Songs of Southern Skies

Comments (0) Interviews

Songs of the Southern Skies – Katie Noonan and Karin Schaupp in concert … The Glasshouse plays host to a very special concert this month, as songstress Katie Noonan and classical guitarist Karin Schaupp combine their skills to share the best of Folk, Classics, Pop and Jazz from Australia and New Zealand.
Karin explains why this music has such special meaning to the talented duo …

From what age did you first start playing guitar, and who/what inspired you to learn?

I started playing at age 5, taught by my mother. She is a guitarist and was my first inspiration. I heard guitar music while I was still in the womb and then first performed publicly when I was six. I’m afraid I caught the bug quite early!

What training in classical guitar have you completed?

I have an Honours degree with a university medal from University of Queensland and a Masters in Music, also from University of Queensland.

My mother was my main teacher and still works with me as producer on my solo albums. During my studies, I also undertook countless courses, masterclasses and individual lessons with various international players/teachers, including Angelo Gilardino and Stepan Rak.

When and how did you first meet Katie Noonan – and what made you decide to collaborate with your music?

We met about 7 years ago at the Huntington Festival, when we were both performing there individually and ended up performing a couple of short songs together. Since then, we’ve bumped into each other frequently – the music world is quite small! Every time we’d see each other, we would say, “We really MUST do something together!”

Your new joint album, Songs of the Southern Skies, is a project that’s very close to both yours and Katie’s hearts. Please tell us a bit about the album and some of the standout tracks for you, personally …

Our first collaboration last year focused on music from the British Isles, so this time we wanted to bring our focus back home and explore the best Australian and New Zealand songwriters and composers. It was great fun to choose what we’d feature on the album, and we ended up with a huge diversity of styles – from classical works written especially for us (including a song by young Adelaide composer Andrew Georg, the winner of our Songs of the Southern Skies song competition), to Jazz, Folk and of course, Pop songs, including music by the Finn Brothers, Iva Davies, Cold Chisel, Gotye and so on.

I love all the songs, and it’s very very hard to pick favourites when I am so close to the album, but for me some of the most enjoyable moments are: the Nick Cave song Into My Arms, which opens the album (and which Australian composer Richard Charlton reconceived for us); a gorgeous 1950s Kiwi tune called Blue Smoke, which we performed with the incredible Maori singer Whirimako Black; Katie’s own song dedicated to her dad, called Emperor’s Box (with special guest Clare Bowditch); and the classical pieces by Elena Kats- Chernin, Richard Charlton and Andrew Georg.

Who are some of the other artists that have made guest appearances on the album?

We are so privileged, as the list of amazing artists who joined us for this album is long and illustrious – Iva Davies, Clare Bowditch, Gurrumul, Diana Doherty, Whirimako Black, Chris Cheney and many others.

How excited are you to be able to tour with Songs of the Southern Skies and stop over in places such as Port Macquarie?

Touring is always great fun, as it’s a chance to share with a live audience the result of all the creative energy of putting a project together. We can’t wait to share this beautiful music in what I think is a very intimate program. I’ve played in Port Macquarie many times, but never at The Glasshouse, so I am particularly looking forward to that personally; I’ve heard great things…

Where can people go to find out more information/buy the album?

Our websites are probably easiest: or

Thanks Karin.

This story was published in issue 82 Port Macquarie

Leave a Reply