Creative Duo

By Anna Dowd

Whether it’s singing up a storm, running a multicultural festival, or changing nappies – Bellingen based creatives Hayley Egan and Salvatore Rossano are partners in music, art and life.

How’d you two meet?

Salva: We met 15 years ago, I was in Spain for my PhD and she was studying in Italy. She visited me after a brief encounter in Bologna and a lot of hilarious phone calls. The day she was arriving I was really going crazy, I was really, really nervous but when I hugged her I realized that I could not let her go. It was a long hug, she must have freaked out! Well, not too much since we are still together!

Hayley: I met Salva briefly in 2007 after seeing him play a gig in Bologna. We kept in contact until he invited me to visit him in Valladolid, Spain where he was doing his PhD in Ethnomusicology. We ended up living there together for nearly six years. Our first baby was born in that city, and so was the beginning of our creative collaboration when I started singing with him in AzzBand.

Romantic! Take us through some of what you’ve co-created since.

Salva: We have performed a lot as a duo, both in Europe and here, and with our Italian inspired band Santa Taranta. She illustrated and wrote two beautiful children’s books and I was lucky enough to support her research in Italy for that and accompany her with my accordion at readings. We love giving community music workshops and have created festivals and events both in Spain and here. But I must say our best co- creation still is our three wonderful kids!

Hayley: Everything we do is a team effort. We’ve done research trips back to Italy and all throughout Australia, made films and recordings of traditional Italian folk music and performed at many festivals. In 2019 we created Taranta Festival, and Salva created a huge multicultural ensemble called the Melbourne Taranta Orchestra, just as the world started locking down for the pandemic. Salva taught himself how to make and sell pizza to the community which literally kept food on our table while we were unable to work in the arts during COVID.

What do you love about creating with each other?

Salva: She’s a natural creative, it doesn’t matter if she’s painting, writing, or singing, she always come out with something beautiful. Working with Hayley I know I can count on her. She’ll support me at the early stage of new creations, wait patiently until they become more clear, then help me shape them into better ones! I also love to play with her, I know she always gives it her all to create something magic.

Hayley: Salva is so passionate, generous, and determined to live and work as a creative. His compositions are incredibly beautiful. His biggest strength as an artist is his ability to bring people together, and really

make things happen. Salva has no romantic notions about what an artistic life looks like. I know he’d love more time in the studio with his instrument, but he understands setting up mic stands, stacking chairs, changing nappies, writing emails and washing dishes at the end of the night is all just part of it.

Projects on the horizon you’re excited about?  

Hayley: After having our third baby last year, I’m just easing back into the performance space. I’ve been running a community choir in Bellingen that brings me a lot of joy. I’m also involved in a Storytelling project launching later this year. Salva received a grant from Create NSW to create a Multicultural Orchestra and we’re also in the early stages of planning to bring Taranta Festival to our area – so more collaboration, music, pizza, singing and dancing. We can’t wait!