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  • Writer's pictureStevie Connor

A Delightful Book & Songs From Australians Trace Balla & Andrew McSweeney - 'A Basket Of Songs'


Trace Balla & Andrew McSweeney

Andrew McSweeney, a superb songwriter, has teamed up Trace Balla who writes lyrics, illustrates and creates kids books. Together they have created a book of song lyrics, stories behind the songs, dreamy illustrations, music sheets and link to online recordings -  to send out to the world at this time when there is so much need to find a way back to a kinder way of living. Trace & Andrew have named the album A Basket Of Songs.


"We hope these songs are sung at kitchen tables, round fires, on bicycles, in the shower, at schools, with choirs, on deathbeds, at funerals... anywhere that a song can be had. One song is for Survival day, another a prayer for peace, some songs are about the strength of community, others about our place within the environment."


Keep an eye out for live events to singalong with Andrew and Trace, or create your own singalong with this book guiding the way. In some ways this is an accidental book! It certainly wasn’t the plan when Trace handed Andrew a basket made with natural materials with a rim made from synthetic string found up a tree. ‘Old ways, new ways, together strong,” she said.Andrew lit up and soon he wrote and performed “drawing pictures in the sand” a superb song about the time they camped with a group of friends by Dungala (Murray river) on Yorta Yorta Country.


Trace was so taken by the song she sent him a poem to see if it might turn into a song. Within minutes he had sent her back a spontaneous recording on his phone. And that’s how it went for the next few months, lyrics from Trace, music from Andrew.


“You know it’s an endless well,” he said. Eventually they realized they had enough songs to make something of it. Andrew has a recording studio and Trace creates books. Between them they came up with this collaboration to send out to the world at this time when there is so much need to find a way back to a kinder way of living. We hope these songs are sung at kitchen tables, around fires, on bicycles, in the shower, at schools, with choirs, on deathbeds, at funerals... anywhere that a song can be had."


Andrew has released solo albums and with bands such as McSweeney & Dirty Rascal. Andrew’s songs have been recorded by Kutcha Edwards and Daryl Braithwaite and he has been the director of Living Learning Australia and the School of Loving Music since 1999.

He has worked as a music mentor/coach, with a range of agencies and community groups, and has recently developed the Music & Imagination workshops with Darren Eden, creating magic with music. Andrew is also a co-founder of mens health and wellbeing organisation Gathering Men.


Trace lives on Djaara Country, South Eastern Australia. Her ancestors come from Hungary, England and France - from them she has inherited a love of dance and artistic creativity. Trace loves to rise at dawn, especially in late winter when it’s frosty, and walk up hills above the fog line to marvel at the dawn light and early spring flowers. She creates graphic novels and children’s books about connecting with Country and community. A self-described ‘story catcher,’ she finds inspiration in nature and incorporates local plant and animal species into her detailed, cartoon-style drawings.


Trace Balla & Andrew McSweeney



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