Good music, inclusivity and lots of fun are the focus of Newcastle’s latest children’s band.
The Quokkas, featuring Nick Gill, Komiti Levai, Matt McLaren, Pam Hyde and Stef Tuyl, formed last year to spread joy and important messages during what most consider a troubling time.
“It’s pretty basic – we just want to spread love and tell Australian kids, and kids worldwide, that everyone is welcome and we want them to grow up in a world that is inclusive and has a whole bunch of different faces represented,” Nick said.
“I have three-year-old twins and my wife and I were looking at what they watch and engage with and we thought it could be a little bit more inclusive, so I thought: ‘I can write music, let’s do it that way’.
“I think prejudice is learnt, we’re not born with it, so our goal is to make sure that everyone is welcome and has a bit of fun.”
Drawing inspiration from ‘the happiest animal on earth’ for its title, the group is sure to be a favourite for kids.
The Quokkas’ soon to be hits include Different Families, Everybody’s Welcome, That’s Not A Fish, and Choo Choo Goes The Train.
Nick writes these songs with the help of his kids, Otis and Harriet.
“It’s pretty fun because I have the twins,” he said. “I generally come up with a concept and grab my guitar and play it to them and see if they enjoy it.
“Sometimes they have suggested their own verses, so they have writing credits on a lot of songs.”
Made up of musicians with different cultural backgrounds and abilities, the band itself is a testament to its message.
Keyboardist and producer, Matt, was an Australia’s Got Talent finalist and tells the story that anyone, even those with a vision impairment, can achieve their goals.
Moving forward, the band hopes to keep creating and perform some live shows once COVID-19 restrictions allow.
“We really just want to keep growing so that we can sing our songs to more and more people,” Nick said.
“The more kids that can be exposed to this message, the better.
“We have seen some bleak times over the last few years, so it would be nice if the next generation grows up with a little more acceptance and inclusivity.”