Live Bands

Every year our focus for Canberräng is on providing special places to dance along with an amazing music experience created by talented DJs and musicians, to give you a truly unforgettable four days of social dancing.  This year the live music is no exception and we’re very proud to present a spectacular lineup of talented musicians from Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Queensland and Canberra for lindy hoppers and blues dancers.

We aim to ensure that each band complements the individual event and venue. We also work with our bands each year so that they know what we as dancers want, and how to play for dancers. The result this year is an absolutely stellar line-up of a few old favourites and some brilliant new additions!

5th Avenue

5th Avenue is one of Canberra’s home grown, young and vibrant jazz bands spicing up the swing scene in the capital. The young ANU School of Music graduates share a passion for jazz and swing music, and love playing for an audience that refuses to stay sitting in their seats. The band mixes the old with the new by taking your favourite pop songs back to the swing era with the rest of your favourite swing tunes. The multitalented Kate Terry will re-join 5th Avenue again this Canberräng on backing vocals, clarinet and alto sax. The band are thrilled to be invited back to kick off the Canberräng weekend on the Thursday night!

5th Avenue are playing on Thursday 3 August at the Canberra Museum and Gallery at 7:30pm.

Price: Included in Gold pass or $25 at the door.

Mike McQuaid’s Savoy Four featuring Sandra Talty

An exciting new project formed especially for Canberräng, Mike McQuaid’s Savoy Four brings together a quartet of Australia’s swingingest musicians – Mike McQuaid on clarinet and sax, Sandra Talty on drums and vocals, Peter Locke on piano and Stan Valacos on bass. With a repertoire rich in the best of Billie, Benny and Basie, they’re sure to inspire dancing feet and listening ears! Although Sandra and Mike both play in Melbourne with the Sweet Lowdowns and the Red Hot Rhythmakers, they are Canberrans born-and-bred. From Sydney, Peter is one of Australia’s finest swing pianists, and a regular with Andrew Dickeson’s Blue Rhythm Band. Completing the lineup on bass is Stan, whose strong and propulsive rhythm underpins many of Sydney’s finest bands. This will be one of the last opportunities for an Australian audience to enjoy Mike’s brilliance before he moves to London so don’t miss out!

Mike McQuaid‘s Savoy Four featuring Sandra Talty are playing on Friday 4 August at the Albert Hall at 7:30pm.

Price: Included in Gold pass or $45 online and at the door.

Jessie Gordon

Jessie is a very sun-shy Perth red-headed jazz singer who enjoys swing music, dancing in her kitchen to Otis Redding, eating cheese at any given opportunity and singing in the shower and every other (shaded) venue. Her main musical passion is jazz, blues and roots music. Jessie has toured the world, performing in South East Asia, Germany, France, Spain and the UK. She has been nominated for 16 Fringe Awards and has won 8 Music and Cabaret Awards at Fringe World. Jessie works with many fantastic different bands in Perth and the Canberräng team can’t wait to bring this exceptional singer to dazzle our dancers at Canberräng 2017.

Jessie Gordon will be performing in the Blues Room at the late night Friday after party on 4 August at the White Eagle Polish Club from 11:59pm (entry included in Gold pass or $25 at the door).

In addition, the Jessie Gordon Jazz Band will be playing on Saturday 5 August at the Shine Dome at 2pm (entry included in Gold pass or $30 at the door).

CBR Big Band

CBR Big Band is comprised of some of the best talent Canberra has to offer, featuring professional musicians from around the ACT. The band showcases their musicianship and finesse with repertoire from the greats, as well as the newest arrangements from local and national composers and arrangers. They groove hard, lay back, swing with ease and they will blow you away with their power house horns.

The CBR Big Band will play on Saturday 5 August at the Chesspit in Garema Place at 11am.

Price: FREE

Sara Jeanne and the City Gents

Sara Jeanne and the City Gents offer an extraordinary, well-known line-up of Sydney’s most impressive jazz musicians and deliver an unforgettable night of entertainment. Sara Jeanne is one of Australia’s most respected vocalists. She will transport you back to a more romantic era with her smoky vocals and classic style. Drawing from a traditional swing repertoire of hundreds of songs, Sara Jeanne and the City Gents add modern songs arranged in a swinging style, to their performances to surprise the crowd. The band cover songs by artists ranging from Billie Holiday to Blondie. Sara Jeanne has entertained crowds around Australia and has performed at a number of Sydney swing dancing events. Being a swing dancer herself, Sara Jeanne knows just what music fills a dance floor!

Sara Jeanne and the City Gents are performing on Saturday 5 August at the National Film and Sound Archive from 7:30pm.

Price: Included in Gold pass or $45 online and at the door.

Jonno Zilber and Sean Loughran

In a somewhat arranged musical marriage, Zilber and Loughran first met one cold Melbourne night in 2013, only an hour before taking to the stage together for the first time at the Blues Before Sunrise dance exchange. Within minutes of hitting their first note they formed an unbreakable bond and confirmed an unspoken agreement that this was not to be just a one-off show. With an electric blues sound inspired by the old Chicago blues masters and a shared love of taking modern rock/pop songs and giving them a bluesy twist, Jonno Zilber and Sean Loughran have become well sought-after performers in the Australian swing and blues dancing scene and are not to be missed.

Jonno Zilber and Sean Loughran will be playing in the Blues Room on Saturday 5 August at the White Eagle Polish Club from 11:59pm.

Price: Included in Gold pass or $25 at the door.

Dan McLean Hot Six featuring Jessie Gordon

The Dan McLean Hot Six are a band highly respected around Australia, and arguably one of the happiest, high energy swing groups in the country. Led by exciting trumpet player Dan McLean you’ll be swept away with their energy and banter. Based in Canberra, these musicians raise the roof for all their shows and are much in demand for festivals and intimate club gigs alike. You’d be hard pressed to find a swing band with more vigour and vim anywhere in the country. Teaming up with Jessie Gordon for this very special Canberräng 2017 event, this spectacular swinging combination will blow the roof off the Lake George Winery!

The Dan McLean Hot Six featuring Jessie Gordon will play on Sunday 6 August at the Lake George Winery from 2pm.

Price: Included in Gold pass or $40 online or at the door.


Justine Kinkade (Sydney)

Justine started DJing in Sydney in 2006 and has played at Lindy and Blues events including MLX, Sydney’s Jazz Bang and Little Big Weekend, Canberräng, SLX, MSF and at least 10 other events with acronyms that’ll mean absolutely nothing but sound impressive. She has a soft spot for modern recreationist bands but hard-swinging classic jazz (preferably involving lots of shouting and clapping) from the 30s, 40s and 50s is her main squeeze.

Justine is also the DJ Coordinator for Canberräng 2017 and has put together an exciting and diverse line up of DJs who’ll be working hard.  Give them a thumbs up across the dancefloor or just say thanks if you enjoy what they’re laying down over the weekend!

Shaz Callaghan (Melbourne)

Shaz loves all kinds of music. She loves the kind that makes you holler, tap your feet, shimmy all over, hold someone close, shake what your mama gave you, or shuffle off to Buffalo. For Shaz it doesn’t get better than music and dancing, whether it’s having a boogie in the lounge room or swinging out on a packed ballroom floor in New York City.   Shaz is quite a klutz and somewhat technologically challenged, however when she manages to play music people seem to have a good time. Shaz regularly plays dancing tunes in her hometown and has been fortunate enough to DJ at MLX, MSF, 1929’s Sweet & Hot, Sydney’s LBW, Hullabaloo and Swing Camp Oz. She’s super excited to be returning to DJ at Canberräng.

Mike Healy (Melbourne)

Mike started swing dancing in 2009. Surrounded by Irish music and dancing all his life, it was an easy transition. Hailing from Melbourne, he is a regular on the social dance floor, creating a playful and rhythmic partner connection that is a joy to watch.

Mike is also a passionate Jazz DJ and qualified educator, whose enthusiastic teaching style has lead him to teach at venues all over Melbourne. He enjoys building the energy and getting a room jumping. From Basie to Ellington to Ella, Mike enjoys playing tracks with a deep groove that crescendo. He also enjoys performing and competing: since 2010, he has placed in numerous competitions such as the AJC, Sweet ‘n’ Hot, and Hellzapoppin’; and in 2011 he performed in Melb troupes Brat Pack and Harlem Shout, before joining Hot Jam in 2016. Be sure to catch his set!

Di Tsuji (Canberra)

Di has a passion for hard swingin’ rhythmic tunes and loves nothing better than to unleash this on fellow lovers of swing music. Over the years she has DJ’d at Canberräng, Jumptown Jam, Balboa on the River, Munich Lindy Exchange and regular local events while living in Scotland. If you’re looking for the classics and a bit of fun, Di is going to deliver.

Chris Kearns (Sydney)

Chris loves DJing blues music nearly as much as he loves dancing to it. For Chris, watching people dance to the tracks he loves is a thrill he doesn’t tire of. He also enjoys the process of collecting blues music and “discovering” artists (Cyndi Lauper has a blues album?!).

Chris DJs in his local blues scene in Sydney, as well as national and international events with the next on his list being Berlin Blues Explosion in Oct 2017. Chris has recently put together a Blues Dance DJing Workshop and would be happy to talk to you about it.

Ricky Lloyd (Canberra)

Ricky has always loved music. He started out rocking with chopsticks and soon real instruments. At 13 he got his first drum kit and his passion for rhythm. A lover of punk, ska and rock, Ricky got hooked on swing when he first watched Royal Crown Revue perform in ’98. This lead to his discovery of swing music and in time swing dance. Ricky has been DJing almost as long as he has been dancing both around Australia and internationally. He has a simple goal: “Play songs that’ll make you wanna swing the f#@k out!”

Alice Roberts (Sydney)

Alice lives, dances and DJs in sunny Sydney. She loves jazz and has been DJing at local social dances and events since 2009. In her sets you will hear Basie, Hamp, clapping, Hammond organ, and that version of Easy Does It. You know the one.

Alice has DJed at interstate and international events including the Little Big Weekend, Sydney Swing Festival, Sydney Lindy Exchange, Hullaballoo, Melbourne Lindy Exchange, Melbourne Swing Festival, Slowdown and Herräng.

Max Pogonowski (Sydney)

Max has been on the interstate DJ circuit for a few years now playing for Blues dancers at events such as Southern Blues, Hullabaloo, SLX and MLX, and he’s really looking forward to coming back to Canberräng for another year. He just loves strong female voices such as Dianne Reeves, Dinah Washington and Dee Dee Bridgewater but you’ll also hear soulful ballads, funky blues, Delta blues that verges on rock, and anything with a killer piano solo.

Along with the favourites, every single set Max plays has at least one track in it that he’s never played at an exchange before, so there’s always something new to look forward to.

Liam Honer (Canberra)

Liam started DJing back in 2003 when it was high tech to have twin CDs and a mixer to transition songs and it was even cooler if they were MP3s, at least there was no risk of double click. Swing DJing was a natural progression from the days of taking over house party playlist and DJing at several weddings. He was head DJ at Swing Camp Oz for four years and DJed at all the Church City Blues until its retirement. Liam has also done the rounds on the National DJ circuit over the years and responsible for putting together the Canberräng and Jumptown Jam band line ups since 2004. He is an experienced DJ with a large collection who understands how to take the room on a journey, inspire, mix it up and ensure there are a few surprise tracks you haven’t heard but will love along the way.