From the opening with Richard Walley’s clapping sticks this show takes us on a musical journey that covers a great variety of genres and of human emotions.
Country and western, rhythm and blues, folk, ballads, lullabies all interweave with lovely quirky pieces about a crow and a magpie in which a harmonica and a guitar tussle it out. The effect is quite mesmerising. The range of material covered is just as impressive.
Williams sings about love of the earth, about loss and abandonment, about family and old folk, about rivers and oceans, birds, butterflies and caterpillars.
The glue to it all is Gina Williams, ably and delicately supported by Guy Ghouse’s guitar arrangements. She can be funny or giggly one minute and sombre and emotional the next. She can move herself to tears on stage, literally.
Her personal story is very powerful. From a difficult beginning and the experience of foster care she was able to rise above it all, without ever losing her warmth and sense of reality.
She learned the language of her ancestors at TAFE and from humble origins in Bassendean she launched a musical career that took her all the way to London.She absorbs and learns, and uses her experiences to create music.
Cold Country you’re Beautiful, my Heart is in Love, she writes. Love has no boundaries.
Her story, her humour, her big heart charmed the audience. Backing her was a very large ensemble of truly gifted musicians. These are too numerous to list here, it included a wonderful keyboard player, percussionist, guitarists and a string ensemble.
The show does not shy away from entering the space of the often tragic history of European colonisation. Williams touches on the guilt, as indeed she’s entitled to, but she does not dwell on that.
What triumphs in the end is the human spirit. Most importantly what the audience comes away with, after the joyous final number, is that despite the adversities, what prevails is the sense of heart-felt love of one another and for the earth we all share.