The Band

Kavisha Mazzella (singer, guitar, accordion)

Irine Vela (bouzouki, guitar, mandolin)

David De Santi (piano accordion)

Mark Holder-Keeping (saxophone, clarinet).

I Viaggiatori is a truly multicultural and cosmopolitan combination with Kavisha Mazzella and Irine Vela from Melbourne and Mark Holder-Keeping and David De Santi from Wollongong. They bring together varying musical experiences but combine to present sensitive and harmonious renditions of new and old Italian folk songs. Kavisha grew up in the Italian quarter of Fremantle while David grew up in the Illawarra! They present music they performed for the silent Italian documenatary Dall’ Italia All’ Australia. in 2010 they will be releasing a new recording ‘Songs From a Journey’ with the songs and tunes used with the film.

About Kavisha

It was after a chance meeting in a derelict church hall with members of The Amicizzia Club of Fremantle in 1989, that Kavisha Mazzella discovered a wonderful group of elderly Italian women. Through their friendship, Kavisha started researching songs that were dying out, resulting in the formation of a choir of sassy, earthy matriarchs who sang these songs with a vibrancy never heard before. They were the “Joys Of The Women”, whose story was recorded in Franco Di Chiera’s memorable documentary The Joys Of The Women on the ABC in 1993.

Kavisha continues to sing these songs and her own compositions.

“My songs are about true stories. About celebrating life, love, journeys and displacement, physical and spiritual. They are about the search for home, earthly and mystical .They are about hope in spite of dark times. I mix country with gypsy, folk with blues, social commentary and comedy. It’s a mix of Mediterranian soul with Country roots. We were migrants from Britain to Australia in the sixties. Our family grew up with “sing songs “ around a piano. I grew up in a house where my Irish /Burmese grandma played Woody Guthrie songs on the banjo and where my Italian Uncle was singing Neapolitan Opera in the kitchen of the family restaurant... so that explains the weird mix of influences in my songs I guess! And that’s why I like to get the audience singing along too....”  Kavisha

Irine Vela

Irine, of Greek/Albanian background, plays exquisite bouzouki and mandolin with many bands including The Habibis in Melbourne and directs and composes music for theatre productions. The musical accompaniment is a combination of Italian and original songs by Kavisha along with tarantellas and other traditional Italian tunes.

David De Santi

David is also a member of Wongawilli, a world travelling Australian folk band and has been director of the Illawarra Folk Festival since 1996 and more recently the Snowy Mountains of Music. He was editor of the Australian national folk music magazine Trad&Now for 5 years and continues to collect and publish Australian folk music. He has compiled Zumpa - A Folk Musicians collection of Italian Music. His parents are from Vallo Della Lucania in Campania, Italy

Mark Holder-Keeping

Mark has a wide variety of world music involvement from South Amercian to African to Celtic and currently plays in Cantolibre, Zumpa and Big Snore Hammers.

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