It’s an unlikely success story – a tale of two musicians from opposite ends of the spectrum who ended up next-door neighbours and before they knew it, had bonded over a shared love of sewing and banded together as the popular duo, ‘Stitch’.
“I moved from Melbourne to Tilba 18 months ago, looking to escape the city” Zoey Pepper explains “I had a classical music career playing in orchestras and teaching the bassoon but I was ready for a change.”
When Zoey dragged out her bassoon again after the move, she suggested to her banjo-playing neighbour Bev Long that they play together at the Tilba Hairy Concert – so named because things can get hairy!
Bev admits she may have rolled her eyes when Zoey made her suggestion.
“I just thought, we’re from such different backgrounds,” she laughs “and I don’t play those songs.”
But when Bev gave it a try, the two found that the unlikely combination of the bassoon and the banjo merged perfectly and they were a hit at The Hairy Concert.
“It’s quite unusual to see a female banjo player and the bassoon is in itself an unfamiliar sight and sound but we found that our very different voices worked together really well,” Bev shares.
Searching for a band name, their shared love of sewing led them to the term ‘stitch and bitch,’ but they soon shortened it to ‘Stitch’ because “it wasn’t going down well with venues,” – but there’s an original song in the works whose title will make use of the full term.Encouraged by the crowd’s response to their Hairy Concert performance, the duo were talked into entering the Narooma Busking Championships, which was their first busking gig – and they won!
As a result, Stitch will be competing in the upcoming National Busking Finals, held in Cooma on November 16.
“We went into the busking comp not expecting anything, so it was such a surprise to win,” laughs Zoey.
The win might be partly explained by the broad scope of their musical repertoire, which stretches from historical jazz to retro pop.
‘Stitch’ appeals to everyone from 16 to 80, playing “songs you know but in a completely different way.”
“One of the first songs we performed was the Andrews Sisters Bei Mir Bist Du Schon and we loved it,” Zoey says “we have an upbeat, jazzy style with plenty of harmonizing and scatting – be-bops and de-whoops. I think our most modern take is on an Amy Winehouse song.”