D Days
H Hours
M Min
until the 2018 Commonwealth Games commence.
Longines Time
April 4 to 15 2018
The Great Australian Songbook
  • Thu 5 Apr 2018
  • Main Stage, Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast
  • Festival 2018
  • Free
Music World premiere

The Great Australian Songbook

The Great Australian Songbook takes our anthems, love songs and ballads and sings them back to us in the vibrant accents of the Commonwealth.

Under the direction of globally renowned David Coulter, singers and musicians from Canada, the United Kingdom, Jamaica, Nigeria and beyond reinterpret the songs that make us who we are. Join Peaches, Nadine Shah, Winston McAnuff, Afrikan Boy, Patrick Wolf, The Mahotella Queens and special guests Meow Meow and Bart Willoughby in an unforgettable night of Australian music.

David Coulter

David Coulter is an English musician, producer and musical director, known for his expertise in unusual instruments such as saw, ukulele and mouth harp. He has recorded and toured with artists such as Gorillaz, Marianne Faithfull, Richard Hawley, Tim Robbins, Joe Strummer, The Pogues and Kronos Quartet, to name a few.

David was Damon Albarn’s musical supervisor for the composing of 'Monkey Journey to the West' and band leader for Tom Waits and Bob Wilson’s 'The Black Rider'.

David directed special projects and multi-artists performances for London’s Barbican Centre, Lyon’s Les Nuits de Fourvière and Paris Philharmonie, such as Plague Songs, Twisted Christmas, Carousel – The Songs of Jacques Brel, Let it be live, Rain dogs revisited, In Dreams – David Lynch revisited, Jim Jarmusch revisited and Double Fantasy live for Yoko Ono’s Meltdown at London Southbank Centre.

He has often worked in Australia and with Australian artists in projects such as Hal Willner’s Came So Far For Beauty and Rogues’ Gallery at Sydney Opera House, Lullaby Movement with Sophia Brous and Leo Abrahams for Sydney Festival and Discreet +Oblique with The Necks for Melbourne Arts Centre.


An iconic feminist musician, producer, director, and performance artist, Peaches has spent two decades forging a bold, sexually progressive path through popular culture that’s opened the doors for countless others to follow. She first catapulted to international stardom with her “surreally funny [and] nasty” (Rolling Stone) 2000 debut, 'The Teaches of Peaches,' an album which upended stereotypes and embraced taboos as it introduced the world to Peaches’ raunchily explosive persona. Since then, she’s released four more critically acclaimed albums - prompting the New York Times to dub her a genuine “heroine” and Uncut to rave that she brings together "high art, low humour and deluxe filth [in] a hugely seductive combination” - in addition to collaborating with everyone from Iggy Pop and Daft Punk to Kim Gordon and Yoko Ono. Her music has been honored with the prestigious Polaris Heritage Prize, been featured in cultural watermarks like Lost In Translation, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Broad City, and studied at universities around the world.

An equally prolific visual and performance artist, Peaches has directed over twenty of her own videos, curated a stunning book of Holger Tolinski photographs documenting her life on and off the road, and participated in some of modern art’s most prominent gatherings, including Art Basel Miami and the Venice Biennale. In 2010, she unveiled 'Peaches Does Herself,' an electro-rock opera spanning material from throughout her career that was arranged into a loosely autobiographical narrative. It morphed into a film of the same title, which premiered at the TIFF in 2012 before traveling to more than 70 festivals around the world. Peaches continued her foray into thearer with a wildly successful one-woman production of 'Jesus Christ Superstar', redubbed 'Peaches Christ Superstar,' and showed off her remarkable range singing the title role in a Berlin production of Monteverdi's epic 17th-century opera 'L’Orfeo.' 

Today, Peaches can be heard weekly as the theme music to comedian Samantha Bee’s Full Frontal, and she continues to tour the world relentlessly in support of her latest album, ‘Rub,’ spreading joy and empowerment everywhere she goes as she mixes the profane and the political in that singular way only Peaches can.

The Mahotella Queens

The Mahotella Queens are true legends! Together with the 'Makhona Tsothle Band' and the late, great bass "groaner", Mahlatini, they invented "Mbaqanga", a potent mix of various South African and imported styles - an explosive sound; intimately regional yet widely universal, which not only changed the course of music in their country, but continues to captivate the world.

The Mahotella Queens Hilda Tloubatla, Nobesuthu Mbadu and the newly crowned Queen Amanda Nokuthula Nkosi are now representing more than just one generation and their live show is full of dance, joy and energy and even more vibrant than ever before

Bart Willoughby

Pioneering Indigenous performer Bart Willoughby first came to prominence in the late 70’s in the Band 'No Fixed Address'. Born on the Koonibba Mission in Ceduna South Australia a Pitantjatjara man of the Kuthatha tribe on his father’s side and Mirning through his mother. Known for singing from behind his kit in 'No Fixed Address' they were the first indigenous band to tour internationally and sign a record deal, appearing in the ground breaking docu-drama 'Wrong Side of the Road 'in 1981. In 2013 he released an album 'We still live on' recorded on the Melbourne Town Hall Organ. The first Indigenous artist to do so, in 2014 Bart received the Australia Council Fellowship to tour the album. Willoughby is also touring the country again with 'No Fixed Address' with plans to record a new album this year.

Patrick Wolf

Born in Central London, Patrick Wolf released his first self-produced and written E.P in 2002 at just the age of 19. Since then he has released six fantastic albums, toured the world almost constantly to an ever growing international audience, whilst constantly changing and exploring new sounds, songwriting styles, visual identities and production. A classically trained violist, harpist and composer, a self-trained pianist, singer and producer, Wolf also writes all his own material without co-writers.

Nadine Shah

Armed with a uniquely rich and soulful voice which, paired with her effortlessly eloquent and arresting lyrics, Nadine Shah has earned an early reputation as a rising, uncompromising talent. The mesmerising singer has constantly challenged her listeners, exploring and dissecting taboo subjects in a graceful and sincere manner.
Her first album, 'Love Your Dum And Mad', released in 2013 and produced by Ben Hillier, was largely inspired by the taboos around mental health. Nadine released her own second album 'Fast Food', which saw her change the piano for a guitar, a bolder and more confident offering.

Afrikan Boy

There’s no identity crisis in the music of Olushola Ajose. Performing under the moniker Arikan Boy, he makes music that totally reflects his life experience, brilliantly fusing the sounds of grime of his south-east London manor with the classic sound of Africa.

Meow Meow

Meow Meow has performed contemporary and Weimar repertoires with the London Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, the New York Pops, Oregon Symphony, Barry Humphries, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, ANAM, and in her own creations everywhere from the Sydney Opera House to Lincoln Centre New York to Berlin's Bar Jeder Vernunft and London's West End. Her original work has been curated by David Bowie, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Piña Bausch and she has appeared most recently at the Boston Majestic in an acclaimed season of 'An Audience with Meow Meow'. Most recently, Meow Meow appeared in Meow Meow’s Pandemonium with London Philharmonic Orchestra at Royal Festival Hall, and with Sydney Symphony Orchestra at the Sydney Opera House’s Concert Hall.

Winston McAnuff

He has dread-locks, a grey beard and the look of a typical Rasta, but to define him, you’d better leave all the stereotypes behind: he’s not that easily labelled.

At 61 years-old, the man nicknamed Electric Dread for his extravagant energy on stage has collaborated with the most respected roots-reggae producers like Derrick Harriot as with artists such as Laurent Garnier, Zenzile, S-Mos and more.

On his last collaborating album with French accordionist Fixi, he invites afrobeat drummer Tony Allen and French superstar M (Mathieu Chedid). Entitled ‘A new day’, this last release saw him touring worldwide for more than 160 shows and being nominated at the French Music Academy Awards Les Victoires de la Musique for the ‘Best World Music Album of the Year’.

Never turning his back on reggae music, Winston McAnuff took part last year to the Inna de Yard collective for ‘The Soul of Jamaica’, an acoustic outdoor recording, acclaimed by critics and soon to be broadcast in theatres.

Next autumn will also see the third album of his awaited collaboration with Fixi, defining once again new borders for reggae music worldwide.

Commissioned by Festival 2018.

Thu 5 Apr 2018
Thu 5 Apr, 07:00pm - 11:00pm
Main Stage, Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast

-27.9979378, 153.4306901

Surfers Paradise Esplanade
Surfers Paradise QLD 4217

Accessibility information

The Main Stage is located on the sand, but can be viewed from The Esplanade. 


David Coulter, Musical director
Terry Edwards, Saxophones and horns
Alex Reeve, Guitar
Steve Nieve, Piano
Tom Herbert, Bass
Seb Rochford, Drums
Marc Cardonnel and Bryn Ormrod, Producers
Fanny Deroff, Production management 

Patrick Wolf Image Credit: Heiko Prigge, Photographer