Biography: Richard Kaal

Richard through the years
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Richard Kaal, a musician/songwriter/recording engineer from Australia with more than 35 years experience. He has been a professional entertainer for 38 years ,some of his albums are available on this site. At 5 years of age Richard started violin studies. His father played cello and later they formed a family trio with brother Tony, also on violin, playing at various functions. At age 15 after satisfying his father with violin studies, Richard was allowed his first guitar. He very quickly picked up the instrument and it was evident immediately he wanted to sing and write music. After his mother passed in the same year he moved to Kings Cross in Sydney and soon started playing in coffee houses, sometimes for just a meal. ON STAGE A few years later he auditioned for a part in the musical HAIR, in Kings Cross and shortly afterward found himself on stage touring with the show (still one of the highlights of his life).



In 1971 he was offered a recording contract with EMI, which resulted in his first serious songwriting period. After recording with EMI and learning about the music industry he was offered a part in the musical 'Jesus Christ Superstar' Richard played various parts in JCS including Jesus as understudy. A few musicians from the cast joined and formed 'Passage', an experimental group of songwriters and singers, Richard played violin, Barry Ferrier-flute, Bill Miller and Martin Falls -guitars .They all sang (a magic combo) and produced some wonderful harmonies and dynamic songs keeping a raw feel. Richard still feels this was some of the best music he has ever been involved in.

 

TRAVELS: Richard then started travelling any way he could, motorbike, van, bus, train and boat, playing music wherever he could ( even at conservation rallies). After a long stint in the snowfields the album, 'Live at the Alpine' was recorded at Silverwater studios in Sydney by Clive Shakespear.

 


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SONGWRITING: Later Richard joined the crew of 'Aquarius', a 175' three masted schooner, earning tickets in sailing and scuba. As a means to earn money he then delivered yachts, worked as a toolmaker and whenever possible played music (jamming with whoever was keen). Richard travelled the world singing (sometimes busking) , all the while gaining inspiration for his songwriting. Most of the songs he recorded were direct experiences of his travels.'The Mountain Weeps' was written in a small town in Austria directly below the alps in springtime, the many waterfalls and the late afternoon sun provided the inspiration. During his travels he found himself drawn to Bali, first in stopovers, then as the destination.

 


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SAILING: Richard gained a keen interest in sailing, racing at first, then cruising the waters off the Australian coast, buying, repairing and updating his boats. He finally bought 'Cadenza', a 36 foot Van de Stadt yawl, which he restored, lived on and sailed extensively with PA system on board. He ended up in the Whitsundays, North Queensland. During the next few years he worked as an entertainer and built a house and a recording studio (Paluma Rd Studio),initially to record the many songs he wrote while sailing. The song 'Dawning of the day' is a collection of early morning experiences during those years. This era produced the albums 'Dawning of the Day','Gypsies by the sea' and 'Journey of the mind'. He also continued his love for alternative fusion music, recording Aboriginal music and using the sounds in a fusion experiment. Richard recorded and produced two 'Whitsunday songwriters albums' with the help of local arts grants, this started a rush of albums by local songwriters.

 

BALI: As a regular visitor to Bali over the years, a special relationship developed with the locals of Sarinbuana in the mountains. 'Being a musician I was drawn to the music culture so different from our own'. This experience has developed into a love of the people and their music, so delicately woven into their Hindu way of life. The Musikaal Projects ( www.musikaal.com ) spawned from a musical appreciation of the local Angklung and the willingness of local musicians to have their music recorded and develop further the dynamic of crossculture musical experimentation. "Having my own recording studio for many years in Australia, I felt I could help preserve Balinese traditional music by recording and archiving the music as well as continue to experiment with the 'fusion' of the musical styles." After many long stays in Bali Richard decided to move there. He immediately immersed himself into the music, sitting with the local Angklung night after night trying to get his head around the music. Richard helped Nyoman Sumartana to set up a 'Yayasan' for Balinese traditional music ( from a need to help the movement of musicians trying to revive old Balinese traditional music (eg. Yayasan Suara Dana) as well as the relatively unknown music in the smaller villages of Bali). By 2008 Richard had a vault of recordings and with his new recording system to help promote music in various parts of Bali.

 

COLLABORATION: Richard has been writing new music in collaboration with Gender and Salonding with I Made Subandi , a noted balinese traditional teacher and composer. This fusion music takes the form of songs( in English) written by Richard and Subandi about various characters of the wayang kulit puppet performances based on the Ramayana and Mahabrata stories of ancient India. The gender traditionally supports the wayang Kulit performances. Richard and friend, I Ketut Suardana, director of Yayasan Suara Dana, put together a group with Subandi to play this music. The group was invited to Wintermoon festival in QLD Australia in May 2007 where they premiered this music and were well received by musicians and audiences alike. They also promoted the Balinese music on Radio interviews and performances. Richard now has built up quite a beautiful center on the mountain where the Arts is the focus. He has a recording facility available to document and record Demos etc. 2011.. Richard has continued exploring the music of Indonesia, going to Java and finding new recording opportunities, he bought a very old Gamelan Gong ( Slendro) and a complete set of Wayang Kulit puppets from a village in the mountains near Wonogiri, and has finished restoring them.

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"The music is already present in nature, I take only credit for accepting the gift"