Central to Colin's work is the Great Island Mouthbow, an original instrument he has been developing for over thirty years. Colin’s mouthbow can be bowed, plucked and played percussively and the sound modified harmonically via a mouthpiece producing a vast range of musical possibilities from a single instrument. Across these soundscapes Colin’s sings in a rich voice of exceptional range combining vocal exploration and improvisation with song, often based on texts by poet Philip Hammial. He also plays a range of original and traditional wind instruments: Harmonic Windpipes, Eagle Feather Flute, Double Flutes (by Australian maker Mark Binns), Conch shells, Khene Lao, Hulu Se and various Jaws harps.     

“He is like a modern troubadour with his artistic crossover of Celtic, Aboriginal, Medieval and Asian music. His performances are enchanting, effortless and always an exciting event. Antoine Legat Cultuur Magazine, Belgium


 

CURLEW REPUBLIC A joint project with Taiwanese video artist-performer Yilan Yeh: Moonbells, Waterbells and video art projections that create a shifting, mesmeric  landscape for the music. Artists working with Curlew Republic’s include: Blues and Roots guitarist-singer Chris Finnen, Paul Jarman: Tarogato, Bombarde & Irish whistles, jazz trumpeter Malcolm Wood and Jamie Pattugalan: drums & percussion. Curlew Republic also produce installations, exhibitions, animation works and community music projects.   

“Stockhausen meets world music. A cultural clash that is different, daring and never uninteresting.” Bruce Elder, Rolling Stone Magazine


 

EARTHHARP An environmental sound installation ideal for bringing people of different levels of skill, age and background together in a spontaneous, hands on experience of music making. Workshops are open to all and can be specifically structured to peoples needs and interests. Built from the immediate environment and the simplest of materials it can be played by itself or combined with other instruments. It can be tuned “conventionally” but more interestingly, it is by nature unpredictable, pushing players to think and work with with sounds rather than notes. It is an excellent instrument for spontaneous composition, developing original musical ideas, listening and ensemble playing and for breaking down musical prejudices.


 

FINNEN & OFFORD Kindred artistic spirits meet in a fertile and unique dialogue between singer and musical inventor Colin Offord and Blues legend, singer songwriter and guitar virtuoso Chris Finnen. Australasian Blues, swamp boogie and Country & Eastern songs and music developed over many years of playing together.

Beautiful and unusual music, easy to listen to but difficult to categorize." Jane Rickards The China Post


 

For the TERM of his NATURAL LIFE At the time of it's relase in 1927 Norman Dawn’s “For The Term of his Natural Life” was considered to be one of the greatest silent films ever made, certainly It was one of the most ambitious and expensive. Based on Marcus Clarke's epic and emotionally moving novel, this big budget film follows the fate of an English aristocrat, Rufus Dawes, transported for life to the convict settlement of Van Dieman's Land for a crime he did not commit, and his enduring love for Sylvia Vickers, the daughter of a prison governor. Shot on location in New South Wales at Berrima, Wombeyan Caves and Sydney Harbour and in Tasmania at the ruins of the convict settlement at Port Arthur, the film accurately evokes the life of convicts in the early Australian penal settlements. Hundreds of extras were employed on the film and four of the principals - Eva Novak, George Fisher, Steve Murphy and Katherine Dawn - were Americans, as was the director, Norman Dawn and the principal cameraman, Len Roos. The use of Americans in the production was hoped to ensure American release. At the time of its release the film was remarkably innovative with Norman Dawn using special effects such as 'glass shots’, which allowed him to visually 'restore' the roofs to the derelict buildings at Port Arthur. There was public opposition to the film concerning its fiercely honest portrayal of Australia's early colonial history.

Colin’s score is performed live and offers the audience a new perspective on the film itself and on Australia’s convict history and our place in the world. It seeks a balance between traditional and contemporary musical influences, tapping into our collective history and national heritage. 

“Offord is a genuine original. His music is immediately accessible, probably because without artistic pretentiousness or self-consciousness, it manages to reach into some kind of collective sub-conscious and touches sensitivities, which are both mythic and familiar.Bruce Elder, Sydney Morning Herald

Our thanks and acknowledgement to the National Film and Sound Archive and its staff for their ongoing support of this project.

 

 

MUSIC

The way in

Chance

Isaacs Walk-with Chris Finnen

Dadadu 12-Earthharp

Outside line to talking tin-Earthharp

VIDEO

Curlew Republic-Butter Factory Arts Centre

Pilgrim's Progress-Vidy Theatre

Southsea Earthharp part 1

Term of his natural life- Theatre Le Maillon