Song-writer Matt Cattanach leads the Magic Tortoise trio, backed by Adelaide Blues scene stalwart Bas Tijdhof (Mighty Night Owls) and the melodically-diagnosed TimOnBass. Together they bring you their unique music – sometimes dreamy, sometimes lively – that firmly puts the “alt” back into “alt-folk”.

Their songs are inspired by a quirky take on everyday life, beautiful landscapes, and the richness of being fully alive on planet Earth. Matt’s fragile vocals and intricate finger-picking, Bas’ detailed acoustic lead work, and Tim’s melodic and groove oriented contributions on fretted and fretless basses combine live on stage with a good dose of improvisational flair and sheer joy at making music together.

Gongs include a Festival of Original Music (FOOM) 2020 finals appearance, winning the FOOM 2022 lyrics category and a major role in a 2021 Fringe show “Wild”. This enigmatic trio love putting their unique music where you can hear it!

Matt says you might hear echoes of Nick Drake, Neil Young and Iron and Wine. Tim says “Who are they?” and cites JS Bach as his primary musical influence, but he also credits Shostakovich and the Paul Grabowski Trio. As an established blues player and emerging song-writer, Bas has a long list of influences but is enjoying exploring the new musical territory of Magic Tortoise’s unique tunes. From this broad musical palate, Magic Tortoise brings you something truly original.


Matt Cattanach

Matt loves writing songs while meandering timelessly through the bushland of the Adelaide Hills.

His development as an artist has been strongly influenced by his exploration of being fully human in relationship with the wild, as well as sharing stories that have to be told.

He is constantly astounded by the musical artistry of Tim and Bas and the intensity and depth of feeling they bring to the songs Magic Tortoise creates.

Life is very full with chasing his two beautiful boys on mountain bike trails, being an awesome husband, teaching Upper Primary and Kaurna Language, growing veggies and cooking yummy meals.

Bas Tijdhof

Bas has honed his vurtuosic guitar skills since being a teenager growing up in the Netherlands.

He first started performing in his late teens and has explored a range of musical genre’s and group formats.

For more than 10 years he has entranced audiences as lead guitarist and vocalist for Adelaide Blues outfit The Mighty Night Owls.

A lifelong student of master guitarists combined with Bas’ improvisational flair means that every Magic Tortoise performance is unique.

Bas also brings his rich vocal tones and exceptional guitar playing to original tunes he creates for Magic Tortoise.


Tim On Bass got bass into his head by singing bass – learning first from his Dad singing bass harmonies in church, and later in university choirs. So one day when he walked out of James Music in Sturt St and realised he’d purchased a 2nd-hand bass guitar, the rest was just mechanics.
JS Bach is at the very top of Tim’s list of musical influences. Others include: Dmitry Shostakovich, Alan Parsons, Dire Straits, and Toto.
Tim totally loves not knowing what’s coming next in the music, and thus he enjoys Magic Tortoise‘s unpredictable improvisational detours. He never remembers a song but just learns it afresh every time.