About the Artist
Well, this is supposed to be about me. Hi!
What can I say? I'm just someone who simply loves playing music, specially
How did it all start, you may ask. Simple: a toy zither under the Christmas
tree when I was six, and later, a guitar under another Christmas tree when
I was eleven. That was in France.
Then taking classical guitar lessons from the cousin of David Oystrach (he
was a well known Russian violinist) who came all the way from Paris to our
house in the outer suburbs where we lived.
Then, playing my guitar much more than doing homework
Then leading the singing around camp fires with the scouts
Listening to Simon and Garfunkel's songs and deciphering their guitar accompaniments
note by note using an old record player
Taking my guitar with me on hitchhiking holidays through France, Italy,
I didn't study music; I studied agriculture. Boarding in a college in Normandy.
Ideal setting for much improvising and composing. Nature and the seasons
questioning the meaning of life
then putting it all
into a guitar solo, or a song.
Then, further fuel for emancipation and detachment from the down-to-earth
reality of everyday life: we, my parents, brother and I immigrated to Australia.
We came to Melbourne. After further time spent studying agriculture (Longerenong
for 6 months), then horticulture (Burnley for a year and a half), I took
the road to Adelaide to visit a cousin there. I decided to stay on and got
a job teaching classical guitar, an instrument that was very much on demand
in those days.
Two important things happened during my time in Adelaide: First, I started
searching for some spiritual meaning in my life. This took a lot of my time
and attention. Second, I stumbled upon a zither there; it belonged to a
friend of a friend (Hi, Brian!) who kindly lent it to me. I remember taking
it home to our house on the cliff overlooking the sea (in Marino Rocks).
I tuned it and experimented with it, fascinated by the sound. I would spend
hours just playing and loosing myself into it's magical harmonies. It became
a hobby, or should I say a passion.
Over the years which followed, I altered the tuning and developed a technique
which enabled me to play my favourite music. I did some busking in the Adelaide
In 1976, I undertook a trip to Europe during which I continued my spiritual
investigations. Of course, I carried my guitar with me. I went to the Arch
(founded by Lanza del Vasto) in the Massif Central in France, Findhorn in
Scotland, Samy Ling, a Boudhist retreat centre in Northern England and some
christian commune in Geneva.
While in Scotland, I visited Iona and Fingals cave. During the boat trip
to the cave, I started to whistle a beautiful melody, which came to me from
God-knows-where. I later wrote some variations on this theme on my guitar
and called it Staffa Island.
My spiritual search culminated in a visit to a spiritual Master of a very
high order in Dehli (India). His Name was Sant Darshan Singh. This great
yet humble saint blessed me with the initiation into the practice of Surat
Shabd Yoga, or meditation on the inner Light and Sound, which I still practice
After this turning point in my life, I returned to Melbourne, stayed with
my parents in their home in Park Orchards and resumed my guitar teaching.
I recorded my first cassette, called "The Peacock's Dance" which
contained both zither and guitar music. I used to play in markets or busk
outside trendy shops selling my cassettes. After "The Peacock's Dance"
came "Le Long Voyage", then "Sister Luz" and more
To cut a long story short, some 25 years later, I make CDs and sell them
at the "Sunday Market" (Southgate). Nearly every Sunday, I'm there
playing my zither, right under Princess Bridge, talking to people, from
10am to 4.30pm. I sometimes joke that I am a Frenchman (I'm actually naturalised
Australian) playing a German instrument in Australia, and instead of playing
"Sous Les Ponts de Paris
", I should play "Sous les
Ponts de Melbourne
I had many classical guitar students in the early days, but gradually, I
started to teach the zither as well. Now, I hardly teach any guitar. It's
I manage to support my family - Debbie, my wife, Nicholas (already 19!!)
and Jeremy (already 15!!) with this simple box strung with wires.
My life is like an equilateral triangle; it has three sides: my family,
my music, and my spiritual path.
As long as each one remains strong, it will remain stable.