Louisa toured over six months in the USA in 2012/13 doing numerous house concerts and public performances and attending folk music conferences in the USA and Canada. She relocated to Melbourne, Victoria from Western Australia in 2013 and has continued to write songs and tunes and to release recordings. (Sweet Birds 2015; Into the Wind, September 2017--a re-recording of trad and original material released on cassette in the 1980's.) She will begin another recording of new originals in October 2017 with Mischa Herman engineering.
Since moving to Victoria Louisa has taught workshops at Turramurra Folk Music Camp, Treetops Community Music Victoria Camp and has performed at Newstead Live Folk Festival, Darebin Music Feast, Dorrigo Folk Festival, The Boite, The Spotted Mallard, The Lomond Hotel, Chalice Hall and at Ceres.
She has also taught some of her original tunes to the Brunswick Old Time String Orchestra and some of her original songs to the Expressive Women choir, played percussion with the Zamponistas, and collaborated with Danny Spooner and Pete Daffy on some performances around Victoria.
These days Louisa prefers performing at house concerts and other scenarios without a sound system but still enjoys playing at festivals.
As well as solo performances Louisa performs occasionally with her Melbourne based daughters Ruth, Lucy and Rowena Wise as The Wise Women.
Originally from Illinois USA, Louisa came from and spawned a musical family (The Wise Family Band in Australia). She has classical training in violin and piano and also has a base in traditional folk song since childhood. She has a large body of original folk songs and tunes inspired by people and stories around her.
Louisa has an wide interest in different world fiddling styles but these days performs mostly her own tunes. She is a multi-instrumentalist on fiddle, guitar, piano, dulcimer, banjo, mouthbow, spoons and other smalls.
Her musical history in Australia includes solo, duo and band work, including longtime duo performance and recording with Scott Wise. Her songs feature on 12 recordings and she has performed at many Australian festivals, and she has won or been finalist in folk songwriting awards and fiddle contests. She has carried out Australian residencies and has toured in America, Ireland and in Australia including Aboriginal communities in W. Australia and Arnhemland. She has written music for and appeared in theatre and has had numerous airplays on the ABC, Australia's national radio station.
THE LONG VERSION
Louisa grew up in a musical family in Chillicothe, Illinois (her mother was a professional cellist and church choir director and organist in their church) and was trained in violin and piano for 10 years. She is self taught in guitar from age 12 and later dulcimer, mouthbow, spoons and other small folk instruments, inspired by seeing Mike Seeger perform in Prescott AZ. She started learning folk songs from infancy in her family, singing around the piano and in the car. Her parents were friends of Eddie Trickett and Steve White, Folk Legacy recording artists, who performed many times in the family's home. During her 8 years in Arizona (at Arcosanti, Prescott and Tucson) she developed her Old Timey and Irish fiddling, taught herself to sing with the fiddle, expanded her folk song repertoire through materials at the University of Arizona library and through recordings and books from the Elderly Instruments catalogue. She developed instrumental accompaniment on dulcimer and guitar, and started writing songs and tunes. She performed regularly at the Bluegrass-focused coffeehouse The Cup at U of AZ in Tucson and made her first recording demo in Tucson in 1978.
Emigrating to Western Australia in 1981, she found herself in the midst of a full-on folk music scene for the first time. She played in a bush band for dances, in duos and as soloist at festivals, weddings, campuses, folk clubs and pubs, eventually joining the renowned Fremantle string band Bungarra, in which she met professional luthier/musician Scott Wise. Together they became a well known duo at festivals and venues across Australia.
WISE FAMILY MUSIC AND LUTHERIE
After a move from Fremantle to Margaret River in 1991, Scott and Louisa performed and recorded with their 3 daughters as the Wise Family Band, touring in Australia, the USA. and in Ireland with Irish musical icon Andy Irvine,
The Wise daughters Ruth, Lucy and Rowena have developed into multi-instrumentalists and songwriters/tunesmiths in their own right. Lucy and Rowena now perform solo and with their own bands, based in Melbourne. Tunesmith Ruth relocated to Melbourne in 2017 and fully enjoys the lively session and festival scene there with her wide circle of fiddling friends.
The Wises all play handcrafted instruments made by Scott Wise of Margaret River, WA. www.scottwise.net. These include fiddles, ukes, guitars, dulcimer, electric guitar and bass.
RECORDINGS and use of songs
Louisa's songs are featured on 12 albums recorded over the years, mainly with Scott Wise or the Wise Family Band. There were five cassette/LP albums in the 80s and seven CDs through the 90s and 2000s. (Please see the store page on this site.)
Louisa has also contributed children's songs to the ABC's Let's All Sing recording/book series used in Australian schools. Her songs have been included in compilation CDs for Fairbridge Festival, the National Folk Festival, ABC Radio National's Music Deli program and the Songwriters Composers and Lyricists Association.
She has also contributed fiddle and vocal tracks to many other musicians' recordings including Aboriginal singer Josie Boyle and television personality Ted Egan. Australian Olympic swimmer Shane Gould used a song of Louisa's on her website, and Louisa performed it at the book launch of Shane's autobiography in Sydney.
Louisa's songs have been used in television programmes in Australia for the ABC (That's Australia and Barrelling the Biota) and for SBS TV (Under Southern Skies, Choice Funerals, Birth Rites and The Southwest of WA documentaries). Louisa and Scott recorded music for the ABC TV's long running programme Consuming Passions, distributed throughout Australia, Europe and Asia.
Besides the Bathers Beach Glee Club programmes, Louisa and Scott appeared on ABC TV's A Taste Of Christmas and Consuming Passions, and on SBS TV's No Milk No Honey. They also recorded videos of music workshops at the School of the Air in the Northern Territory, a radio school service for children on remote outback properties.
Louisa's original music has been featured on ABC Radio National programmes The Planet and Music Deli and been used as signature tunes for RTR radio at University of W. Australia and for Southwest Tourist Radio. Louisa also recorded original improvised violin music for ABC Radio National's Poetica poetry programme, What Women Say After Dark, read by Susan Maushart.
Louisa has written music for theatre and has been an onstage musician in seven plays, including the Leister Theatre Co.(UK) starring Greta Scacci (Cider With Rosie), two for the WA Theatre Company in Perth (Songs From Sideshow Alley, The Man From Muchinupin), three for independent companies in Bunbury and Margaret River WA (The Man From Muckinupin, The Poet's Dance and The Shoreline). She wrote music for Fremantle's Spare Parts Puppet Theatre's production of Sing A Rainbow, which toured in Asia. Louisa and Scott were musical directors of the Bathers Beach Glee Club, a long running Fremantle live theatrical radio show broadcast on ABC radio and TV (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), with music and comedy along the lines of Lake Wobegon. They were instrumental in starting up the unique Fly By Night Musicians Club in Fremantle with these popular shows.
Louisa twice won the Declan Affley Songwriter's Award at the National Folk Festival in Australia. She also won first place awards from the Songwriters Composers and Lyricists Association and the W. Australian Music Industry Awards.She was finalist 5 times in the above contests as well as at Port Fairy Folk Festival. On her fiddle, Louisa won Ladies' Champion at Payson and at Black Canyon City (AZ) Old Time Fiddle Contests, and won first place at the Fleadh Irish fiddle contest in Perth, W Australia.
Louisa has performed her original songs and tunes with Scott and with the Wise Family Band at many Australian festivals including the National, Port Fairy, Woodford, Cygnet, Apollo Bay, Fairbridge, Nannup, Kalamunda, Toodyay, Bridgetown Blues, Lagulagu, Top Half, Dayleford Singers Festival, Burke & Wills, Newstead, Albany Harbour Sound, National Fiddle Festival, Esperence Festival of the Wind, Brunswick, Araluen, Nanga, Nannup, Pilbara Bush Music Festival, Fremantle Festival, South Australian Folk Festival, Margaret River Wine Festival, and in the fabulous Speigeltent at the Adelaide Fringe Festival.
Louisa and Scott were Musicians in Residence in the Northern Territory, performing concerts and workshops in numerous schools and communities including Aboriginal communities in Arnhemland. This was the first non-Classical music residency funded by the Music Board of Australia Council. The duo were also musicians in residence for the Timber Town Project, an art in working life project in the timber industry in SW Western Australia. They also presented concert/workshop weekends in regional WA including Geraldton, Kalamunda, Esperence and Kalgoorlie.
TOURING IN AUSTRALIA
Louisa and Scott toured to many festivals in the Eastern States and also toured Tasmania for the Tasmanian Folk Federation. The Wise Family Band toured to the Eastern States numerous times, crossing the vast Nullarbor Plain and camping with their big turquoise truck dubbed the Turquoise Flash.
"OPENING" FOR OVERSEAS ACTS IN AUSTRALIA
With various lineups Louisa has "opened" for world acts touring in Australia including Richard Thompson and Louden Wainwright III, Warren Zevon, Andy Irvine, Tony McManus, Martin Carthy, Brendon Power, Alistair Anderson, Jez Lowe, Gerry O'Beirne, Richard Stilgoe, and Artie Trezise and Cilla Fisher.
Louisa has long experience teaching privately and in schools (Fremantle Music School, Margeret River Montessori School), and has done many festival and camp workshops. She has also presented school workshops and associated community concerts on extended WA tours for ArtsWA, the state arts funding body. These tours included remote Aboriginal communities in Western Australia.
In Margaret River she started a long running student fiddle band The Fiddleinquents which played for dances locally and at Fairbridge Festival. For a year she directed a children's choir singing French songs, funded by the French Connection Festival.