August 1994 – October 1994 (3 months) Australia
I had the privelige of working with and becoming friends with the great diva Eartha Kitt, working as her band leader and guitarist during her 1994 Concert Tour of Australia. Performances included the Perth, Adelaide and Canberra and Penrith Entertainment Centres, The State Theatre Sydney, and the Brisbane and Melbourne Hilton, the tour produced by Gavan Evans. This was a very intense period for me as I had also taken a contract to compose and direct the music for "Dreamtime People", a large stage hi-tech stage production depicting the Australian Aboriginal Dreamtime for tourists at Sancturary Cove Queensland, featuring a cast of 9 aboriginal actors - a major contact for me as a composer, presenting a very challenging cultural landscape (I wrote an honours thesis on this for my Bachelor of Letters Hons. degree).
Band members: Barry Ferrier, guitar; Fred Cole, piano; Maurice Cernigoi, bass; Warwick Alder, trumpet; Bob Birtles & Tony Buchanan, saxophone; various drummers.
About Eartha Kitt
Eartha Kitt (January 17, 1927 – December 25, 2008) was a living legend - an American actress, singer, cabaret star, dancer, stand-up comedian, activist and voice artist, known for her highly distinctive singing style and her 1953 recordings of "C'est Si Bon" and the enduring Christmas novelty smash "Santa Baby", which were both US Top 10 hits.
She starred in 1967 as Catwoman, in the third and final season of the television series Batman.
Orson Welles once called her the "most exciting woman in the world".
Kitt began her career in 1943 and appeared in the 1945 original Broadway production of the musical Carib Song.
In the early 1950s, she had six US Top 30 hits, including "Uska Dara" and "I Want to be Evil".
Her other notable recordings include the UK Top 10 hit "Under the Bridges of Paris" (1954), "Just an Old Fashioned Girl" (1956) and "Where Is My Man" (1983).
In 1968, her career in America suffered dramatically after she made anti-war statements to President Lindon Johnson at a White House luncheon and made the peace sign from the balcony to protestors camped outside. Asked by Lady Bird Johnson about the Vietnam War, she replied: "You send the best of this country off to be shot and maimed. No wonder the kids rebel and take pot." The Johnson's took great offense and their power meant she could suddenly get no work as an entertainer and she was forced to move to Europe for some years at the peak of her career and earning capacity, something she was bitter about.
Ten years later, she made a successful return to Broadway in the 1978 original production of the musical Timbuktu!, for which she received the first of her two Tony Award nominations. Her second was for the 2000 original production of the musical The Wild Party.
For her voice role as Yzma in the animated series The Emperor's New Groove (2006–08), she won two Emmy Awards.
She won a third Emmy posthumously in 2010 for The Wonder Pets.
Barry Ferrier (aka Barry Ferrier) is a Byron Bay based Australian musician, songwriter /composer and multimedia designer.