Danilo and Monique opened a music studio at their home in West Footscray in January this year, teaching piano and voice to students of all ages. We speak to the couple about their passion for music, Latin America, family and their new home.
Danilo, you are an accomplished composer, arranger and instrumentalist, what do you consider to be your biggest achievement in music?
I performed at the Copenhagen Festival of Jazz three years ago, which was very big. But the most important performance was in my own country at the International Festival in La Paz, where we (musical collaborators) closed the festival. It was more difficult to play for my people than other countries because I have a responsibility to my people.
What do you think about Footscray so far?
There are great jazz musicians from Ethiopia and Cuba around here. I think this is an important place for multiculturalism. It’s a place where people can share their culture.
Monique, can you tell us about your musical background?
I studied theatre and taught at university before deciding to travel overseas. I’ve taught all over the world, including working with street kids and in orphanages. I always tried to keep singing while I travelled, which included singing in bars in Spain and busking. I won a scholarship to study opera at the Canberra School of Music, which has enabled me to teach more general voice controls.
How do you find living in Footscray?
We really enjoy it and we’re happy to be here, especially for the multiculturalism. We love the restaurants, love the food. It’s vibrant, especially downtown. And we love Friday night pho!