Sian Prior

Writer, Broadcaster, Singer, MC & Teacher

Sydney Festival highlights [January 16]

Just back from a week in Sydney, where i caught up with several Sydney Festival events. A few highlights:

Seeing Brian Wilson perform with a Beach Boys cover band in the Domain on a drizzly but warm Saturday night. One giant, sweet singalong, bringing back memories of the first time i was introduced to the BB’s by my step-brother on a long drive to the Flinders Ranges, circa 1975. Tempting to credit Good Vibrations with inspiring my subsequent addiction to choral singing. Thinking maybe we should introduce the Beach Boys repertoire into the traditional family Xmas carol singing session. If there was a God, i reckon she’d approve.

Seeing some of Australia’s best singer-songwriters paying tribute to Kev Carmody in the Cannot Buy My Soul concert at the State Theatre – a man of righteous anger and soulful consolation, whose presence managed to dwarf all those stars, even as he sat quietly on the side of the stage in front of a mock camp-fire. Such an important story, told so graciously by so many talented and generous people.

Watching a bunch of young Scottish actors channelling a bunch of young Scottish soldiers in Black Watch, a curious theatrical production that was part opera, part ballet, part community theatre project, part history lesson. Not ground-breaking, but it has haunted me ever since, especially when i watch the evening news.

Watching indigenous actor/dancer Trevor Jamieson taking direction from a group of his ‘aunties’ as they taught the audience of Njapartji Njapartji how to sing ‘heads, shoulders, knees and toes’ in Pitjantjatjara language. A sprawling show, full of goodwill, and a virtuoso performance from Trevor J. See anything he’s in, if you can.