The best in Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Music

The Donovan’s

Deadly Vibe Issue 93 November 2004

A family affair

The Donovans have been playing together for longer than they can remember. Ask them when their fist gig was, and you’ll prompt some communal head-scratching. But they do remember what their first gig was like, as Michael can tell you.

“It was a Fire Brigade ball in Mt Druitt,” he recalls, “and we forgot our microphone stands.

“We didn’t know what we were going to do, as we all play instruments and couldn’t hold our mics. So we got three wire coat hangers and hung ’em around our necks with a hook for the mic and played that way – no problems.”

The Donovans have obviously come a long way since those early days of improvisation. They took home this year’s Deadly for Band of the Year, and have a fan base that stretches across the entire country.

“We probably played about 300 gigs in this past year,” says Merv. “That’s not many nights off, but we love it – we wouldn’t be doing it if we didn’t love it. We love to stay in touch with the community, and to share our music with them.”

And is a gig with the entire Donovan clan on the cards?

“Well, I launch my solo album later this year,” says Michael. “I’d love it to be a family-orientated show.” Watch this space!

(story 1/11/2004 end)

The Donovan’s musical legacy is legendary. Michael Donovan grew up in Macksville, NSW surrounded by the country sounds of his parents, the late Mick and Aileen Donovan. He was playing guitar by the age of six and credits his mum and dad as being his greatest inspiration.

Today the Donovans comprise mainstay Michael, brother Ashley and any number of guest family members including his daughters and niece Emma Donovan, formerly of Stiff Gins.

In 2000 Michael was runner-up at the Queensland Champion of Champions. In 2001 he was musical director of and featured artist at the Aboriginal Showcases at the Tamworth Country Music Festival. He was also musical director and leader of the house band at last year’s Deadlys.

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