Fiddler, friends and farewell

SAND CHANGE: Pixie Jenkins is now living and working in the red heart of Australia, at CAAMA Radio in Alice Springs. Photo: Paul Wiles, CAAMA
SAND CHANGE: Pixie Jenkins is now living and working in the red heart of Australia, at CAAMA Radio in Alice Springs. Photo: Paul Wiles, CAAMA

HE’S been tagged the “fiddling firecracker” for more years than I can recall, but in recent years Golden Guitar-winning entertainer Pixie Jenkins has added another string to his bow. 

Tiring of the day-to-day pub and club gigs, Pixie launched a career in radio, joining the crew at Brisbane’s 4AAA-98.9FM.

“I thought radio would be a good opportunity for me and 98.9 offered me the job at the Gympie Muster about six years ago,” Pixie said.

Pixie’s Bush Breakfast soon became one of the station’s most popular programs, even taking numbers off the ABC’s Macca on a Sunday morning in Brisbane.

Four years ago he applied for a position with the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA) Radio, in Alice Springs, but was told the requirement was a university degree.

Not to be deterred, Pixie enrolled with the JMC Academy, undertaking a four-year degree in entertainment and business management.

Armed with his degree, he reapplied and got the job, so he happily packed his belongings and headed to Australia’s red heart.

After a 3000km road trip, he arrived in Alice Springs (Imparntwe), towards the end of May.

“This sand change has been the best thing I’ve ever done,” Pixie said. 

“I love it. I feel like I’ve landed in paradise. It’s absolutely beautiful here, stunning country. The further you go, the better it becomes.

“It’s known as Caterpillar country here, but I reckon it’s paradise.”

He’s landed the role of senior producer and broadcaster with CAAMA, where he’s working alongside “The G Man” – Gerry Kerati Lyons – a guru of Aboriginal radio in Australia.

His role also involves expanding the station’s social media presence and keeping the website updated.

From the moment he arrived on May 21, he’s been made to feel welcome by his new colleagues and his wonderfully welcoming landlady.

“It’s been remarkable. My place is a little luxury chalet in the back yard of a lovely lady’s home,” Pixie said.

“She’s been a teacher here in Alice for the past 40 years. A fire destroyed the granny flat a few years ago and she rebuilt it with the insurance money, so everything is brand new.

“I arrived here to find the fridge stocked, which was a lovely welcome. 

“G-Man, the general manager of CAAMA, is a mover and a shaker out here, an absolutely remarkable gentleman, so I’m in great company.”

Pixie said he’ll be no stranger to Tamworth, as CAAMA broadcasts from the annual Tamworth Country Music Festival each year.

“Warren H Williams and I did interviews last year in the town hall and we had an absolute hoot,” Pixie said.

“We’ll be back in Tamworth again in January 2017, so watch out for us.”

Pixie said anywhere you looked in Caterpillar country was a sight to behold.

“It’s a dream come true. I needed a sand-change and this place is just so inspiring,” he said.

“I see a light shining on Mbantua in Alice Springs. I have a feeling something is about to happen out here.

“It’s going to happen here and I wanted to be here and see that change. With intervention and the apartheid politics in Australia swiftly coming to a head, I feel Alice Springs is going to be the driver of that.

“I’m in the process of developing an app in conjunction with a university professor and a young IT guy in Brisbane.

“It will be a social bridging app, which will hopefully get rid of bigotry, xenophobia and racism.

“You only see those things where there is a lack of education and knowledge.”

Pixie said there’s also plenty of gigs out in Australia’s red heart and he’s been booked to entertain on Cruisin’ Country 2017.

The fiery fiddler is hosting country and rock‘n’roll programs on CAAMA, which you can listen to via live streaming at www.caama.com.au 

AUSSIE INVASION: Troy Cassar-Daley, Caitlyn Shadbolt, Jay O’Shea, 2016 Toyota Star Maker Karin Page and Mark O’Shea. Photo: Denise Fussell

AUSSIE INVASION: Troy Cassar-Daley, Caitlyn Shadbolt, Jay O’Shea, 2016 Toyota Star Maker Karin Page and Mark O’Shea. Photo: Denise Fussell

I RECEIVED the most fabulous photo last night via email from my good friend, Denise Fussell in Nashville.

Denise is a creative soul with a business called Fussell Graphics, on Music Row, and photography is one of her many talents.

She very kindly went along to the Global Artist Party, hosted by AristoMedia, which featured artists from around the world, including Toyota Star Maker 2016, Karin Page.

Our fabulous Troy Cassar-Daley, who last Saturday night appeared at the Grand Ole Opry, is in Music City USA for the CMA Fest, which is now in full swing.

Thanks to Denise for this great shot of some of the Aussies in town for CMA Fest who caught up at the Global Artist Party. 

I HAVE had so much fun writing this column over the past 16 years. 

It’s been an absolute pleasure to put smiles on people’s faces, perhaps encourage a few bums on seats at gigs, and bring you news and views of the country kind.

At the end of this month I’ll be heading out of Tamworth in a motor home to travel and write my way around Australia for the foreseeable future.

For those who are friends with me on Facebook, you’ll soon know where to find future columns, as I plan to begin a regular online blog.

Thanks for the memories, folks. It’s been fun. I’ve loved every minute of it. Might see you along the road somewhere.  

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