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Totally Gourdgeous

"Penelope Swales is a unique Australian singer/songwriter and performer. She is a quality performer who always wins her audience irrespective of their age or demographic background. She writes and sings about contemporary and historic Australian life developing great pictures of the issues and the experience of ordinary people. She has much to offer her audience and I believe she is a great representative of Australian culture."
                                     - Bill Hauritz, Director, Woodford Folk Festival

"One of the most authentic voices to come out of Australia in 15 years "
- Drum Media, Sydney

All references and comparisons go out of the window when faced with a unique talent. Penelope Swales is such a talent.
- Zabadak Magazine, France

Many baby boomers out there are lamenting the passing of those 60's protest songs and the lameness of today's folk lyrics. Well I suggest you let Penelope Swales introduce you to the human condition of the new millennium.
- David Stoeckel, South Australian Blues Society  

 The exuberant Swales is a great acoustic guitarist, bold songwriter and spectacular vocalist ... enough power to touch anyone.
- Brian Paterson, Sunday Herald-Sun

****Winner 2019 Alistair Hulett Songs for Social Justice Award****

Penelope has won the Alistair Hulett Songs for Social Justice Award with her song
"Cambridge Analytica"

Hear the song here

Writes Penelope:

This song raises the issue of whether fascism is on the rise in a new form. It is about the exploitation of disgruntled voters by right-wing populist politicians, who play particularly on fears about immigration and refugees. The song discusses the skillful and insidious dissemination of right-wing propaganda and misinformation via social media by paid consultants who target specific voter groups in an effort to influence the outcome of democratic elections. The example referenced in the song is the influence exerted on the 2016 US Presidential election by Cambridge Analytica (though a number of other elections around the world have been affected).
In Australia and other countries, we have seen a rise of hard-right elements in major political parties, with the power to radically affect policy outcomes in a way that is progressively concentrating power and undermining civil freedoms. The example in the song is the establishment of the Department of Home Affairs which brought border control, immigration, federal policing, emergency management, counter-terrorism, multicultural affairs, transport security and cybersecurity under the purview of hard-right Minister Peter Dutton. The song warns that voters' interests, and potentially democracy itself, will be abandoned once the power-seekers have achieved their goals.

Penelope's entire back catalogue
is now available at www.penelopeswales.bandcamp.com

Including many rare recordings that have been out of print for more than a decade,
Penelope's back catalogue has finally been made availlable online.

  Lastest release:Legacy

Two Decades of Topical Songwriting

CD/DVD set

  "And what will be my legacy?
One of the luckiest people in the world..."
Legacy 2010

"It's important to remember that we did nothing to deserve this good luck.
These luxuries are the legacies of the labours and the struggles of the people of the past.
Of the women, of the unions, of the civil rights movement, of those who worked so hard.
Who risked their lives, who compromised their families, so we could se so lucky to be here,
In a beautiful place, in a time of peace"
- So Lucky

Consisting of 15 tracks spanning 20 years with some new recordings, a stunning music video by Heidi Douglas and a collection of fascinating extras ranging from rare live footage to inspirational videos from the international environment movement, "Legacy" shows the power of Penelope's political writing at it's best.

See the music video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyI5hAvkIug 


Climate Change, Reconciliation, Human Rights, Uranium Mining, social commentary from the Beijing Massacre to September 11 - The issues that have shocked, frustrated and fired a generation have all been put into words by one of Australia's most articulate and fearless songwriters. Fans of Swales' work have always placed her topical material at the top of their favourites, screamed as requests at every gig. For the first time in one collection, Penelope brings 15 of her major pieces together in an album that is both challenging and uplifting. If you're sick of safe, pre-digested product and want to hear the guts, passion and issues of the real world expressed, this album is for you.

Swales stopped full-time touring in 2005 when the need to care for an elderly parent brought her back to her home in Victoria's Dandenongs. There, approaching 40, she decided to return to study and attain a double degree in Law and Anthropology, with an eye towards doing something more hands-on towards saving the world in later life. She soon established herself as one of Monash Law Faculty's top students, with an academic record that has seen her begin, even as an undergraduate, to be invited to write for the Alternative Law Journal, a publication that concerns itself closely with the state of Human Rights in Australia and around the world.

Living on a student's income with a law student's schedule restrained Swales' recording options, with only the sparse and sensitive "Skin: Deep" being released in 2007. Music still clamours for expression in Swales' soul, however. When long-time supporter and environmental activist Stephen Luntz approached her with a proposal to finance a music video of "Black Carrie" - a song which he asserts changed his life and set him on his lifelong path as a campaigner for the Victorian Greens, Swales saw an opportunity to do something really substantial with the body of political work that had been spread across 9 solo albums, many of them out of print. Working in Close collaboration with Tasmanian film-maker Heidi Douglas, They brought together a collection of songs, footage, images and short films aimed at encouraging people to shake off the hopelessness and apathy that can so easily overwhelm and reach for empowerment.

The new material includes "Legacy 2010" - a re-write of one of her most popular tunes. First penned in 1992, this song has been updated to include all the issues that trouble us most in the 21st Century. Also new for fans is "Black Snake Range", a love song for the unprotected native forest near her home. "So Lucky" exhorts people not to be complacent about their good fortune.

Swales brings incisive commentary,  wry humour and  intelligent rage to the issues that affect us most. She urges us not just to get angry and helpless but to get active and involved. Her message is clear. This is our world, she tells, us. It's time to get busy. It's the legacy of our generation that will count the most.

This is Swales' 10th solo album. She has also released 3 CD's and one DVD with festival Favourites Totally Gourdgeous