7:30pm, Fri 11 December, 2015

This event has passed and sales are now closed

Event Details

Pickpockets and Rascals take Sydney bands and adds an orchestra. This year we feature Chaika; an eclectic six piece balkan- jazz ensemble, and combine them with a 17 piece orchestra. Previous acts have included; The Crooked Fiddle Band, Ngaiire, Brian Campeau, Elana Stone, Iluka and The Bubble Solution.

This one time only opportunity to experience the exquisitely spellbinding music of Chaika will see the Sydney six-piece joined by the 17 strong Pickpockets & Rascals Orchestra to perform arrangements of their original music live in the heart of Sydney.

Chaika's music draws on a patchwork of influences as far reaching as Balkan, jazz, Jewish, Celtic, Italian, Indonesian and classical music while keeping a refreshing core of originality which will be brought to a whole new level with orchestral arrangements by Michael O'Donnell (The Squeezebox Trio).

Chaika's music has been described as 'cinematic, deeply touching and meditative', as well as 'exuberant, virtuosic and uplifting'. They are formed of a collection of elite musicians who, between them, have performed at major national and international festivals including WOMAD Reading, WOMADelaide, Woodford and Splendour in the Grass; performed with and composed for ARIA award winning artists including Monsieur Camembert, Mara! & The Martenitsa Choir, The Song Company and The Renaissance Players; toured internationally with groups such as Great Waitress, Klezmer Divas and The London Bulgarian Choir; directed and curated the NOW now Festival of Exploratory Music; and directed and performed with ensemble The Rhythm Hunters for crowds of up to 100,000.

Chaika's two independent album releases explore a rich collection of both traditional and original compositions, with their latest release I Monti (2014) garnering critical acclaim nationwide. With the help of the Bundanon Artists in Residence program they have most recently been working on brand new material for a third album. Their collaboration with Michael O'Donnell and the Pickpockets and Rascals Orchestra sees them building on the orchestra's prior collaborations with artists The Crooked Fiddle Band, Ngaiire, Brian Campeau, Elana Stone, Iluka and The Bubble Solution.

You can listen to, watch, and find more information about Chaika at their website

Chaika are now very pleased to announce that they will be joined by very special guests the Lucy Wise Trio. Hailing from the far South Western corner of Australia, gifted singer-songwriter Lucy Wise has delighted audiences across Australia, New Zealand and the UK with her unique blend of folk, chamber and pop music combined with masterful storytelling. Drawing inspiration from her background in Appalachian and Celtic folk music, as well as legendary songwriters such as Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan, Lucy's songs sketch universally recognisable stories that are grounded in the realities of everyday experience.

Lucy will join Chaika fresh from launching her new EP A Painting of the Universe, where she teamed up with Chris Stone and Holly Downes from acclaimed chamber folk trio The String Contingent to record five songs each telling a different story about life in Australia and all inspired by past winning poems of a national schools poetry competition, The Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards.

The Lucy Wise Trio will also be playing some of her songs arranged for the orchestra, making this an event not to be missed.

Find more information about Lucy Wise at

Reviews of Chaika:

"Words cannot describe how great and unique they really are. Seeing this kind of music produced live was an amazing experience, which we were lucky to witness."

- The Rhythm Hut, Central Coast

"Spine tingling a capella ... sublime harmony vocals... It is easy to be enchanted by the beauty of their four-part harmony vocals... Chaika's collective instrumental chops, not to mention its ability as arrangers and composers, are well exhibited."

- Tony Hillier, Rhythm Magazine & The Australian

"A unique collection of songs... To say that these guys are talented would be an understatement. ... The whole effect is mesmerising, as is much of the rest of this extraordinary CD."

- Michael Morton-Evans, Fine Music 102.5FM, reviewing I Monti

"Clarinet, accordion, violin & double bass all intertwine diversely & at times unpredictably giving Chaika a rich depth. ... such a young & talented group of musicians."

- Eastside Radio, Sydney

"Beautiful! I love the way your pieces often abruptly shift gears, and how the textures change - how we're bopping along with an instrumental when suddenly we're into four-part female vocals... Most of all I love the soul with which you imbue your pieces."

- Martin Wesley-Smith, Australian composer

Chaika is:

Emily-Rose rkova: Piano accordion, Piano, Vocals

Laura Bishop: Percussion, Piano, Piano accordion, Vocals

Susie Bishop: Violin, Vocals, Guitar

Laura Altman: Clarinet, Vocals

Johan Delin: Double Bass, Vocals

Rendra Freestone: Percussion, Vocals, Guitar




General Admission ticket buyers have an added option of purchasing The Basement's Plate & Glass deal on the following booking page.

The Plate & Glass meal includes one meal option with one glass of selected wine which will be made available at the Green Room Bar from the time doors open through to 10:30pm.

Plate and Glass meal and wine options are listed on the following booking page.

Dinner & Show tickets include entry, seating and 2 course meal.

Dinner & Show tickets are only available via Moshtix.

Some Dinner & Show Bookings may be on a shared table. Please let us know at the time of the booking as a special request should you prefer not to share, and subject to availability we'll do our best to accommodate your request. Note it is not possible to join ticket holders together across ticket groups (meaning A Reserve ticket holders cannot sit with B Reserve etc).

Standard and Premium Beverage Packages are available by exclusive table service to Dinner & Show Ticket Holders for 3 hours from Doors. Beverage packages are available for purchase on the following booking page. *RSA and conditions apply


When General Admission Ticket sales have closed on the day of the show they may still be available at the door on the night.

All patrons must be over the age of 18

Once purchased tickets are non-refundable & non-transferable
(applies to both Standing and Dinner sales)

Please ensure you bring photo ID as proof of age

A booking fee applies to all advance tickets. (All quoted prices include tax).

Dress is Smart/Casual at Manager's discretion. No thongs.


The Basement has very limited accessibility for patrons with disabilities, however please contact the venue to ensure there is adequate availability for you to enjoy the show comfortably and they can advise on the recommended seating options.

Please call The Basement to confirm opening times - (02) 9251 2797

Please Note: tables cannot be joined together. Please ensure everyone you intend to seat at your table is included in your booking to avoid being seated separately. Unfortunately, Dinner & Show bookings are for a minimum of 2 people.

Specific table reservation is not available for this performance. It is the venue's decision as to which table you will be allocated. Whilst the venue would love to give everyone their preferred seats, it is not always possible. We ask that you respect this decision and enjoy the performance.



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