Mickey & Michelle are an Australian harp and violin duo who seamlessly blend contemporary folk and jazz in a rich, unique style of their own. Their debut album 'A Walking Pace' showcases the duo’s intricate sound and unusual combination of styles.
2019 was a big year for Michelle Doyle and Michael O’Donnell. They formed a harp and violin duo, wrote an original set of music, recorded their debut album and planned a musical tour on foot across New Zealand, all while raising money for osteoporosis research. This ambitious plan saw them hiking 3000km along “Te Araroa” trail (The Long Pathway), and performing 20 concerts in halls, living rooms, churches, folk festivals and on a ferry.
“What blew me away the most from this tour was the people,” says Michael. “The trail took us through regional towns with small, vibrant communities. Throughout the whole 6 months it was these wonderful people who put their hand up to help us out, whether that be transporting our instruments, giving us a bed, dinner and most importantly a shower!”
Michelle says: “It was so unique to get to know a community this way, through hiking and music. I loved when the audience felt comfortable enough to joke with us on stage and even a friendly heckle - that sort of rapport is when you know you’ve created something special.”
Michelle Doyle was born into a multi-generational musical family. After a quick stint as an acrobat (6 to 8 years old) culminating in a South Korean tour, Michelle retired and bought a harp with her well-earned cash to pursue a lifelong dream of becoming a harpist. With a rich upbringing of Irish and classical music, Michelle won a scholarship to Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School for her year 11 and 12 as the first lever harpist. She continued on to complete a classical degree at Monash University and has been in high demand, performing solo, with small ensembles, teaching and touring nationally with the likes of Shane Howard and Paul Kelly.
Michael O’Donnell on the other hand was a self-taught rocker who eventually found a home for his love of improvisation in jazz violin.
After completing his music degree, Michael formed the gypsy swing band “The Squeezebox Trio”, who toured internationally with their original swing music. The group remain regular favourites of Australian festivals, clubs and dance halls, winning the “Best Music Award” at the 2015 Sydney Fringe Festival for their performance in ‘Ljubicica’.
Hailing from different worlds Mickey & Michelle’s sound is unique, utilising folk music as a springboard to explore grand sweeping melodic developments and intricate rhythms, coloured with jazz harmony and improvisation. Their performance of “chamber-folk” draws from the driving rhythms of Celtic music and classical interplay to create a modern Australian sound. Michael’s graceful lyrics are woven throughout their repertoire as he sings with his creamy, authentic Australian accent.
“Mickey & Michelle put together a wonderful and engaging performance here in Methven, a smaller town that is often overlooked by touring musicians. Their “on foot” tour really gave them a unique story to tell and they shared it with grace, humour and vulnerability. It’s rare for Methven to receive such a high calibre of musicianship, and their compositions were very moving.” Emily Coppard, Methven Hall, NZ.