Musician   Performer   Composer   Instrument Maker

West Australian saxophonist, instrument maker and composer, Mark Cain’s career spans world music, jazz, experimental and free improvised genres, including music he has written for dance, theatre, short film and his numerous bands. As a multi-instrumentalist and instrument maker he co-founded the ground-breaking concept group, AC/PVC in 1987; toured internationally with Nova Ensemble (1991 - 2006); performed in the national Musica Viva schools program for more than two decades (Nova Ensemble, Ozmosis and Composer-in-the-Classroom) and has worked throughout Australia as a solo performer in schools with Nexus Arts (Victoria) playing instruments of his own invention from simple, recyclable materials. Over his career he has performed in countless schools in both city and regional Australia. Formerly a radio journalist, Cain was also responsible for training Western Australia’s first indigenous radio journalist/broadcasters as part of Noongar Radio at Radio 6nr (Curtin University 1979–85).

Instrument Maker 

Cain is recognised for the instruments he has created from plumbing industry tubing and other recyclable materials, dating back to his work in Tall Stories (with mentor, Linsey Pollak in 1985) and AC/PVC (1987 - 91). His trademark is his use of simple, commonly available materials to create imaginative and often whimsical instruments whose surprising sounds confound their origins.

He has worked in many indigenous and regional communities among musicians and non-musicians alike, building instruments from ‘found’ or recycled materials and collaboratively devising performances that explore local themes. One of his recent projects (Musica Viva/AIR Grant Artist In Residence) was a collaboration  (with artist, Calvin Chee) constructing a large sound garden with six interactive sound sculptures, located at Belmay Primary School in Western Australia. In 2014 and 2015 Cain was Musician in Residence for Tura New Music in indigenous communities on the Dampier Peninsula, Kimberley WA, working alongside community members to construct a series of musical instrument sculptures sited at the local school, whilst conducting music workshops in peninsula schools and band rehearsals among local indigenous musicians. in 2017-18 he has been Musician in Residence at Safety Bay Primary constructing a large-scale sound garden.

Performer and Educator

As an educator, Cain has worked extensively in schools, performing, conducting workshops and artist-in-residence projects in communities around the country. For two decades he performed and toured variously in Australia and oversees with the Nova Ensemble (1991 -2006) and subsequently, Ozmosis (2008 – 2013) in the national Musica Viva In Schools programme. During this time he also worked in the innovative duo, Windcheaters (with fellow reedman, Lee Buddle), whilst continuing to tour Australian schools as a solo artist with Nexus Arts, Victoria. From 2014-16 and again in 2018 Cain has been a WASO Teaching Artist in Onslow (WA), in partnership with percussionist, Paul Tanner for an ongoing series of school workshops (OKME). He has also worked with the Song Room on sound installation projects in schools. As a freelance musician, a former sessional music lecturer (School of Music, University of Western Australia) and producer and broadcaster (The Planet, ABC Radio National and Radio 6NR), he has a vast working knowledge of world music, jazz and folk traditions. His long-time interest in Balkan, Jewish klezmer and jazz-inflected world music led to groups such as Bulgarity, Rita Menendez Trio, Crab Tango, Elastic Band, Caravan and the 2008 WAM World Music Award winning, The Flying Carpathians.

In 2009, Cain founded the quintet, Daramad, who in 2013 won the Songlines/World Music Network Medien international competition, Battle of the Bands and resulted in two of his compositions with Daramad being released on Rough Guide to Arabic Jazz and Rough Guide to the Best Arabic Music You've Never Heard At the same time, he was performing in an eastern jazz trio, Club Qahira, with renowned oriental dancer, Rose and also playing Catalan folk music on traditional double-reed shawms in Ozmosis Street Band. His work in these groups parallels his 30-year involvement with WA’s former premier world music and arts venue, Kulcha, in Fremantle. Ironically, he was granted Life Membership the year prior to Kulcha’s surprise closure in 2013. Cain also lectured at the School of Music at the University of Western Australia from 2006-2008 in world music.

Musician in the World

For decades Cain has worked as a catalyst bringing together musicians from different parts of the world including a 30-year involvement with Kulcha in Fremantle and the Ethnic Music Centre, North Perth. In recent years he has collaborated with Persian Music Perth to promote an outstanding younger generation of migrant Iranian musicians to a broader Australian audience. He currently performs with the group he co-founded in 2014, Eastwinds, his most cross-cultural gathering to date, featuring musicians from Iran, Estonia, Japan and Australia. In 2016 Eastwinds won the WAM Song of the Year competition (World Music), as well as performing at the National Folk Festival (Canberra), Fairbridge Festival (WA) in consecutive years and Nanga Music Festival (WA). He also plays with the young innovative sarod player, Praashekh Borkar (Pune, India), in the Praashekh Quartet [Fairbridge Festival (WA), Harboursound Festival (WA)]. Cain has performed on stage with Oi Dipnoi (Sicily), Fronsiere Hockings (Norway), Will Pound and Eddy Jay (UK), the Lost Brothers (US) and Ten Strings and a Goat (Canada). And, for more than a decade, he has been a resident performer in various bands at Fremantle’s Gypsy Tapas House.

Based in Fremantle WA, Cain plays an array of wind instruments, including saxophones, clarinets, flutes and ethnic woodwinds as well as wind and percussion instruments of his own invention and design, many of which are featured on his largely solo multi-woodwind recording, Reeds.                                           

Recent and Past Activity

2019           Musica Viva in Schools, Melbourne tour - Eastwinds

2019           Eastwinds at the Ellington Jazz Club

2019           Zagoria Quartet at the Ellington jazz Club

2019           National Folk Festival, Canberra - Praashekh Quartet

2019           Musica Viva in Schools, Geraldton regional tour - Eastwinds

2019           Musica Viva in Schools, South West regional tour - Eastwinds

2019           South West WA tour with Baluji Shrivastav & Tepistry (feat Lucky Oceans)

2018           Musica Viva in Schools show development with Eastwinds

2018           Denmark Festival of the Voice with the Praashekh Quartet

2018           Fairbridge Festival with the Praashekh Quartet

2017 - 18    Musician-in-Residence, Safety Bay Primary - construction of a sound playground

2017           Nomination, WAM World Music Award

2017           Member, Eastwinds, Festival of the Voice, Denmark WA

2017            Member, Praashekh Quartet, Harboursound Festival, Albany WA

2017            Member, Eastwinds, Hemispheres - Music of the World series, PS Art Space

2017            Member, Praashekh Quartet, Fairbridge Festival WA

2017            Praashekh Quartet,  cd release, Swara Blend

2017            Perth International Arts Festival: Eastwinds, Winthrop Hall Gardens

2017            Sound Scripts Periodical Vol 5: Dr Robin Ryan - Forging a Singular Musical Path

                    The Compositional Explorations of Mark Cain (WA New Music Archive)

2017            Convenor, Hemispheres - Music of the World Music Series, PS Art Space

2016          Perfect Beat periodical: Dr Robin Ryan In Conversation with Mark Cain

                 "Kernels of Discovery - Original Musical Instruments and Acoustic Sound

                 Designs (Perfect Beat (online) ISSN 1836-0343)                                

2016          National Folk Festival Canberra – performances/workshops, Eastwinds 

2016          Member, Eastwinds, Fairbridge Festival (WA) 

2016          Member, Persian Music Collective, Fairbridge Festival (WA) 

2016          Ellington Jazz Club - Eastwinds             

2016          WAM Song of the Year winners (World Music): Eastwinds             

2016          WASO Teaching Artist in Schools (with Paul Tanner) Onslow WA    

2015          Tura New Music - Musician in Residence at Djaradjin/Lombadina    

2015          The Song Room, Artist in Residence, Dryandra Primary School        

2015          Kalgoorlie Multicultural Arts Festival, Eastwinds

2015          Eastwinds releases debut CD                                                         

2015          Persian Music Perth – Eastwinds and Friends in Concert                    

2015          Fairbridge Festival – Eastwinds performances and workshops        

2015          WASO Teaching Artist in Schools (with Paul Tanner) Onslow WA

2015          Cannington Popup Music Series – Eastwinds & Praashekh Quartet    

2014          Tura New Music Artist in Residence – Dampier Peninsula                

2014          Persian Music Perth – Eastwinds concert                                         

2014          Musica Viva in Schools tour schools and community, Murchison, WA      

2014          WASO Teaching Artist in Schools (with Paul Tanner) Onslow WA    

2014          Worldly Winter Warmers World Music Series – coordinator, MosArts    

2014          Co-founder, Eastwinds (musicians from Estonia, Iran, Japan, Aust.)    

2013          Musica Viva in Schools - Touring: Ozmosis (Kimberley & metro WA)     

2103          Oz Concert - Performances: Daramad & Oz Concert House Band                   

2013          Persian Music Perth - Performance: Daramad                                            

2013          Sensorium Theatre – co-composed music (with Jamie David), Oddysea

2013          Kulcha Multicultural Arts, WA - Awarded Life Membership                

2013          World Music Network/Songlines – Daramad wins “Battle of the Bands”

2013          Kulcha 30th Anniversary Concert – convenor, Cafe Folklorico Band        

2013          Sensorium Theatre - music consultant residency at Kenwick            

2013          Musica Viva in Schools –Tour with Ozmosis: Pilbara and Kimberley        

2013          Denmark Festival of the Voice - performances: Daramad                

2013          Denmark Festival of the Voice – with Carolina Cordeiro                     

2013          Solo schools tour in Melbourne through Nexus Arts, Vic                

2013          The Boite & Open Studio (Vic) – with Tara Tiba & Reza Mirzaei              

2013          Fairbridge Music Festival - Daramad concerts & workshop                    

2013          PSAS – composer/performer, Cinematic Scores - solo 

2012          Cinematic Scores, PSAS Fremantle – composer/perf. Daramad        

2012          Ellington Jazz Club – Daramad CD Launch                                        

2012          Musica Viva/AIR Grant Artist in Residence at Belmay PS                

2012          Release of Daramad’s eponymously title debut CD                            

2012          Koorliiny Arts Centre (Kwinana) - Artist in Residence                        

2012          Kulcha Multicultural Arts WA – concerts – Carolina Cordiero (Vic)

2012          Kulcha Multicultural Arts WA - Nostalgia Persia - Daramad, Narges Feyz   2012          Nexus Arts – Esperance tour – Solo                                                

2012          Art Gallery of Western Australia - AGWA Nights Series – Daramad    

2011          Musica Viva in Schools: tour with Sirocco (Sydney) in South West WA    

2011          Musica Viva in Schools: tour with Ozmosis (Perth metro and east WA)    

2011          Fairbridge Music Festival – Daramad performances & workshops     

2011          Albany Harbourside Concert Series/The Wollery – Daramad             

2011          Mandurah Performing Arts Centre – Flying Carpathians               

2009-13     Kulcha Multicultural Arts WA –  Daramad – various performances   

2009-13     Kulcha Multicultural Arts WA – Club Qahira – various perform.                

2009-13     Gypsy  Tapas House residency - Daramad                                     

2010          Central Tafe/Kulcha - lecturer, Tafe Cert. 1 course, Music Prod.            

2009-10     Coordinator, Freeform project, Kulcha - bi-monthly concerts        

2009-12     Member of Club Qahira with Middle Eastern dancer, Rose             

2008-15     Musica Viva In Schools - Composer in the Classroom WA            

2008-11     Kulcha Multicultural Arts WA – Flying Carpathians – various concerts

2008-13     Musica Viva in Schools WA - member of Ozmosis – schools touring

2008          WAM Winners of the World Music Award - Flying Carpathians                  

2008          Musica Viva Composer in the Classroom: Esperance, Mirrabooka PS        

2008          Composer, Broom-Broom Flying Heart Prod. - Awesome Festival, WA    

2007          Musica Viva in Schools Music Generator Project: Composer Traralgon    

2007          Composer, Turtle and the Tradewinds - Sandpiper Productions        

2007          20th UNIMA Congress and World Puppetry Festival, Perth - composer     

2007-10     Gypsy Tapas House – Flying Carpathians weekly residency                

2006          Ozmosis CD of the Week, ABCFM Classic Drive  Daily Planet, ABC RN   

2006-08     UWA School of Music Lecturer, World Music Cultures                    

1991-06     Member, Nova Ensemble - schools and communities throughout Aust. 

1991-06     Musica Viva In Schools - touring Singapore, Indonesia, Taiwan, Burnei    

1994-Pres   Touring solo show nationally in schools through the Nexus Arts, Vic    

1985-Pres   Performing at various Australian festivals with: Eastwinds, Daramad, Nova

                  Ensemble, Ozmosis, Windcheaters, The Flying Carpathians, Ozmosis Street

                  Band (woodwind quintet, playing traditional Catalan repertoire on folk 

                  shawms), Caravan, AC/PVC, The Ran Dan Club, Steve & Roz Barnes, the 

                  Ran Dan Club, Toucan Tango, Slices of Albert, Bulgarity and the Rita 

                  Menendez Trio                                                                        

2006           Performed composer, Lucky Oceans’ theme music – Pets, ABC TV    

2006           Released duo CD, Ozmosis (2006) – On The Veranda feature ABC RN    

2005           Gravity Discovery Centre Gallery, Gingin WA - designed large sound exhibit:

                  Sound Coil 1 (1.2 kilometer coil of 100mm diameter polyethyline pipe. 

                  A series of microphones located at points along its length amplify sounds 

                  as they progress through the pipe, illustrating time delays of sound over 

                  such an extended length

Bands (1985 - 2016)

Praashekh Quartet
Miracle Band X
Club Qahira
Nova Ensemble
Ozmosis & Ozmosis Street Band
Nova Ensemble
Orchestra of the Global Nomads
The Elastic Band
Wanderlust Trio 
Slices of Albert 
Rita Menendez Group
Tall Stories (with Linsey Pollak, Kimberley/Pilbara Tour 1985)
The Ran Dan Club (Derby residency, 1991)
Toucan Tango
Playback Theatre

Zagoria Trio
Eduardo Cossio groups
Jamie David - Miracle Band X

Festival Appearances

Taiwan 1994 [Austrade]  
JakArt Festival 2001 [Jakarta]  
Singapore 1998 $ 2003 [Musica Viva touring]

Across the Top Tour [Musica Viva] [WA, NT & QLD]
Perth International Arts Festival [WA]
'Beat It' Synergy Percussion Series [Sydney]
National Folk Festiva (ACT and Victoria)
Fringe Benefit Festival [Sydney]
Maleny/Woodforde Festival [Queensland]
Bougainvillea [Darwin]
Launceston [Tasmania]
Port Fairy [Victoria]
Brunswick [Victoria]
Real Elecrtronic Virtual Festival [Brisbane] 
National Folk Festivals [Victoria & ACT & WA]
Adelaide Come Out Youth Festival [SA]
Evos New Music Festival [WA]
Nanga Festival
The Totally Huge New Music Festival [WA]
Awesome Festival [WA]
Toodyay Festival [WA] 
Fairbridge Festivals [WA] - numerously
York Jazz Festival
Nannup Music Festival 
Festival of the Wind [Esperance]
Augusta River Festival
Harbourside Festival [Albany] 
Harboursound Concert Series [Albany]
Denmark Festival of the Voice

Club Qahira 
Nova Ensemble 
The World of PVC Music 

Mark Cain and Steve Barnes with Eastwinds at the Spice Road Popup (Cannington) in March 2015