What a show!

Well done Gungahlin College Theatre Company!

Earlier this year I was fortunate to be invited to run a vocal workshop for students from the Musical and Stage Performance class at Gungahlin College.

They were an impressive group!

The students and teachers were keen to participate in the vocal warm-ups and exercises, despite being out in the cold. Outdoors was the best place to be, considering the possibilities of the dreaded COVID lurking around the corners and indoor spaces!

I recall feeling excited for the students. They were embarking on this amazing journey and staging a Tony Award-winning show!

For those who don’t know, Matilda The Musical is the multi-award winning musical from the Royal Shakespeare Company, inspired by the beloved book by Roald Dahl. The stage show was written by Dennis Kelly, and the original songs by Tim Minchin.

I had the privilege of attending the last Saturday performance of Matilda the musical at the Gungahlin College Theatre. I went along with a couple of friends, who thoroughly enjoyed the show.

The performance was beyond our expectations! The professionalism and talent of all those involved was apparent.

The major players embodied their characters, especially Jaz White, who played Matilda. She could have come directly from a performance at London’s Royal Shakespeare Company! I was impressed by Jaz’s natural singing ability and how she handled the complex songs with such ease! I especially loved those scenes in the library with Mrs Phelps, played by lovely Alisha Singh. Kudos to the stage design here – and those brightly painted book shelves!

Joshua Harvett, did an awesome job at portraying the fun, yet scary Principal Trunchball.

Rylee Bussencshutt played the perfect Miss Honey with such a gorgeous legit singing voice. I could imagine her playing Cinderella in “Into The Woods”.

As for Matilda’s horribly selfish family, the Wormwoods, the performances were true to character.

Mr Wormwood performed by Andrew Hird, was terrific. He evoked the slapstick comedians of time past such as; Laurel and Hardy, and The Three Stooges.

Imogen Starr-Lawrence, as Mrs Wormwood, took me back to an old-time favourite “Strictly Ballroom”, with her delightful dancing and fun sparkly costume and permed blond wig.

Last but not least, Makayla McIntyre, truly embodied the perfect teenage boy as Michael Wormwood, the favourite Wormwood child.

I would also like to give credit to the strong ensemble performance – there were a number of  talented singers and actors, who played minor characters.

I look forward to seeing some of these young performers from Gungahlin College Theatre in future Canberra or national and international shows!

Best of luck everyone for the future, it’s looking oh so bright!



It’s been a tough year for many in Australia and throughout the world. I have felt wonder at all the kindness displayed and community connectedness, despite the difficulties we’ve all shared.

Music has been a constant in our lives and always will be. We’ve downloaded music, brought out old records that hark back to happy times in our lives. We’ve even started going to gigs and supporting the local arts.

Musicians and artists have been creative throughout the year, finding new ways to reach people (as well as trying to earn a dollar or two!!!).

Let’s continue to spread joy, goodwill, and compassion throughout this Festive Season and beyond.

Best wishes,

Bella Groove

I’m so thrilled to be asked to perform at this wonderful, jazz venue in Canberra, the Jazz Haus.

The Jazz Haus is a new venue in Canberra, established in 2018 by bassist/educator, Eric Ajaye.

As a musician, I feel responsible for promoting this amazing venue. The Jazz Haus is a room located within the Mawson Austrian club. Eric wanted Canberrans to have a New York “Blue Note” or “Birdland” club experience, where the musicians and audiences are treated to a room with engaged, appreciative, listening audiences.

I have a terrific line-up of musicians joining me at the Jazz Haus on April 3, including two top Sydney musicians, who will be driving down for the occasion.

Toby Hall

Toby Hall, one of the most highly regarded Australian drummers, (who has worked with the finest jazz musicians such as; Don Burrows, James Morrison, Sandy Evans, Paul Grabowsky and Vince Jones).

Tim Rollinson

Talented guitarist, composer, Tim Rollinson (founder member of Australian band D.I.G, Directions in Groove), who has also worked with a number of notable Australian musicians.

Miroslav Bukovsky

Miroslav Bukovsky, legendary  Australian Jazz musician, composer, Aria award winner, educator and leading jazz trumpeter.

John Black

Piano player extraordinaire, John Black worked full-time as a musician in Sydney before moving to Canberra in the mid 80s to lecture at the ANU School of Music. He played support at the Canberra Theatre for Dizzy Gillespie and his United Nations Orchestra. John also studied Cuban piano styles in Havana with Andres Alén. He is a highly sought after musician and educator in Canberra.

Eric Ajaye

Last but not least is Eric Ajaye, who’s resumé reads like a musical who’s who. He has played with notable and diverse musicians such as; Freddie Hubbard, Taj Mahal, Nancy Wilson, the Pointer Sisters, and Chaka Khan. He has also performed for television shows and commercials as a session musician.

Eric runs the Jazz Haus. He does all the promotion via all his social media channels and Canberra’s local community radio station, Art Sound. He donates $100 from each concert to his preferred charity.

Eric and his lovely wife, Karen, put so much love into setting up this venue. Karen sets up the tables with lit candles and the room is filled with jazz memorabilia. You really do get the feel of being in a New York Jazz club.

So this is indeed a treat for musician’s and audiences alike! I hope to see you at my concert on April 3rd, it will be an exciting one indeed!

I’m really looking forward to playing at the Foundry 616 this Thursday 3rd August!

This will also be my first gig in Sydney since the late 90s! So it is a real thrill to be returning to the old stomping ground to play at a top jazz venue.

Most of all, I’m excited to be perform with a great line-up of musicians and play for family and Sydney friends!

So I hope to see a supportive crowd at Foundry 616!

Bella Groove plays The Foundry 616 in August 2017

The City Lights album launch in Canberra was filmed with the help of talented videographer, Matt Ong. We’re going to release the videos in the same order as the tracks on the album.

City Lights is the first, we hope you enjoy watching it on YouTube and give us a like and share 🙂

Song background

The song City Lights, title of the Bella Groove album, was conceived about 8 years ago!

I wrote the main chorus of City Lights after seeing Dan Sultan perform at the Sydney Opera House.

It was exciting seeing a live band at The Opera House Studio. The Studio theatre, “with its capacity to transform, is a space where the edges of art are not only reached but explored”. I have been fortunate to see a few “bizarre and beautiful” acts perform at the Studio.

So, I was buzzing… walking down the promenade at Circular Quay, heading back to my inner West abode. Suddenly the tune just came to me, beginning with the lyrics:

Come down now, come to the city tonight

There you’ll find brighter skies than you’ll ever see

A full moon out there, full moon out there

Come take a risk with me…

The rest of the lyrics came later. The melody was fixed!

Piano player and arranger, Hugh Barrett, played some cool chords and I figured out the intro! Hugh went away and worked on a horn arrangement, then we had a tune!

Thanks to Matt Ong and James Robinson who assisted Matt with filming the launch.




It is said that bass players provide the link between the rhythm and melody of a song.

The amazing Eric Ajaye and the talented John Burgess are the bass players on the Bella Groove debut album.

I was so excited when Eric agreed to play on my album. Not only is Eric deeply respected amongst fellow musicians in Canberra, he is a widely respected player worldwide!

Eric has toured many parts of the world with acclaimed musicians such as; Freddie Hubbard, Taj Mahal,  Nancy Wilson, James Morrison, Bob Sedergreen, Paul Grabowsky and Sandy Evans. He has also worked as a session musician on several film and TV projects in the U.S. and recorded for artists such as Chaka Khan and Bill Cosby.

John has been playing bass for 20 years. Eric was his teacher and mentor at the ANU Jazz school. According to Eric, John is the “poster boy” for the upright Steinberger electric bass. He produces such a unique tone and plays awesome solos too!

John has been my ‘go-to’ bass player in Canberra since Bella Groove formed in 2012. So it made sense for John to play on my debut jazz album!

Woo hoo! The album is now ready for mastering!

Thanks to Greg Stott and Mark Sutton, of Hi Hat Music Studio for doing a fabulous job editing and mixing the album!

Thanks especially to Greg Stott for the amount of hours dedicated to mixing 12 tunes!

I thoroughly recommend anyone to Hi Hat Music Studio. Greg and Mark are the loveliest guys to deal with, they’re so easy going! The quality of their work is paramount.

Now I’ll be handing over the tunes to be mastered by Andrew Edgson, from Studios 301. Thanks to Bob Scott‘s recommendation.