Gold Coast guitarist, Robbie Karena, has worked as a freelance guitarist in Australia and his country of origin, New Zealand, for over 30 years, establishing himself a solid reputation as a remarkable and versatile guitarist. Music has been an integral part of Robbie's life since his father taught him how to play guitar as a young boy, sparking a love and passion for the instrument that continues today. A self taught musician, he honed his skills by listening and transcribing music, studying books and video's, and most importantly, playing with other musicians. He was also mentored by legendary jazz guitarist, the late Johnny Bradfield, from New Zealand.
From playing pub gigs to backing celebrities and doing studio sessions, plus teaching, Robbie has an extensive track-record and expertise across a variety of genres, playing along side some of the best in the business.
Robbie has experienced a range of successes during that time. One that stands out is, being a member and writer in the Auckland-based jazz-funk band, Blue Train, who were awarded, Winners of the 1996 New Zealand Jazz Album of the Year, for their record, 'No Free Lunch'.
Also that year Robbie was playing gigs and doing studio sessions for 'Revelation', an eight piece urban gospel band. After some soul searching and an honest assessment of his life he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Entering into a relationship with God that, in his own words, "freed me from a path of self destruction through His Love and Grace".
In 1999 'Revelation' relocated to Sydney Australia. Robbie rejoined the band there in 2001 where they were having success, regularly filling out iconic venues including 'The Basement', releasing their second album and embarking on a short tour to Nashville Tennessee in search of a record deal. No record deal but, a great time and experience attending the Gospel Music Association Awards week.
Robbie spent the next 5 years playing in the Hillsong Worship team Sydney, before re-settling in 2006 with his new wife and family on the Gold Coast in Queensland, resuming work as a freelance guitarist.
Currently now, after many enjoyable years of being a side man, and armed with a body of his own contemporary jazz/ blues compositions to choose from, including his just released debut album 'Good to See Ya', Robbie's focus is on developing a solo career as a recording/ performing artist and band leader. His debut album was released March !st 2018. Radio stations around the country are giving it air time with great reviews. Robbie delivers a warm hearted performance with humor and communicates well with his audience, either by himself or with his quartet. He would like to perform at Jazz festivals here and internationally.