Kick starting the inaugural opening night of the Perth International Cabaret Festival (PICF), showcasing 30 shows and 40 artists, is Koorlangka with Gina Williams & Guy Ghouse.
The brainchild of Ali Welburn and Graham Lovelock comes a week-long accolade to great storytelling to cabaret music. “Storytelling, artistic excellence and the celebration of culture will be the beating heart of everything we do.” After a slight set-back due to the current pandemic, Western Australia fights back to bring traditional language to His Majesty’s Theatre – a place previously known for excluding this portion of our community.
Starting the night off was a beautiful Welcome to Country, and smoking ceremony, performed by Walter McGuire; setting the tone for a night of music, knowledge, education, and comedy. Gina’s work is a fresh take on ancient stories, fusing lullabies with traditional language. Teamed with Guy, a talented guitarist, they bring an atmosphere of learning, fun, and culture to audiences. In one moment, you’re aware of the nature of the song – tales of children, dreaming, lullabies, and hope – the next, you feel as though you’re in a jazz club, enjoying whiskey and cigars.
“I wish for community [for my children], not economy.”
This standout line by Gina resonated with so many hearts on opening night, as our communities make a shift away from commercialism, and step back into aspects of personal wealth: including wellness, mindfulness, freedom, and mental health.
The team, alongside expert pianist Russell Holmes, and the angelic strings of the Dolce Ensemble, breath beauty and power into the iconic Edwardian-baroque proscenium theatre. Gina’s powerhouse vocals truly usher in the start of the Indigenous Folk Renaissance that Australian audiences have been craving.
The night was full of heart, hope, and hilarity – a testament to the amazing performances held by all creatives. Koorlangka finished with a spot of “noongar-oke” where Gina & Guy inspired audiences to listen to the Noongar words of a familiar song, and then sing along in English – to the delight of everyone, when it was Moon River.
The community Gina & Guy created with Koorlangka is strong, beautiful, and hope for a more united community.
4/5 🦋 bindi-bindi’s (butterflies)
Gina & Guy return to His Majesty’s for Kalyajoorl, Ngalak Warangka (Forever, We Sing) on Tuesday (June 22) at 7:45pm to perform contemporary music with ancient language. Book tickets here.
by JOSHUA HALL HAINES
Editor-in-Chief, The Independent Press Company.
The Independent Press Co acknowledges that this article was written upon the lands of the Whadjuk Nyoongar nation of Western Australia. We pay our respects to the traditional custodians of this country, and to Elders past, present, and emerging.