Mia Barham - Alto Saxophone and Flute
Ashley Ballat - Trumpet
Ayda Akbal - Piano, Cello and Vocals
Blakely Mclean Davies - Bass and Effects
Mixing - Ayda Akbal
Sound Engineer/Mastering - Pat Telfer
Album Artwork - Rachel Derum
This album is an exploration of the beautiful natural world we cohabit. I spend a lot of time in nature and I have always found a sense of peace in that world. Many of these compositions were written about the time I spent in Warrnambool, on Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, which is my father’s family’s hometown. We travelled back to Warrnambool for my grandpa’s funeral, where we all reconnected and found solace in a place that is close to all our hearts. Although I’ve never lived there, I felt a real connection to the cold and windy Warrnambool coastline that my grandfather so adored. These compositions are an exploration of the connection between person and place and the comfort found in the natural world. Earth Songs is a raw exploration of connection, peace and comfort.
Composing with this feeling in mind, I took my works to my incredibly talented quartet who brought them to life in a way I could have never imagined. It was a special experience for me to see how they interpreted my ideas and how they expressed their own connection to nature. I was grateful to have these three beautiful people play my music. Throughout the development of this album we formed a creative environment that was comfortable and cohesive and I really hope you can hear that in our music.
I would like to thank Paul Williamson, Angela Davis and Nat Bartsch for their incredible guidance and support throughout this process. Their mentorship and kindness has helped bring this album to fruition. I also would like to thank Tarko Sibbel and Helen Hardy who were my high school music teachers. Without them I wouldn’t be doing music at all! And of course I owe so much to my beautiful family Tash, David and Sophie. They all have been huge supports the whole way and I am so thankful for their unconditional support.
The last thing I would like to add is that this album is created in loving memory of my late grandfather Bob Barham. He adored music and it is his saxophone that I perform on and play in this album. He had this incredible gung-ho, never say die attitude and an infectious passion for life, constantly seeking the next adventure. His spirit is something that I’ve tried to carry though the making of this album, trying to embrace his courageous outlook on life and willingness to take a risk.
Thank you so much for listening! I hope you love it!
"One of the most rewarding aspects of working in music education is observing the emergence and subsequent development of exciting new talents as they begin their journey in the broader music community - this has certainly been the case with saxophonist/ flautist Mia Barham and trumpeter Ashley Ballat. From the very first notes I heard them play, the beginnings of their distinctive sounds and compositional approaches were apparent, and their passion for music and creativity was evident. It's with great satisfaction that I sit here now listening to the sublime debut recording, 'Earth Songs', by the Mia Barham Quartet. In addition to Barham and Ballat, the quartet features sensitive and dynamic playing by pianist Ayda Akbal and bassist Blakely Mclean Davies. 'Earth Songs' features 10 compositions by Barham that fit together as a complementary music continuum - often reminiscent of soundscapes, featuring unhurried, spacious, evocative and powerful journeys where the collective ensemble intent never wavers from keeping the essence of the music as the central objective. I hope you derive as much pleasure as I do listening to this impressive debut!"
Dr Paul Williamson (jazz trumpeter, composer & Convenor of Jazz at Monash University School of Music and Performance).