The Boite is celebrating its 40th birthday with a huge performance showcase

The Boite is celebrating its 40th birthday with a huge performance showcase

1 / 6
Words by Jesse Burns

The Boite is one of Victoria’s most iconic multicultural music organisations. Founded in 1979, The Boite aims to support artists from diverse cultural communities and promotes cultural understanding through a tantalising range of concerts, workshops, radio programs and other major projects. The organisation has presented and promoted hundreds of musicians from over 100 different countries at over 5,000 events with audiences exceeding 800,000 people combined, all of whom are equally diverse.

The Boite’s 40th birthday extravaganza will see many of the acts that have enjoyed success through the organisation perform together in one place. Featuring more than ten acts on the night, the occasion will pair short performances with collaborations in the form of grand pieces highlighting what The Boite is all about – building bridges through music. Join us as we break down eight of the incredible acts performing on the night.


Local Melbourne band, Omados, describe themselves as “the personification of battle noise” and perform traditional dance music from all over Greece. Kat Stevens (violin), Joseph Tsombanopoulos (gaida, tsambouna, kaval, lyra and vocals), George Athanasakos (clarinet, outi and vocals) and Rosco Heck (percussion) traverse the regions of Greece, Macedonia, Epirus and Peloponnese for a truly authentic sound.

Lamine Sonko

Praised for his compelling melodies and distinct blend of the traditional and contemporary, Lamine Sonko modernises West African music while holding onto the essence of ancient sounds. Sonko has performed across Australia and internationally for more than 15 years, collaborating on Grammy award-winning albums and delivering crowd-stopping shows at premier Australian festivals, such as WOMADelaide and Bluesfest. He’s not to be missed.

Anne Norman

Anne Norman is a shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo) performer, improviser and composer. Norman creates a range of music from traditional and contemporary Japanese, to European and Australian art music. Norman also collaborates with visual artists, dancers and actors, and has performed across the globe in Japan, America and Europe.

Opa Bato

Opa Bato is the only ‘Trubacki Orkestar’ in Australia, performing authentic contemporary Balkan brass music from the rich traditions of Serbia, Macedonia and beyond. Since the early 1800s, this music, has accompanied major events in the cultural life of these regions. Dushan Mitrovic, a composer and performer originally from Serbia/Czech Republic, formed Opa Bato to showcase the unique fusion of European and Oriental conceptions of this music.

Alex and Tash Vargas

Alex Vargas began playing music at the age of 15, when he performed at the first-ever The Boite concert. Since then, Vargas has been a regular on The Boite programs. In 1984, Vargas began performing with Chilean expatriate band Illapu and toured with them around Australia. A multi-instrumentalist, he will be putting on a special performance in this anniversary concert with his daughter Tash, a teacher of music and Spanish.

Ernie Gruner

Ernie Gruner is one of Australia’s leading klezmer violinists. He performs world music with Bohemian Nights, Saray Iluminado, Bowlines, Klezmeritis and Melbourne Playback Theatre. Gruner’s styles include European, Gypsy, Balkan, Middle-Eastern, Tango, Sephardic, Celtic and Jazz – just to name a few. Gruner has taken his performances all around Australia and New Zealand and has appeared on over 90 recordings. With The Boite he has launched nine CDs, and played five Millennium Choruses.

Rose de la Montana

Latin American classical guitarist, Rose de la Montana, combines the perfect blend of classical and contemporary. The superb fingerstyle guitarist’s love for the craft began at a young age and has continued into tertiary level, spanning various guitar teachers and music mentors from Australia to Latin America. Aside from her work as a soloist, Montana is also founder and bandleader of the group Hermeto Magnetico, an octet dedicated to uncovering the music of the legendary Brazilian improviser and virtuoso Hermeto Pascoal.

Gelareh Pour

Iranian-born Persian Kamancheh player, Gelareh Pour, brings her unique sounds to The Boite’s 40th birthday celebration. Pour studied her BA at the Art University of Tehran’s conservatorium and her Masters of Ethnomusicology at The University of Melbourne. Pour has taken her performances to Iran, Tajikistan, throughout Europe and now plays here in Melbourne. Since arriving in Australia, she has collaborated with some of the country’s most innovative experimental musicians.

The Boite’s 40th Birthday Celebration takes place from 3pm, Saturday June 1 at the Sacred Heart Courtyard, Abbotsford Convent. Tickets can be found at The Boite website.