Artist Profiles: Mark Atkins

Mark Atkins

Mark Atkins is a descendant from the Yamitjti people of Western Australian and Irish-Australian heritage. Mark is a master of the didgeridoo, a storyteller, song writer, drummer and visual artist.

Acknowledged as one of Australia’s finest didgeridoo players, Mark Atkins is also recognized internationally for his collaborative projects with some of the world’s leading composers and musicians such as Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, Peter Gabriel, Philip Glass, Ravi Shankar, Sinead O’Connor, Australian icons James Morrison, Jenny Morris, John Williamson and Gondwana and many more.

Mark has featured with the London Philharmonic at a Festival Hall concert, London in 1996. He is also a prolific instrument maker, making and painting didjeridoos from the logs he collects on trips into the bush north west of his home town of Tamworth, New South Wales.

Mark is the founding member of “Kooriwadjula” (literally black man/ white man) a contemporary/traditional performance group that performs widely in festivals, rock venues, universities and schools, touring nationally and internationally.

Mark has a long history of performances in Australia including the outdoor venues and major festivals. Internationally his accredited performances include the Raffles Hotel in Singapore, the Heidelberg Festival, Expo ’92 Seville in Spain, Festival Hall with the London Philharmonic and many show in Europe including the 1998 Rudolstat Tanz and Folk Festival. In 1999 he was invited to WOMAD (Seattle, USA) as visual artist and musician and in 2000 recorded and released ?Ankala & World Orchestra? in Europe on the Network Label. Also in 2000 Mark was a featured artist at the Presentation of the Olympic Team in Belgium at the Memorial IvoVan Danne.

In 1993 Mark joined the cross-art form, cross-cultural performance ensemble REM Theatre to help creating the megamedia event ICON for the Sydney Opera House 20th Birthday Celebrations. He performed a body of original work with the SBS Youth Orchestra and The Sydney Philharmonic, as well as performing on the sails of the Sydney Opera House.

Subsequently he received a fellowship from the NSW Ministry for the Arts and continued to work with REM Theatre Company as a musician, composer and music director on a number of productions including Story of the Firechild, Music Tree, Buralga and Kickin’ Up the Dust. In 1999 Mark toured in Europe with a new music theatre creation by REM Theatre called ToteMMusic which premiered at the prestigious Lucerne International Music Festival in Switzerland and showcased in Australia at the 2000 Performing Arts Market.

In 2000 Mark has featured with Charlie McMahon and Gondwana band at the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games in Sydney. In 2001 Mark has toured with ConSpiritOz with Musica Viva to Malaysia and with his own band in Europe. In July he featured at an Australian Festival produced by Seoul Arts Centre in Korea and world premiered his partnership with Phillip Glass in Melbourne at the Melbourne Town Hall and in New York at the Lincoln Center. He was invited to stay in New York and record as session musician on Godfrey Reggio’s next Glass collaboration Nongysqatsi.

As an artist Mark has exhibited in Japan, Europe, and USA both in contemporary and traditional styles.

Mark has numerous recordings and compositions to his credit and is a regular on the Qantas inflight entertainment program. His awards and achievements include the Golden Didjeridoo for the Tamworth Festival. His next project will be a picture disc vinyl in which he mix all his arts: painting, music & narration, coming out at the end of 2006 in collaboration with Maguari Productions.

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for TelevisiĆ³n EspaƱola (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.

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