ASA – A Farewell to Irish

Photo courtesy of Kevin Gleeson

Photo courtesy of Kevin Gleeson

Well, last night saw the Australian Songwriters Association – Tasmania‘s final gig at Irish Murphy’s in Salamanca Place. It was a raw night to be out and about – the weather here in Hobart has been typically Winter (with a capital W) since last month’s plunge into single digit temperatures. However, kudos to all the brave folks who came out on such a night to support and perform – you are all diamonds!

It bears noting that the opening act was emerging songwriter, Cassie O’Keefe, who has really improved as a performer – so much so that I let her use my Seagull guitar last night!

Cassie ASA 1 June 2015

Cassie has really come into her own in the last year or so, thanks in part to the amazing support of her wonderful family and friends – and shows like the ASA, which provide a wonderful avenue for new writer/performers to share the stage with proven hands like Tony Brennan, myself and the consummate professional, Ian Paulin.

I’m therefore very pleased to tell you all that I’m taking Cassie down to Belfry Studio next month, where she’ll be recording with my favourite engineer in all the planet, Malcolm Battersby. It’s an incredibly gratifying experience to see someone grow from an uncertain child into a powerful young woman, who can turn a pub crowd on a Monday night into a listening audience, and hold them in the palm of her hand. It’s every teacher/mentor’s dream and inspires me to keep doing what I do 😀

Also, I must mention the fine work by the ASA Tasmania coordinator, Matt Sertori. His job has been so difficult over the last few months, with people pulling out at the last minute or turning up late for their set. Seriously, organising musicians is like herding cats, and not for the faint hearted – we are a difficult mob! Matt has kept his temper and his outrageous sense of humour well intact and I thank him for all his support and unwavering friendship over more than ten years of ASA shows.

I’m not sure where the ASA will be heading next, there isn’t a venue lined up at the time of writing – but that in itself is kind of exciting and makes me wonder what we can do next!

Watch this space and stay safe and well, wherever you are on this beautiful planet ❤


Upcoming Gigs

Very pleased to announce that I’m playing a set this week with exciting new talent, Cassie O’Keefe. This Thursday at Casbah Cafe, Liverpool Street, Hobart, Tasmania, AU.

Also, The Australian Songwriters Association are celebrating their 10th anniversary on Wednesday 11th December (also at Casbah Cafe). As one of the performers from ten years ago, I’m very pleased to be on the bill again, along with some of my students.

Check my Facebook page closer to the date for set times.

Take care all


Mentoring – What Makes The World Go Round

On Stage at Casbah Cafe

On Stage at Casbah Cafe

As a songwriter and performer, I think there’s nothing better than actually getting on a stage and plying my craft. But as a teacher, there’s nothing better than to see the results of my work, as a student stands on a stage for the first time.

Mentoring can take so many different forms in creative arts. Some of the most productive things can come out of a casual chat over coffee rather than a formal session. Just a quiet word from the right person has been like gold sometimes, reassuring me that my path is true. I’ve found particular people who’ve been wonderful in assisting me in areas that I didn’t have that much knowledge in, such as finance and bookkeeping, understanding how the live music industry can be radically different in non english speaking countries and the never-ending ferris wheel of public liability insurance.

Sometimes it’s been as simple as an exchange of networks or as complex as a full “how to” on a particular area – but I suggest don’t feel compelled to act on all advice given! In my opinion, the best mentors always will say “well, that’s my thoughts but it’s your decision”, rather than “you must do this”!

No matter how you go about it, it’s important. Singer/songwriters are for the most part involved in a solitary existence, both a creators and performers. We stand on the stage alone, singing songs we wrote alone. Outside input, particularly from folks who’ve done or are still doing similar things can be gold!

Recently, I had the joy of mentoring one of my students Cassie O’Keefe. We played on the same bill at Casbah Cafe’s regular Women Songwriters’ night in Hobart and it was (as Cassie put it) her first grown up gig. Yes, she made mistakes but she carried herself onstage with honesty and dignity and has learned a great deal from the experience.

At 17, this girl has a wonderful future ahead of her as a performer and songwriter and if you’re in Hobart next month, Cassie will be playing again at Casbah Cafe on Thursday 11th July.

Cassie at Casbah Cafe

Cassie at Casbah Cafe

For me, mentors have been a part of my entire life and have taken many guises. I attribute a lot of my success to good advice and assistance from people who have and still care about my professional development. I’m interested in hearing your stories about mentoring too – let me know what you think. For me it’s the stuff that makes the road just that much easier and makes my world go round.

Take care and see you soon,

Deb 😀

Singing – A New Prescription

I was out in the garden yesterday (another one of my passions!) and while pulling the never-ending weeds I heard a fabulous story on ABC Radio’s The World Today.

There have been many perceived benefits of singing, and in recent years many studies to back up long-held suspicions……. singing is undoubtedly the most fun an adult can have with their clothes on!

This study comes from Griffith University in Queensland, and concentrates on Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander choristers.  In this 2012 NAIDOC week celebrations, this is even more appropriate 😀

Further reading:

The Fringe Dwellers – Sneak Preview

The Fringe Dwellers are my new band – Mal Battersby (The Bat Band) – guitars & vocals, Oscar Neyland – bass guitar, James Excell – drums and me on vocals & rhythm guitar.

As some of you might be aware, it’s a very long time since I’ve been in a band and this is shaping up to being a very rewarding experience! The music is a broad mix of genres, with songs written by Mal and some by me.

We’re just in the final stages of completing our first full recording “After Time” and it’s sounding excellent!

For those of you in southern Tasmania, we’re playing our first proper pub gig next Friday 22nd June at The Grand Poobah in Liverpool St, Hobart. It’s the end of mid-year exams for all my uni friends, so we’re planning to party! We’d love to see you there 😀

Meanwhile, this is one of my favourite photos of Mal & me, taken by our beautiful photographer friend Saria Phillips…… it kinda sums things up pretty well – we have a lot of fun 😉

The Woman On The Edge Of The World – A Review

TWOTEOTW Front Cover

Below is a review of my latest album, which I released earlier this year. Reading it still gives me goosebumps – Matt’s review is extraordinarily generous!

If you’re interested in having a listen, “The Woman On The Edge Of The World” is available on my SoundCloud page. Individual tracks as well as the full album are available for purchase.

Sales have been very good but I’m currently looking at potential crowd-funding methods of releasing a physical CD & vinyl version, with posters and possibly art & lyric book.

I welcome your feedback 🙂

March 2012 Sauce Magazine Review

“The Woman on The Edge of The World”

Many would know Deb as the female vocalist from ARIA award winning Wild Pumpkins at Midnight or more recently as one half of the blues/roots Fringe Dwellers. Like her contemporaries, Deb had always enjoyed more recognition inEurope. Angie Hart and Monique Brumby have publicly acknowledged the importance of Manskey’s influence.

I won’t go into why it took 13 years to make this album but in many ways the songs tell so many beautiful stories of sadness and sorrow, perhaps it’s better to let the music tell the story.

This is a stripped back acoustic album, just vocal and guitar. “Drowning On Dry Land” is perhaps the most intense song on this album, far more intimidating than anything PJ Harvey, Sinead O’Connor or Patti Smith have ever committed to tape.
”Sandy Bay” is an un-mistakenly Tasmanian song, capturing feel of the suburb and referencing the landmarks, as John Lennon did when he sang the Rubber Soul era, “In My Life”. But it’s not an entirely miserable experience. “Mr Invincible” is a wonderful up-tempo slice of pop, as is “Beautiful Life”. This album has been a long time in the making, it might be more accurately described as a greatest hits album, no doubt the toughest decision was deciding which of the hundreds of great songs she wrote in its preparation to banish to the orphanage.

Manskey possesses one of the finest voices imaginable and if you buy this album you will discover, she is also one of the finest songwriters.

Matt Sertori

A Place To Start

The hardest thing about any writing project is finding somewhere to start.

I’ve been thinking about this blog for ages and confess every time I’ve opened up WordPress, full of good intentions I’ve ended up writing another piece for Bumper Crop – my “other life” as an avid organic gardener and cook.

But with autumn taking hold in the southern hemisphere, it’s high time to make a start and share some of my musical life with you all. Many of you would never have heard of me, so here’s the official bio, direct from the press kit…..

Debra Manskey was born into a musical family in South Australia. In fact, for the first ten or twelve years of her life, Debra thought everyone lived in a home where music was on the menu most nights of the week.

“Growing up, it was a revelation for me to discover that some families didn’t play music together or even own a musical instrument. We used to sit around the kitchen table and just do it! Looking back, it’s a gift I can’t thank my parents enough for.”

One of the founding members of Australian 80’s indie icons Wild Pumpkins at Midnight, Debra’s trademark soaring vocals contributed to the Pumpkins’ 1990 ARIA award for “This Machine is Made of People”

Throughout her long career, Debra has graced many concert stages and festivals, including Pt Fairy, Moomba, Cygnet Folk Festival and Tasmania’s jewel, 10 Days on the Island. In recent years as a solo performer she has also supported other outstanding artists such as The Stiff Gins, Neil Murray, Stefan Grossman, Sophie B Hawkins, Mick Thomas, Dave Steel and the inimitable Dave Graney.

Debra is also highly regarded as an arts administrator and educator, regularly conducting specialist workshops for adults and children in voice, songwriting and performance skills. She has worked as a Writer-In-Residence, been celebrated as Tasmanian Living Writer and released a live cd in 2006 which received excellent reviews and has now sold out.

Her first full-length studio album “The Woman on the Edge of the World” was released in January 2012 and is available as a digital download through SoundCloud.

Besides her solo work, Debra has also been in the studio again with a new four-piece band The Fringe Dwellers, featuring guitarist/songwriter Malcolm Battersby. Their debut album “After Time” is due out in the second half of 2012

Ok, that’s enough to begin with………

Next time I’ll give you all a rundown on beautiful Hobart in winter (including some pics)  🙂 and some of the projects I’m involved in at present. Life is busy!