The Mara! Big Band, a 12-piece version of dual ARIA winning Mara! Band, performs their new work: Zashto? – setting poetry by Australian migrant and refugee poets to music, from five composers and band members, telling stories of displacement, hope, longing, despair and resignation, in search of a dream.


The Mara! Big Band project is the brainchild and long-held dream of Mara Kiek, to create a bigger version of her ground-breaking Mara! band, featuring the cream of Australia’s jazz and world music Illuminati.


With support from CreateNSW, Mara commissioned 5 composers to create an original suite of music for the new Mara! Big Band ensemble, setting poetry by Australian migrant and refugee poets, with stories of displacement, hope, longing, despair and resignation in search for a dream – a new life in the ‘lucky country’.


For over 3 decades the Mara! Quintet’s music has evolved into a new genre of contemporary Australian music, exploring the intersection between jazz and world music. Their creative work has been recognised with two ARIA awards and two final ARIA nominations and has taken them across the globe on more than 30 international tours. They have performed at major music and arts festivals in 23 countries including WOMAD festivals in UK, Germany, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.

“What started with some trepidation ended in dancing in seats and aisles. A triumph and a treat.”

– Sydney Morning Herald, March 2022.


“…Many tongues, one heart…you’ll be cheating yourself if you miss them…”

– London Observer.


“The Dom Perignon of Australia’s World Music Bands”

– John Shand, Sydney Morning Herald.


Mara! Big Band Line Up

Mara Kiek – voice and percussion

Llew Kiek – bouzouki, bağlama, mandolin, acoustic and electric guitars

Sandy Evans – soprano and tenor saxophone

Paul Cutlan – Bb & Eb clarinets, sopranino, soprano & alto saxophones, piccolo

Lloyd Swanton – double bass

Andrew Robson – alto and baritone saxophones

Sam Golding – flute, trumpet, tuba

James Greening – pocket trumpet, trombone, tuba

Gary Daley – piano accordion

Jess Ciampa – drums and percussion

Jenny Dornan – voice (soprano)

Jarnie Birmingham – voice (alto)