16 April 2023

Young music lovers playing classic tunes: Little Riverina Band are ready for the big time

| Jarryd Rowley
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Benjamin, Daniel and Esther, The Little Riverina Band, are performing at several Cootamundra gigs. Photo: Jarryd Rowley.

Esther, Benjamin and Daniel don’t come from a big musical family. Their parents aren’t huge musicians and their grandparents don’t play instruments, however these three little bandmates are blowing away their audiences with their incredible musical talent.

Despite their young age and small stature, The Little Riverina Band, made up of Daniel, 8, on lead vocals and guitar, Benjamin, 10, on vocals and piano and Esther, 12, vocals and bass, have made themselves known to the Cootamundra community by performing classic covers at several community events including the Festival of Lights.

“We’re a young family who can play instruments,” Daniel explained.

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“We started as a band called the Pathetics but we weren’t very good. We then became the Three Little Birds but my dad (also Daniel) who was originally a part of it but couldn’t play anymore because of his arthritis, so Benjamin then joined the band and we have been playing as a group ever since.” The group played their first gig as the Little Riverina Band at the Southern Cross Residential Aged Care Facility at Christmastime 2019.

“We really enjoy playing places like aged care. It’s nice to give people something like music when they can’t travel or go very far,” Benjamin said.

“Unfortunately, when we first started, it wasn’t long before lockdown started. We didn’t get the chance to play a lot of gigs before the long lockdown happened but since being open again we have performed several times including the Festival of Lights where we raised money for Can Assist, the RFSA Flood Relief Tour and at the Adina nursing home.”

“Once lockdown ended, we were ready to go. We wanted to perform at any place that would have us.”

Despite the challenges the young musicians have faced, they have not let it get the best of them, including the eldest, Esther’s hydrocephalus, cerebral palsy and epilepsy diagnosis.

Esther has difficulty with the functionality in the left side of her body.

“We tried a lot of different instruments but they were difficult to use on her left hand,” her father Daniel explained.

“We then thought the only instrument that doesn’t really need two hands is bass.”

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Esther has a modified bass guitar which includes a cupboard handle screwed into the guitar to allow her to hold on with her fingers and strum with her thumb.

“A lot of people use a couple of fingers when strumming, but I’m able to use my thumb and still play the bass really well,” Esther said.

The band are inspired by classic artists like Elton John and Michael Jackson, and despite having a name similar to that of Australian band The Little River Band, insist the name is merely a description.

“We’re young and little, we’re from the Riverina and we’re a band. Put that together and we are The Little Riverina Band,” Benjamin said.

Daniel, Esther and Benjamine practise and learn a bunch of classic covers regularly at home and at the Conservatorium of Music. Photo: Supplied.

Despite being a band that performs mostly covers, the talent of the trio is something that needs to be heard to be believed. Performing classic hits like Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison on an instrument that he only began playing in October of 2022, Daniel has big plans for himself and his two older siblings.

“We are playing in Junee at the MPC aged centre next week, and next year I will be going to Tamworth to perform at the Country Music Festival,” Daniel said.

“We all love playing music for people, Elvis encouraged me to sing and that’s what me and my family want to keep doing.”

To keep up with the band and their local performances, follow them on Facebook at The Little Riverina Band.

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