Matt Stonehouse is a Melbourne based musician, composer and instrument maker. He specialises in Arabic and Turkish styles of drumming and is featured on more than forty albums of both local and international artists. In addition to percussion, Matt is a highly regarded guitarist, mandolin and mandocello player and uses these instruments when composing. This can be heard on his 2016 vinyl album release, ‘Rosie’s point of view.‘
During 2001-2003 Matt undertook the first of four study trips to Turkey and spent an additional three months in Isfahan, Iran studying with two master musicians: Sara Fotros and Feridoun Farahani. He also studied under Spanish frame drummer Javier Morielis whilst based in Scotland. In 2010 he studied Daholla (goblet shaped drum) with Ercin Kacaimamoglu in Istanbul.
Matt is the author of the book ‘Percussion of the Arabic world and beyond.‘ It was the books popularity that was the impetus for creating the ‘fingers of fury‘ online drumming school/community. This online school continues to be a training ground for hundreds of percussion students and professional musicians from all over the world. The website boasts almost two hundred tutorial videos and short courses in both Arabic and Turkish style drumming and challenges the way students structure their practice routines.
In 2010, Matt directed and produced the feature length documentary ‘The Rhythmic East.‘ This self funded film crew traveled through Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Turkey and Greece filming and collaborating with local musicians from each region. The film gained three international film festival official screenings.
Matt's recording credits as percussionist are both impressive and extensive. Internationally notable artists he has performed/ recorded with include- The Ross Daly quartet (Crete), The Tea Party (Canada), Coleman Barks (USA). In Australia his credits include the ARIA nominated album ‘Empires‘ by Latitude 37, Bashka, Mista Savona, Alwan, The Reefers. Matt has performed at music festivals such as Womadelaide, Cygnet, The National, Port Fairy and many others around Australia. Since 2013 he has been featured percussionist with Amanaska, a popular group touring Australian schools through the Musica Viva! in schools program. Amanaska has inspired thousands of primary level students across Australia by sharing their passion for playing music.
In 2016 Matt released an original album of instrumental works. ‘Rosie’s point of view,' a vinyl release, featured seven original instrumental tracks played predominantly on mandocello, mandolin and frame drums. Synthesizers were later added by producer Chris Toro. The album was well received by reviewers and hailed as “a quintessentially Australian album” and likened to Pat Metheny’s electric counterpoint by Australian Hi Fi magazine.
In 2015 Matt was awarded an artist in residence at the renowned Dunmoochin artist colony in Cottles Bridge, Victoria. Dunmoochin was established by the famous Australian portrait and landscape painter, Clifton Pugh in the mid 50’s and has been home to many celebrated artists such as Rick Amor and John Olsen since. Matt was offered the residency as a composer and then later offered an extension as an instrument maker. In late 2014 he begun part-time fine furniture studies at the Melbourne Guild of Fine Woodworking with Alastair Boell, later incorporating these techniques into the crafting of frame drums.
Following Dunmoochin, Matt was an artist in residence at Montsalvat in Eltham. He was based here until relocating his studio to St Andrews in the Nillumbik shire.
Matt is currently crafting high-end frame drums, facilitating workshops and performing live.