UP THE SWAN!
1. 

Back From Rotto

3:41

2.

White Sand Bar

4:44

3.

Water From The Ocean

4:31

4.

Gerygone Jig (instrumental)

2:21

5.

Soul Duck

3:50

6.

Windy River

2:14

7.

Black Swan

3:23

8.

Coogee Canter (instrumental)

2:04

9.

Can’t Go Back

3:50

10.

Clarence Pier

5:03

11.

Whisper Boat

2:55

12.

Nurses’ Walk (instrumental)

2:12

     
MUSICIANS:
  Mike Tarca – vocals & accordion
  Erik Kowarski – fiddle, guitar and bass guitar
  Reuben Kooperman – drums
  Adrian Tarca – saxophone
  Syl Kowarski – mandolin
 
Sheet music with Chords and all lyrics are available in a Song Book


CD Production Details
* Lyrics and music by Mike Tarca
* Recorded, mixed and mastered by Erik Kowarski at Pocket Universe, Bayswater, Western Australia
* Produced by Erik Kowarski and Mike Tarca
* Cover Painting by Elizabeth Merryweather

BACKGROUND ON THE SONGS

Back From Rotto was written on the Monday public holiday at Christmas. After the hectic Christmas festivities I strolled down to the river in the afternoon for a bit of solo accordion playing. As I was “sitting in my old lean–to down by the Swan”, I was intrigued by the large number of launches and yachts coming up river. I assumed they were returning from their own Christmas celebrations at Rottnest Island (known to us Perthites as “Rotto”, a popular holiday destination some 20 kilometres off the Western Australian coast, out of the port of Fremantle).

White Sand Bar is the Point Walter sand bar that juts out into the Swan River several kilometres upstream from Fremantle. The song raises the issue of the difficulty we have in accepting things we can’t see.

Water From The Ocean touches on the emotions associated with various long term water supply planning options, some of which have received wide media coverage in recent years. The song refers to some of the options considered in managing Perth’s worst ever drying climate during times of unprecedented growth and increasing water demand. The lyrics are based on information provided in a pamphlet distributed by the Water Corporation to all its customers.

Gerygone Jig, an instrumental written in 2003, is about a bird, a cat and a dog. The dog was a very friendly, playful Pekinese, Pugsley, our family pet. The cat was another family pet, Caspar, also very friendly except to the smaller and shorter Pugsley, who was treated by Caspar with indifference and almost contempt. The music attempts to capture Pugsley’s waddle and Caspar’s contempt for Pugsley. The Gerygone is a little known Australian bird sighted locally. All the local birds had to do a merry jig to stay out of Caspar’s claws, and alas some did not jig well enough!

Soul Duck was written sitting on a park bench in the sheltered Mosman Bay on the Swan River. I was visiting the area, had some free time and had taken my accordion out to play a song or two. Shortly after I noticed a duck paddling along the bay on his own, completely self-absorbed with no apparent concern for anything outside of his own immediate vicinity. The sole duck looked real “cool” and seemed to exude “soul”.

Windy River was written on a cold Sunday afternoon in June, “sitting in my old lean–to down by the Swan” where I had gone for a bit of solo accordion playing. Although not raining at the time, a strong cold wind had been raging all day and had built up unusually rough and choppy waters on the Swan River.Black Swan was inspired by our local Black Swan. This graceful and yet at times aggressive bird has been associated with our State from its beginnings, and is now represented in various aspects of daily life in Western Australia.

Coogee Canter, an instrumental, was written in 2004 on a park bench at Coogee (for the benefit of us Perthites, pronounced Kudjee) Beach in Sydney. I had gone down to find an isolated place on the beach for a bit of solo accordion playing and could just make out at the far end of the beach many small specks representing early morning joggers. Being so far away they moved slowly and gently. As each jogger got closer and passed the area below by my park bench, the gentle momentum of the far distant runners became a huffing and puffing and pounding of feet on the pathway. The gentle motion gradually returned once they passed and receded into the distance.

Can’t Go Back was written as a gentle reminder of reality to those who hanker after the “good old days”.

Clarence Pier was written in Portsmouth in May 2005 on a park bench overlooking the magnificent Portsmouth harbour. The park bench was on a raised vantage point just a few hundred metres from Clarence Pier, which every vessel leaving the port must pass. Portsmouth is home to the HMS Victory being the sole remaining vessel from the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar. The song commemorates the bi-centenary of the battle in which Admiral Nelson was killed. The HMS Victory was Admiral Nelson’s flagship in the battle.

Whisper Boat was written at the dining room table of our friends Wim and Marianne in Leiden, Holland. The previous day they had taken my wife and I on a tour of one of Holland’s many large lakes. Wim captained the six-seater dinghy, powered by a battery pack. The locals call this type of boat a “whisper” boat. The noiseless battery power allows close-up observation of the bird life in their natural habitat in the endless maze of reeds and water lilies on the extensive lakes.

Nurses’ Walk, an instrumental, was written in 2003 on an isolated stone bench I had sought out in the middle of Sydney’s Rocks area for a bit of solo accordion playing. I found the bench in a small shaded alcove half way up several flights of stone steps leading from the Nurses’ Walk. One of the two tunes is named after Lucy Osburn who was the first matron of Australia’s oldest hospital, the Sydney Hospital, from 1868 – 1878, after which time she returned to England, dying several years later in London in 1891. The music takes us up and down the steps.

 


 

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