“K&K gives me what I need on tour, reliability and a natural acoustic tone I can actually connect with on stage. I wouldn’t use anything else!”
It was the hurricane season, in Blackwater 1994 when Owen Van Larkins, a ten year old Australian discovering his gift for music, began what was to be a journey of musical exploration and discovery. Owen’s father, an artist and musician, introduced his son to the guitar, which was to become Owen’s instrument of choice and access to share his music with friends, family and soon after, a world-wide audience of music connoisseurs.
Owen’s qualifications from Western Australia and Queensland include a Certificate III in Contemporary Music, for which he won an award for contribution to the student group, Certificate IV in Music Performance and Diploma’s in both Music Performance and Music Technology. Owen was featured on Channel 7’s six o’clock news for his effort in this area, he also continues to work closely with the music department co-ordinators, performing and holding workshops to encourage young musicians to begin a career in music.
He played in a duo with Ross Hunter as “The Express” from 2002 to 2010 when he was studying Music Performance at Southbank College in Brisbane. The two developed their own unique blend of sounds that incorporated Celtic, Folk and Spanish genres.
They were signed by CandyRat Records in the US and their first album “Myriad” produced by Andrew White, was released in December of 2010. Described as, “Nothing short of an acoustic explosion of sparkle and clarity that effuses sonic enchantment…this CD had my auditory senses piqued within the first 90 seconds of the title track which sets a sonic hook in a way that makes it impossible to turn away,” it was clear that an new and extraordinary acoustic talent was emerging on the Australian music scene. “To find a guitar duo that seems to push and pull each other in directions that sound effortless and spontaneous is a rare thing and, perhaps, that is what makes this recording so infused with energy and solar flare like acoustically.”
Over the period of almost a decade the duet “Hunter Van Larkins” has opened shows for “The Black Sorrows” and “Phil Emmanuel” as well as headlining several shows at the Woodford Folk Festival, Brisbane’s Greenfest, and corporate shows around Brisbane and surrounding areas.
In 2011 the duo amicably parted ways and for the past couple of years Owen has been playing solo as Van Larkins and now plays a modern fusion of traditional styles with a “one man band” approach incorporating bass, rhythm, melody and harmony. Owen’s music has transitioned from Metallica to finger-style acoustic guitar, playing transpositions of 400-year-old harp songs.
He is now signed as a solo artist with CandyRat Records and completed his first album in May this year. During this time he has toured to New Zealand twice where he recorded his first album with internationally-renowned guitarist Andrew White and played at the Acoustic Masters Series held in Hamilton where he opened three of the shows and also played with Nigel Gavin.
He has also toured America and Canada and in July 2011 performed at the prestigious Canadian Guitar Festival in Kingston, Ontario.
Currently, Owen is touring North America with fellow CandyRat record label artists and after playing as a soloist at the Montreal Guitar show on the 30th of June, has a one month tour of Canada consisting of over twenty shows stretching from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Toronto, Ontario. Owen will be filming several videos in Milwaukee shortly prior to this tour, at the home of Record Label owner, Rob Poland.
Owen plans to return to Australia in November 2012 to begin pre-production for his second solo album.
He is enrolled in CQ University’s new Bachelor of Music (Creative Music Technologies) degree at Sunshine Coast Tafe in Noosa. His music teacher Mr Robert Brock who is assisting with delivering the program asked guitar legend and TAFE Masterclass teacher Phil Emmanuel “What do you do with a man as brilliant as Owen? Phil replied “The only thing you can do is send him to America to work with one of the most respected guitarists in the world, his brother Tommy Emmanuel.”
While his current studies are on hold and he has an exemption due to his commitments, Owen has completed two music diplomas through Sunshine Coast TAFE. His inspiration and love of nature keeps him connected to his roots. “I have always lived in or near the bush, and have been heavily involved in bush regeneration. My music is definitely grounded, balanced and earthy. It is a modern fusion of traditional styles and very progressive.”
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