Anne Toner

Part of the 'Harmonies of the Huon' Series

Anne Toner started playing the piano at a very young age, first listening to her older sister learning, then copying her.

An accomplished pianist and vocalist, she began song writing in 2002 when she moved to Tasmania.

‘Something opened up for me, something about the place and the space, the creative juices really began to flow,’ Anne explains.

Anne lived on Tasmania’s northwest coast for ten years and then moved to Castle Forbes Bay in the Huon Valley, where she wrote her first album.

She’s written The Huon River Song for the Little Boat Choir, which is based at the Palais Theatre in Franklin. The choir members love the song because it connects them to their region’s icon. The song is about how people relate to the river, its orchards and surrounding landscapes.

Anne is inspired by the Huon Valley.

‘There are fifty shades of green in the valley, I feel like I’m connected to the earth here,’ she says. ‘There’s a lot of earth-speak in the Huon. With the mountains, it’s like a big hug, calming, earthy and connected. Each valley has its own microclimate, with more or less rain and sun. In warmer climates you’re outdoors more, but the climate here pushes you inside, where you can contemplate and write.’

Anne’s song Spinifex is a song that celebrates the mountains, forests and valleys. She writes and performs most of her own songs, which are often light and humorous, sometimes playing on words.

‘When I write a song, I’m a bit of a thief,’ she laughs. ‘I always carry a notebook and if I overhear a conversation, I jot it down. Or I simply wake up with the song in my head and I write it down quickly. I also get ideas and inspiration from other musicians I play with.’

Anne loves a bit of fun and she thinks songwriters can be too serious. She may not look like a wild child or a rebel, but that’s how she describes herself. When I saw her at the Cygnet Folk Festival, she occasionally dropped the f-bomb into her lyrics, which received a few surprised grins from her audience.

Harmonies of the Huon: Exploring the melodies and musings of Huon Valley artists‘ is a Creative Huon series in collaboration with Huon Valley Council and Huon Valley Tas, showcasing the Huon Valley’s musical talents, their inspiration and journeys.

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