“Chilali” (ie. Snowbird in Navajo American Indian) is an artistic music project of songwriting couple Chilali & Roy Martinez. Born out of a deep yearning vision to create music that spans the spectrum of beauty, substance, spirituality, musicality and emotions that depicts the human condition in all its glory, magnificence, fragility and dark-side.
Singer & principal lyricist, Chilali was initially drawn to the art of storytelling because of a great love for stories passed down generations and cultures through songlines and dance. A colourful early childhood in the Australian countryside sparked her sense of imagery, frolicking in her own native bushland, creating stories, dancing and singing until the cows came home (literally!). Intrigued by the world beyond the family farm, she soon was drawn to other cultures and travel.
Meanwhile, back in depths of suburbia, Roy Martinez enjoyed a parallel experience in imaginative play. However, unlike Chilali’s story, Roy’s imagination was cultivated by playing in the swampland around his family’s home!
Roy had formal tuition in classical piano but soon became interested in contemporary rock instruments: drums, electric guitars and synthesizers. Learning his craft through Led Zeppelin, Queen, Pink Floyd, Kiss, The Sweet, Van Halen and Santana, Roy didn’t see too much difference between all these legendary modern artists and the classical composers like Debussy, Prokofiev, Bach and Beethoven. Early on, Roy was relegated to bass guitar duties. But it proved to be fortuitous in that era which saw the historic rise of the bass guitar’s status in contemporary music. Artists like Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Weather Report, genres like disco / funk, modern R&B, jazz-fusion were all in its hey day. Revolutionary bassists Jaco Pastorius, Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller, Louis Johnson etc. led the jazz-tinged, groove-oriented styles. Synthesizers added that elusive dimension not found in conventional instruments. Exciting times and Roy was enthused, absorbing them along with the British movements in the punk/ Manchester scene / New Wave soon-to-be New Romantic genres – which included Joy Division, The Smiths, The Jam, Style Council,Peter Gabriel, U2, Prefab Sprout, Scritti Politti, Spandau Ballet etc…eventually leading to the Acid Jazz movement led by The Brand New Heavies, Incognito, Level 42, Jamiroquai etc. All of this influence led to a career as a leading bassist for over 30 years.
Enjoy this unique duo at Growers Green Farmers Market – Free performance.
Chilali & the Chief