Stu's been a professional musician for over 20 years. Having a versatile and broad repertoire, his expressive songs, humour and skillfully performed melodies appeal to all ages and walks of life.
Stu Bougen's Celtic Fare Duo/Trio also available.
Stu can perform as a 'Wandering Minstrel' or with full P.A. system, depending on the occasion.
Proven experience in the field of entertainment
Stu first started learning the piano accordion at the age of nine. After several years of exams and successful competitions, he branched out to learn piano and keyboard, both classical and modern styles. 98% in a theory exam but disqualified for writing in pencil, duh! (he was young).
The accordion took over again in 1979 when Stu came across a 'Bush Band' in one of the local pubs. He loved the sound and atmosphere and soon after, joined New Zealand's first professional Bush Band, 'The Flat Tack Bush Band' (they only knew one speed). During the 79-80 summer season they were contracted to play in Queenstown on board the TSS Earnslaw.
Barndances were introduced to Stu around this time and have been a part of his performing life ever since.
In 1981 Stu joined a well known Christchurch band 'Bushfire', staying with the band for two years. Other bands were to follow including a 'Swing' band and the 'Rimu Rattlers Native Bush Band'.
Solo entertainting was now also coming to the fore, especially as a 'new' instrument was dicovered. His rich baritone voice. One regular gig was every Sunday entertaining at a Scottish restaurant, complete with kilt. He admits, with his legs, not a pretty sight.
French music was also having an impact on Stu, performing regularly at two French Christchurch restaurants and entertaining for the likes of 'Chatelle' Brandy promotions. With a surname like Bougen, French flare has to be in his blood.
Stu then travelled to Edinburgh and became involved in that city's music and festival scene including being part of a musical at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Three years later and after performing in numerous European countries, he returned to make New Zealand his base.
Teaching music has been a part of Stu's life for over 30 years, even teaching drums to one pupil at a music school. As long as he was one lesson ahead of his pupil, it was fine.
In 1990 Stu co-founded 'Colonial Fare' and in 1994 also teamed up with a fellow accordionist 'Heather Mitchell', touring Austria and England. They returned to Europe again the following year performing at festivals in Italy and Belgium, also schools in England.
At present Stu is as busy as ever performing at a variety of venues. Mainly as a soloist but also with his band, depending on the need of the client. Stu has many recordings to his credit including two solo albums and a CD release in France. He has completed several performing arts courses, including the Edinburgh Acting School and has toured extensively, particularly the South Island.
On a personal level, He is married with one daughter and has held various other 'real jobs'. These jobs included welding and six years as a printing ink technician. In 2002, Ann (his wife) and Stu bought a suburban hairdressing business, Hairport. Definitely don't let him loose with scissors but, he's happy doing the books and maintenance.
"Stu has been entertaining groups of overseas travellers for us for many years. His warm manner, deft touch with people and, of course, musicianship, always ensure that the evening goes off with a bang!"
"Excellent professional entertainer whose performances at this club are enthusiastically received"
Centre for Continuing Education, University of Canterbury
"The most fun we've had out in a while and they made my birthday special"
"Celtic Fare' provided great entertainment for our medieval evening at the Great Hall. They were flexible and friendly and tailored their performance to suit our needs. It was a great evening!"