About Us

ARIA Award nominated ensemble melding the earthiness of folk, dexterity of jazz and the craft of classical, Chaika’s vast influences create superb genre-blending music that transcends labels.

Described as “spine-tingling” (Rhythms) and “extraordinary” (Fine Music FM), the Sydney-based sextet create a multi-faceted kaleidoscope of sounds – a true culmination of compositional, arranging and improvising prowess, performed with stunning attention to detail. 

 Their latest album, ARROW (2019), has received heartfelt reviews, recorded and produced by ARIA award-winning team Bob Scott and Llew Kiek. 

“Like a gust of wind ushering in a new season of possibilities … Arrow, as the title suggests, offered listeners a new direction in Australian Folk music, an innovative blend of beautifully crafted pieces.” (What’s on Sydney)

“This is Chaika at their best – incorporating the world of rhythms and sounds of traditional music and channeling them into something beautiful” (Timber and Steel).

Chaika comprises some of Australia’s most sought after musicians: Susie Bishop (violin, guitar, vocals), Laura Altman (clarinet, vocals), Emily-Rose Sarkova (accordion, piano, vocals), Laura Bishop (percussion, piano, accordion, vocals), Johan Delin (double bass, vocals) and Rendra Freestone (percussion, guitar, vocals).

They have worked with an impressive roster including Nicky Bomba, Monsieur Camembert, Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Mara! & the Martenitsa Choir, The Song Company, Rhythm Hunters, Kevin James, Baby et Lulu, Marais Ensemble, Elysian Fields, Miriam Lieberman Trio, Alireza Ghorbani, Great Waitress, Tángalo, Klezmer Divas, The London Bulgarian Choir, & The Renaissance Players, on major national & international stages. 

At home wherever appreciative ears assemble – from roots and folk festivals to the world-class environs of Sydney’s City Recital Hall – Chaika surprise, thrill and move the unsuspecting listener. Decidedly “outside the norm” (Timber & Steel) Chaika traverse another age, journeying an unidentifiable era and landscape, in a manner simply referred to by The Australian as “enchanting.”

Review Quotes

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

To say that these guys are talented would be an understatement. Mesmerising… Extraordinary.
★ ★ ★ ★

– Michael Morton-Evans, Fine Music 102.5FM

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

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

– Tony Hillier, The Australian & Rhythms Magazine

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)

Member Bios