the same as the Bush Songs.

David Johnson completed his bush music apprenticeship at the Sydney based Bush Music Club. Strongly influenced in the song, dance and poetry traditions by the likes of Jamie Carlin, Barry Collerson, Frank Maher, John Dengate, Ralph Pride, and Bob Bolton, David worked with a number of bush bands including The Sydney Coves, The Rouseabouts, The Reedy River Bushmen and Pinchgut, playing fiddle, guitar, banjo-mandolin, banjo, and occasionally tin whistle and button accordion. He established and then led Southern Cross Bush Band for many years until the tree change to the Southern Highlands where he started the Paddys River Band, initially a family band and now including several other local musicians.

A new lineup with Canberra musicians Ray Mulligan and Peter Percival and long term music mate Ralph Pride from Goulburn has been established under the name FolkLines.

On the first Friday of the month David leads a bush music session at the Old Goulburn Brewery. Each month has a theme for songs and poems and collected tunes from south-eastern NSW are featured.

Recent involvement with Bush Traditions Inc has seen David programming the annual Goulburn Gathering and the Bundanoon DanceFest. With Ray Mulligan and others, he has been presenting Australian collected tunes sessions at the National Folk Festival for the last ten years.

Since 1983 he has led the Heritage Ensemble as Musical Director and Conductor. The Ensemble is an annual confluence of bush musos from all over NSW. Together under the musical direction of David they provide the quality bush orchestra sound for the Heritage Ball put on annually by the Bush Music Club. In April 2015 a contingent of 30 musicians also played for the main ball at the National Folk Festival in Canberra.

Recognised all around the country as the author of "The Blue Book" - a folio of Bush Dance music, David has also been responsible for a number of other publications and recordings which can be explored on his Online Store with secure payments through PayPal using either a PayPal membership or your credit card. Alternatively, you can view the available items and print an order form to post with your cheque. A new totally revised edition of Bush Dance is currently in preparation.

David's passion for the neglected Anglo-Concertina has led him to establish a web-based Concertina Tutor for playing it in an Australian style. A folio of tunes in keys to suit the instrument is also available in the Online Store.

A period of isolated inspiration in Yass in 2006 gave David the time to collate and record a collection of poems that he had set to music. The resultant CD is Rough Sawn -A collection of New Songs in the Australian Tradition. More information and orders.




sc recording

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mulligan and johnson

david and james