Maureen O’Brien – Song of the Wetlands


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The wetlands project

by Maureen O’Brien

TN161 Feb 24

It was a 15month project to bring the new album, “Song of the Wetlands” to fruition.

Quite a journey, and something I’d never tackled before, so it was with some degree of trepidation that I began.

Was I up to the task?

There were other composers that could surely do it better!

Whilst I had worked on numerous arts/music festivals before over the years, this one took me out of my comfort zone and I was flying solo.

But I am a member of a fabulous creative community.

I’m a singer, a musician, a songwriter, a playwright, and much more.

Surely there would be people who’d be willing to collaborate, and there was!

With a choral piece, The Wetlands Rhapsody, at the core, it was the first to be co-ordinated and recorded.

Some 50+ singers responded to a callout and of those, 26 made it to a “Scratch Choir” day.

A volunteer videographer whom I’d met a few weeks previously at a friend’s wedding, took charge with his state of the art film and recording equipment, while the singers listened for the first time to the new work, then rehearsed and finally captured a first recording.

In the following months, I put out further calls for the help I needed.

These included a classical guitarist, rock musicians, concertina and mandolin accompanists, recording and sound engineers, a transcriber, and production support.

With just one exception, everyone I asked expressed enthusiasm to participate.

What I initially thought would be a long solo project became a community collaborative adventure.

It reinforced the idea for me that, in the Newcastle & Hunter NSW region anyway, we have such an abundance of creativity, and such generosity of spirit in our arts community, and that makes us rich in imagination.

Now that the soundtrack is completed, next is to see what the fibre artists have created based on the music.

The first exhibition opened at the Timeless Textiles Gallery in Hunter Street, Newcastle, on January 11 and remined open through to early February.

With artists from local, national, and worldwide participating, what I’ve seen so far is outstanding.

The exhibition returns home to the Hunter Wetlands in April.

“Song of the Wetlands” is an 11-track album and by its very nature is a reflection of the Wetlands community and the local music community that enabled it to reach its destination.

It is available on CD from, or in CD, Flash Drive, or digital format from


When music, art and the environment come together

by Maureen O’Brien


I was invited by the Curator of the Wetlands Gallery space to compose a soundtrack of the Wetlands which would become the inspiration of participating artists for a new and unique exhibition.

I embraced the challenge and began composing in September 2022.

The first of the exhibitions was scheduled to open in January 2024 at the Timeless Textiles Gallery in Newcastle, with a smaller collection opening at the Hunter Wetlands in April of ’24.

Whilst the majority of exhibitions based on the Wetlands focus on mediums such as oils, watercolors, pen&ink, photography, and similar, what made this concept stand out is that Artists were required to create their work based, not on what they see in the environment, but what they hear.

And of course, the music needed to reflect that environment to inspire the Artists.

Secondly, the participating Artists were to be recognised as Textile artists.

I began to immerse myself in the Hunter Wetlands and other areas of the region and then started to research the wildlife that exists in this environment.

What immediately became abundantly clear is that The Wetlands is teaming with such diversity that what I originally planned to be a 6-track project, grew exponentially.

And because there were to be some 20+ Artists involved, I chose to reflect that diversity in a broader range of tunes, from choral to folk-rock, from comedy to light jazz, and a few shades in between.

“Song of the Wetlands” is an 11-track album and has been a fabulous community project to work on.

It is an organic, and low-budget production which, by its very nature, is also a reflection of the Wetlands community, and the local music community that enabled it to reach its destination.

“Song of the Wetlands” will be available at in mid December.


Contemporary singer/songwriter and touring performer, Maureen writes from the heart and sings it with passion. An interpretive vocalist, she has a rich, mellow vocal sound and selects material that best suits her vocal style. An evolving songwriter, her current work is a distinctive fusion of Jazz-Folk-Rock.

DivaFever 2015_Dungeon3Maureen has performed in a variety of groups and duos as well as being an accomplished solo performer. Her performances occur in a wide variety of entertainment experiences such as:

  • Tastings on the Terrace (Sunday afternoons in the  vineyards).
  • Wine and food festivals.
  • Music festivals.
  • Restaurants, cocktail functions, ‘lounge bar’ music, restaurants, dinner/theatre shows.
  • Dedicated concerts and Charity events/functions
  • Parties and boutique music sessions.

Live performances with her support bands are dynamic. She likes to give her musicians ‘room to breathe’ so every performance reflects a freedom to explore different approaches to selected material. The line-ups vary as she selects musicians from an extensive pool of talent to suit individual gigs. Her solo performances are described as ‘warm and intimate’.

As a songwriter Maureen writes from the heart and interprets from the soul. She has written and performed Classic Blues and Jazz, Folk-Rock, Jazz-Rock and Contemporary Folk and Blues genres. She has been a multi-finalist in the 1233 ABC Radio Newcastle Music Awards and her second album, Many Shades of Blue, was awarded the prestigious Trad&Now Magazine’s Best CD of 2006 in the Blues and Roots genre. Her third album, Luminous, and fourth album, Ebb & Flow,  received regular airplay throughout community stations across Australia via selection by AMRAP for Album of the Month awards. Tracks from Luminous have also been selected for airplay oversees.

She has recorded single and EP projects for fundraising events, and written and recorded Musical Scores for Theatre works.

Maureen has been writing and performing for more than a decade and is a fully-fledged writer member of the industry association, Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA).

Performance History
As a full time musician and creative artiste, Maureen’s performance biography is too extensive to list here.  The fact that she is repeatedly invited back to perform at regular and annual events substantiates her establishment as a high quality entertainer.  If you are considering engaging her services, contact her direct for testimonials



Additional information

Weight .120 kg
Dimensions 21 × 15 × 1.0 cm


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