About The Performers
The Secret History of Queensland is presented by three extraordinarily experienced teachers and performers. The amazing art of fiddlesinging is the focus of this collaboration between Scottish fiddler and Golden Fiddle Award winner, Emma Nixon, internationally renowned singer from Cloudstreet, Nicole Murray, and acclaimed singer and songwriter, Rebecca Wright. Their gorgeous harmony singing, accompanied by fiddle, viola and cello, brings Scottish and Australian repertoire vividly to life.
Winner of three Golden Fiddle Awards in both teaching and playing categories, Emma Nixon is a star of the Australian fiddle scene, her powerful and passionate performances of traditional and contemporary Scottish music enchanting audiences across Australia and around the world.
A registered teacher, Emma is passionate about music education. She has taught classroom music and string instrumental music for over 20 years. Emma is also interested in community music making. She established and directs the Brisbane Celtic Fiddle Club, teaches Scottish fiddle classes at workshops and summer schools in Australia and the UK.
Emma was the joint recipient of the 2012 National Folk Fellowship, awarded by the National Library of Australia and the National Folk Festival. She researched Scottish music in Australia in the Library’s manuscript and oral history collections. Based on this research, Emma has recorded a CD, compiled a tune book and presented papers at national and international conferences.
Emma has completed a Master of Music in Folk and Traditional Music at Newcastle University (UK). She is currently undertaking a PhD in Australia, researching methods of dissemination of traditional Scottish fiddling.
Emma is in demand as a Scottish dance fiddler in Australia & New Zealand, playing for Scottish Country Dance classes, socials and balls, as well as for Scottish ceilidh dances.
Nicole Murray is a Queensland-based singer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, international performer, choir director and visual artist.
She has toured in ten countries since 2003, and made seven albums with John Thompson as the award-winning folk duo, Cloudstreet, specialising in harmony vocals, with Irish flute, fiddle and percussion, matching John on concertina and guitar.
Nicole has taught Traditional Singing annually for five years, at the week-long Celtic summer school, Music Under the Southern Cross, in Victoria. Her passion for community music-making led her to found the Maleny Tunes Class in 2007, where she taught weekly Irish tunes for three years. Members of the tunes class have graduated to play in the Maleny Ceili Band for community dances. In 2012 she founded The Folk Choir in Brisbane, which she continues to direct, and since 2010 she has directed Morningsong Choir. Nicole is a qualified teacher and teaches preschool music classes with Rhapsodaisy.
She co-founded in 2008, co-ordinates and teaches at the Maleny Celtic Winter School every June, an intense weekend of Celtic music workshops, concert, sessions and dance.
She was the Musical Director for the Woodford Folk Festival Closing Ceremony Fire Event in 2010, coordinating the music to accompany the live fire show before an audience of
Her songs have been used by choirs and she was nominated for a QMusic award for "The Wooden Spoon".
She is currently recording and performing nationally with Emma Nixon in the fiddle and vocal duo, The Wish List.
In 2012, she toured with Musica Viva in Schools, with the Irish ensemble, Fada. and exhibited internationally as a painter, showing portraits and presenting a paper at the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention in Northern Ireland.
Winner of the Declan Affley Award for Emerging Talent at the National Folk Festival in Canberra at the age of 18, Rebecca has spent the past 15 years performing on stages both in Australia and internationally. She is well known on the Australian folk festival circuit not only for her inspiring solo performances as a singer/songwriter/guitarist, but increasingly as guest cellosinger with a range of notable Australian artists including Cloudstreet, The Wish List, Fred Smith, Mark Cryle and Judy Small.
In 2008, she was invited to tour the UK with Australian duo, Cloudstreet. Whilst on this tour she met her now husband, Scots singer Donald McKay, and spent the following 3 years immersed in traditional Scottish music and culture whilst living with him west of Glasgow. During this time Rebecca also attended a number of residential music camps focused on traditional Scottish fiddle and cello music, and studied under various tutors including Natalie Haas, Christine Hanson and Seylan Baxter.
In 2010, Rebecca spent seven months touring Europe with seven-piece folk rock band, The Wishing Well, a tour which saw her both busking on the streets by day and performing at internationally acclaimed festivals, including the Montreux Jazz Festival, by night.
Rebecca is also a gentle and confident facilitator, having trained under community choir director, Brian Martin. She is a regular guest facilitator of The Folk Choir and Morningsong Choir, both based in Brisbane.
Rebecca has independently released two albums and two EPs, and has appeared on countless other recordings, providing both cello and vocal harmonies.
When not on tour, Rebecca works for the Australian Music Examinations Board (AMEB) as an Administrative Assistant and Examinations Supervisor.